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Fox News Refines its Cindy Sheehan Smear

Reported by Melanie - August 12, 2005

One of the guests on Your World w/Neil Cavuto today (August 12, 2005,) was Lance Cpl. Klay South. South, who sat rod-straight and was dressed in a Marine officer's evening dress uniform, was shot in the face and in the foot in Fallujah in November, 2004. His facial scars are quite prominent but he is nonetheless a good-looking, articulate man.

He is not unaccustomed to attention. He was mentioned in a November, 2004, Washington Post article, and in that same month he sat very close to George W. Bush during an event at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. He will also be profiled in an "explosive, two hour" (as the ads say) Fox News "special" on Sunday evening titled, Company of Heroes.

Early in the segment, Cavuto said, "Cindy Sheehan is a mom who's hurting, obviously. She lost her son. She's mad at the President. Are you?" (Note: Cavuto didn't say Sheehan lost her son in Iraq.)

Fox cut to a split-screen and aired video of Sheehan in Texas, looking disheveled and exhausted, next to the crisp, neat soldier. "No," South said. "I can't be mad because I love my corps. I love my family. I love my country. Being in the hospital, I was with a lot of people and I never came across one military person that was bitter or family [sic] bitter about being injured or losing any loved ones. It's what you signed up to do. You're serving your country. It's an honor."

Comment: Smooth, isn't it? Fox takes an extraordinarily complex issue and distills it into a 40-second Q & A. It doesn't yell or scream (Cavuto's sly), but it propagandizes nonetheless, employing contrasting images as tools. Cindy Sheehan is a "hippie" (think liberal, drugs, sex, anti-establishment, anti-war, anti-soldier and Hollywood hedonism), an image Fox reinforces over and over again. Sheehan's "mad," she's unpatriotic, she doesn't love her country and she's dishonoring it and its soldiers. Flip-side is that the upstanding, good-looking, articulate, neat, clean, dressed-up, disfigured soldier is fulfilling his responsibilities. He's the mature one. He cares, despite his injuries, and he loves his family, his corps, and his country. Beginning, middle, and end, of story.

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