Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: Code Pink! Hannitized?

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Friday, August 26, 2005

Code Pink! Hannitized?

Is Code Pink being Hannitized? I am still unsure of it. I was listening in the car yesterday to Ariana Battle away with a freeper and Sean Hannity about Cindy Sheehan. Somewhere in between Hannity accusing Ariana of not answering questions and the freeper convincing the world that Ariana and Cindy Sheehan were lesbian sith lords trying to have sex on national TV while simultaneously tattooing each other's asses with swastikas, Sean Hannity brought up the "vigils" Code Pink has been having in front of Walter Reed medical hospital.

At first I was puzzled. Saying well any protest by a liberal group becomes fodder for Hannity. However, without an intravenous way of connecting to the internet in my car, I was held to the conclusion that perhaps they were just protesting the closing of Walter Reed. Since no timeframe was given I thought I would sink my teeth into this one today on MIT. I thought for shizzle I would catch Hannity in a crazy whitewashing of the lies he spews on a constant basis.

Alas, in going to Ariana's Hufpo I not only found silence about her bout with Hannity, I found good old Michelle Pilecki reporting on it. You may or may not know MIchelle but she has even linked to little old me in the past. She's no enemy of the left to say the least.

Now after reading Michelle's post and checking out the links including the video report by Marc Morano, (who was also on the Hannity show yesterday, though I missed his segment due to my attempts to contain violent episodes of reverse peristalsis) one must question what the hell is really going on.

I check out Code Pink first. They have a website describing things from their perspective here.

I contacted Code Pink with an email and they replied with a press release and some kind words. Here is the press release in its entireity:
August 25, 2004 Gael Murphy 202-412-6700

CODEPINK Statement on Vigil Outside of Walter Reed Hospital

Right-wing attacks on peaceful vigil come on same day as announcement that
Walter Reed Hospital will be closed.

Washington, DC ­ Since March 25, CODEPINK: Women for Peace members in
Washington, DC have been holding vigils outside Walter Reed Hospital every
Friday evening, to shed light on the plight of injured soldiers. Gravely and
seriously injured soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan arrive at Walter Reed
for treatment late at night, under cover of darkness, so that the public
does not become aware of the number of soldiers wounded and the severity of
their injuries.

These are vigils, not protests, and participants have included Washington,
DC-based members of Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, and DC
Labor Against the War, who all want more support for veterans.

³Since we started these vigils, we feel we have helped put the spotlight on
the needs of the soldiers and helped achieve positive results, such as
greater VA funding and a rollback of attempts to make soldiers pay for their
own meals, phone calls, daily hospitalization fees and increased
co-payments,² said CODEPINK¹s Gael Murphy, one of the vigil¹s organizers.

The vigilers still have concerns about veterans¹ care, such as a projected
$3 billion shortfall for 2006 VA funding, the closing of veterans hospitals
(including Walter Reed), the bureaucratic hurdles facing soldiers with
long-term disabilities who are trying to get disability payments, and the
Army¹s recent statement that it is ³revisiting² 72,000 cases of
post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) recorded in past 5 years because
misdiagnosis and fraud have inflated the numbers. ³We are continuing the
vigils because there is still a need to push for better care,² said Laura
Costas of CODEPINK and Military Families Speak Out, whose brother served in
Iraq. ³Yes, we want to bring the troops home, but we also want to ensure
that they are well-cared for when they return.²

The vigilers have often received encouragement from the wounded soldiers and
their families, who often join the vigil themselves. ³The first time I
attended one of the vigils, a soldier¹s wife invited me to come inside and
visit her severely wounded husband,² said Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK. ³He
shared his worries about the care he would get when he returned to his
hometown and the financial burden on his family, and he thanked us for being
there. His parting words were ŒPlease don¹t forget us like veterans of other
wars have been forgotten.¹²

In recent weeks, the vigil has attracted some people who have tried to
change the tone and message of the vigil, including yelling and holding up
inappropriate signs. The organizers have asked the newcomers to be
respectful and wonder if they might indeed be infiltrators whose aim is to
disrupt the vigil.

The organizers also suspect that the sudden attention to the vigil on the
part of the conservative media is part of a well-orchestrated smear campaign
against the peace movement. ³With the war in Iraq so disastrous and public
opinion turning against this war, there is a new desperation on the part of
the some conservative groups,² said CODEPINK cofounder Jodie Evans. ³Despite
their mud-slinging, the peace movement continues to gain momentum, as we see
in Crawford, Texas and will see at upcoming massive anti-war rally on
September 24 in Washington DC.²

PHOTOS of the vigil are available from Andrea Buffa,

Thus, they maintain that its a vigil not a protest, and that they are there to bring attention to the fact that wounded soldiers are being whisked into the hospital in the dead of the night. Avoiding media scrutiny. Plus they are bringing attention to the fact that DC politicians are failing to provide adequate funding for the VA hospital system. Indeed this news comes on the same day as the announced closure of Walter Reed. Plus we remember Operation Truth getting a good return on their investment with this ad. Yet if the shortfall is 3 billion, they only got half of what they need. Plus with the announced closure of the hospital, the support the troops crowd should perhaps guide their anti-anti-war protests towards the politicians actively engaging in picking and choosing which troops will have bases and hospitals to come home to.

However, it is fair to point out that Morano's report includes signs saying "Maimed for lies."

Honestly, I don't think that is appropriate. If I am in that hospital without a leg or an arm or both, last thing I need to be reminded of is that I lost them for a lie. It may be the truth and the truth hurts, but these guys are without limbs, their pain is enough as it is.

If the protesters down at Walter Reed want to bring attention to the pain our soldiers are going through, thats fine. But an anti-war movement needs not a rehashing of the poor treatment Veterans of the Vietnam war got back in the 60's. Being anti-war is OK, being anti-soldier is NOT OK.