Controversial 'Peace Mom' also blasts Crawford's 'Lonestar Iconoclast' for 'stabbing [her] in the back'
Tells The BRAD BLOG she's not 'comfortable' being attacked by anybody, 'but would be less comfortable' if she 'didn't do what I thought was the right thing'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2009, 11:41am PT  


Cindy Sheehan, whose Army son was killed in the early days of the Iraq War, and who became well known during her controversial stand in protest outside of George W. Bush's property in Crawford, TX, in the summer of 2005, is taking her protests to Bush's new tony suburban enclave in Dallas.

RAW STORY covered Sheehan's plan to lead a "march on former President Bush's new home in the well-to-do Dallas suburb of Preston Hollow" on Monday, June 8th, in protest of what Dallas' NBC affiliate quotes her as describing as "crimes against humanity."

"We can't allow George Bush's crimes to be forgotten just because he is not in office anymore," she told the NBC affiliate via e-mail, as reported in their story, which also quotes Bush's new neighbors chiding protesters to "Go away...Go back! Leave us alone!" (See their video coverage above right, courtesy of RAW STORY's David Edwards.)

In an apparent attempt to offer additional "balance" to his coverage of Sheehan's new protests, RAW STORY's Stephen C. Webster reports that Sheehan "was hit by the right for criticising [sic] the invasion of Iraq and, eventually, by the left for being a perpetual spotlight-seeker."

Webster notes that he "would link to sources" backing up his claims of criticism from the left, "but that bit comes first-hand." He recounts that he'd "spen[t] months covering Cindy's activity for The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford," and writes that he "understand[s] many of the various opinions expressed about this woman's activism." He then goes on to associate with his former Iconoclast colleague Nathan Diebenow who, he writes, "quite accurately summarized, her constant angling for the spotlight and failure to significantly modify her tactics," which, Webster goes on to charge, "made Cindy into a 'media bore' (as opposed to the oft referenced 'media whore' insult so many on the right would hurl at her)."

To all of that, Sheehan replied in comments --- confirmed as her own to The BRAD BLOG today --- in a scathing rebuttal which begins: "Eff whoever wrote this article and Nathan Dibenow [sic] from the Lonestar Icnonoclast. [sic]"...

'ONE OF THE WORST ARTICLES I HAVE EVER READ'

Sheehan, who, until recently had paid her own way to host a weekend progressive radio show on San Francisco's Green960 (KKGN), called "Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox" (which still continues via Internet podcast), goes on to blast the reporters from both outlets, responding sarcastically: "Yes, I am doing all this for attention, because obviously the wars are over and George Bush and Dick Cheney have been prosecuted and everything is happy crappy and I should just go home and suffer in silence."

She continues by listing seven points, in all capital letters, underscoring her belief that protests against Bush and Cheney and President Obama need to continue; railing against the Iconoclast for capitalizing on her Crawford protests "FOR THEIR OWN AGENDA" and before "STABB[ING] ME IN THE BACK"; decrying the lack of media coverage during her run for Congress as an independent in hopes of unseating Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2008 when, she says, she "BANKRUPTED" herself to do so; and concluding by describing the RAW STORY coverage as "ONE OF THE WORST ARTICLES I HAVE EVER READ."

"I RECEIVED A SCARY DEATH THREAT TODAY, AND MAYBE IF I AM LUCKY, I WILL BE KILLED AND I WILL GET SOME GOOD NEWS COVERAGE," Sheehan wrote in one of her points. (Her complete response is posted below.)

'Done Writing About the Crawford People'

For their part, when contacted for comment by The BRAD BLOG, RAW STORY's Webster wrote: "All I've got to say about the reaction is in my one post to the comment thread. I'm moving on. I wish Cindy the best, but after years of covering them, I'm pretty well done writing about the Crawford people."

The comment referenced by Webster is posted here (and also in full below). In his comment to Sheehan he clarified that he "understands criticism of your actions, not that I agree with it," before writing that he does "agree with Nathan [Diebenow]'s assessment that doing the same thing over and over becomes boring after a while, especially from a media perspective."

When The BRAD BLOG contacted Diebenow for comment, he too expressed the belief that her tactics were now unproductive.

"She's not winning the right people over," he said. "The audience she ought to be going after is the American Idol audience. Those are the people that have to get --- though a lot of them already are her supporters --- but a lot of those people are still hypnotized."

"She has it in her power because she's so charismatic and funny and self-deprecating. But right now, she's too poisonous. If she was more self-effacing she could probably get it done. But I don't know why she's taking such a hard tone."

When pressed, however, for a suggestion as to how she should behave more productively, in hopes of seeing accountability for a war based on lies and deception in which she lost a son, Diebenow admitted a difficult time offering an alternative approach.

The Iconoclast reporter and columnist had also responded online at RAW STORY to Sheehan's angry rebuttal, where he took a more satirical tone, writing as "Nathan 'Eff' Diebenow" and explaining that he had a difficult time believing the comment posted was actually written by Sheehan.

"I personally don't believe that Cindy Sheehan actually wrote the response posted here on RawStory. The Cindy Sheehan I know doesn't take herself THAT seriously." Diebenow's comment from RAW is also re-posted below in full.

'One of the Great Americans'

Leon Smith, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Iconoclast, had a contrasting opinion from both his current and former staffers, about the still-controversial "Peace Mom." He had little but positive things to say about her and applauded her "courage" and continuing determination in taking the fight to George W. Bush.

"I have absolutely no animosity towards Cindy Sheehan," he told us by phone on Friday. "She's going to go down in history as one of the great Americans. She's done a lot to bring attention to the War in Iraq, in the United States, and actually throughout the world."

"She has taken a lot of criticism, but it took a lot of courage for her to do what she did," Smith continued. He even lauded her plans for protesting in Bush's new Dallas suburb. "I agree with her wholeheartedly, that she needs to be doing what she's doing. It's good to see her reemerging as a voice to rattle the cages, or...to shake the Bushes."

"I am not 'comfortable' with being attacked by anybody...'left' or 'right,'" Sheehan wrote to us via email today when confirming those were indeed her comments on RAW STORY. "But I would be even less comfortable with myself if I didn't do what I thought was the right thing."

Contrary to the assertions from both Webster and Diebenow, Sheehan points out, she has, in fact, continued her campaign through a number of different approaches since her landmark 2005 Crawford protest. In addition to her run for Congress and her radio show, she is the author of, or contributor to, a number of books, and is currently promoting her new eBook, Myth America: 10 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution!.

"I read Stephen and Nathan's responses," she told us, "and if you'll notice they didn't answer my questions or address my concerns. They obviously HAVE NOT been paying attention for the last two years, because I have not been protesting...I have been running for Congress and now I am on a book tour."

She vowed to continue her campaign for accountability for those who she feels are responsible for the unnecessary death of her eldest son, Casey, in 2004, and to keep the pressure on those who continue the same bad policies.

"I will keep the pressure up on Bush/Cheney and the Democrats...I do have integrity and a moral center that motivates me...not 'attention' or the lack there of," Sheehan says.

Diebenow called us back, an hour or so after we spoke about the matter originally, to say that he'd been thinking about all this, and may end up with a differing opinion himself on further reflection. He said that he may write about it in the future after pondering some more, but he did concede, during that second conversation, that had Sheehan not been continuing her protests, we likely would not have been talking at all about the "right" or "wrong" way to best encourage accountability for extraordinary --- and historic --- crimes that, so far, neither Bush nor Cheney have been forced to face up to in any way, shape, or form.


 

* * *

By way of full disclosure, we'll note that The BRAD BLOG (via our then-weekend radio program The BRAD SHOW) covered Sheehan ourselves in Crawford, Texas, as the only organization producing complete, live, daily broadcasts from on the ground at "Camp Casey" over the final two weeks of her historic stand in the summer of 2005. RAW STORY was a partner to those broadcasts. In all, we produced some 50 live hours of coverage from "Camp Casey" that summer, frequently working closely with reporters and editors from the Iconoclast. (Some highlights from those broadcasts may be heard here.)

Moreover, Diebenow recently wrote a cover story for the Iconoclast on the Obama Administration's failure to so far bring accountability for political prosecutions by the Bush Administration's Department of Justice. We were interviewed at length for, and liberally quoted, in his feature report.

UPDATE: Shortly after publishing this story, we were contacted by RAW STORY Executive Editor, Ron Brynaert who asked us to include the following comment:

That was a blog at Raw Story, written by one reporter here, who - of course - is free to express his own opinions (at least in the blog section).

I personally think Cindy Sheehan rocks. I think she's been a tremendous voice against the war in Iraq and I applauded her quixotic campaign against Pelosi. Sometimes I don't agree with her, but not only do I thank her for her voice, I wish that other relatives of our troops pro or con against the war could be heard, as well, because they all deserve the biggest spotlight that there is.

Ron Brynaert
Executive Editor
www.rawstory.com

* * *

RAW STORY's article, "'Peace Mom' to hound Bush in Dallas" is posted here. Sheehan's comment at the site is here, and also re-posted in full below, followed by the posted comments from Webster and Diebenow...

cindy sheehan

Eff whoever wrote this article and Nathan Dibenow from the Lonestar Icnonoclast.

Yes, I am doing all this for attention, because obviously the wars are over and George Bush and Dick Cheney have been prosecuted and everything is happy crappy and I should just go home and suffer in silence.

A.) WE SHOULD ALL BE PROTESTING OBAMA AND HIS POLICIES EVERY CHANCE WE GET.

B) DICK CHENEY HAS BEEN GOING EVERYWHERE BRAGGING ABOUT THE CRIMES OF THE BUSH REGIME AND OVER A MILLION PEOPLE ARE DEAD; OVER 4 MILLION HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF OUR OWN SOLDIERS ARE WOUNDED AND WE AREN'T EVEN TALKING ABOUT THE INCREASE IN SUICIDE FROM OUR TROOPS.

C) I REALLY LOVE THAT THE ICONOCLAST EXPLOITED MY PROTESTS FOR THEIR OWN AGENDA THEN STAB ME IN THE BACK.

D) NO ONE "CO-OPTED" ME...I AM STILL DOING THE SAME THING I DID BEFORE CAMP CASEY AND WILL BE DOING UNTIL THE WRONGS HAVE BEEN RIGHTED. I COULD GIVE A SHIT LESS IF ANYONE COVERS ME OR NOT...THE WORK STILL NEEDS TO ME DONE.

E) DOES ANYONE KNOW THAT I RAN AGAINST NANCY PELOSI AND BANKRUPTED MYSELF AND EXPENDED GREAT AMOUNTS OF EFFORT? NO? WHY? BECAUSE NOBODY COVERED MY CAMPAIGN...BUT I STILL DID IT, BECAUSE IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

F) I RECEIVED A SCARY DEATH THREAT TODAY AND MAYBE IF I AM LUCKY, I WILL BE KILLED AND I WILL GET SOME GOOD NEWS COVERAGE.

G) FINALLY, I GUESS ALL OF OUR SOLDIERS DESERVE TO BE KILLED BECAUSE THEY ENLIST....THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST ARTICLES I HAVE EVER READ.

SEE YOU IN DALLAS

CINDY SHEEHAN

Webster replied directly, on RAW STORY's blog, to Sheehan's comment thusly:

stephen

@ Cindy:

I wrote this. We know each other. Remember?

I also wrote this:

http://www.editred.com/U...34403_Easter_in_Crawford

Above, I said I understand criticism of your actions, not that I agree with it. But, I do agree with Nathan's assessment that doing the same thing over and over becomes boring after a while, especially from a media perspective.

Even the folks at the Peace Center got to feeling that way, as illustrated in the last 'graf in this article:

http://lonestaricon.com/...eNM/anmviewer.asp?a=2063

At the end of the day's dissent, as police were stopping traffic for miles across Interstate 35E to make way for Cheney's entourage of black SUVs, few demonstrators seemed encouraged. "We, the leadership at the Dallas Peace Center, we're just a bunch of old farts," said Hadi Jawad. "We're just doing what we've always done, and frankly we're out of ideas. We need some young people with fresh ideas to come in and take this over. I thank you all for coming, and all the associated groups. Maybe next time we can get a bigger audience."

The point of articles on our blog is to generate discussion. I'm so glad you joined ours, though I'm sorry you feel somehow under siege.

Your opinions are quite welcome here. But so are your detractors'.

Webster's comment was later followed by a reply from "Nathan 'Eff' Diebenow" (who confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that it was actually his reply):

Nathan "Eff" Diebenow

I personally don't believe that Cindy Sheehan actually wrote the response posted here on RawStory. The Cindy Sheehan I know doesn't take herself THAT seriously. She has a very self-deprecating sense of humor. In fact, I've heard her playfully bemoan the histrionics of herself and Camp Casey on two separate occasions. The first time she made fun of her propensity to cry at the drop of a hat. The second time she sarcastically expressed her displeasure at having to sit through yet another prayer vigil. As I remember, she punctuated her displeasure with several rolls of her eyes. Plus, I would like to believe the real Cindy Sheehan has more sophistication than to bash two young, dashing working-class writers such as Stephen C. Webster and myself on an online comment board. (No offense, RawStory, but trash talk is more appropriate for The Dallas Morning News' comment boards.) I believe the real Cindy Sheehan would have responded to my original column, thusly: "Yes, Nathan! Yes! I've been acting like a fool! What should I do since American Idol is not on the air right now. Stupid Adam Lambert!" To which I would reply, "Become a re-occurring character on The Tonight Show that dances tenderly and sweetly with Conan O'Brien. His audience fits your anti-war demographic nicely." My final thought concerning the response of this fake Cindy Sheehan is: give it up, kid. Though I like your spunk, you're never going to be as cool as the real Cindy Sheehan. Never. Thank you, RawStory - again - for your fine reporting and editorial verve. And to the real Cindy Sheehan, wherever you are in North Texas, remember to wear sunscreen. It's supposed to be sunny and 94-degrees now til Monday. Best, NFD P.S. Stupid Adam Lambert!

For the record, as we noted earlier in this piece, The BRAD BLOG confirmed with Sheehan that she was, in fact, the "cindy sheehan" who posted the comment on the RAW STORY article.