Monday, March 06, 2006

An Arrest, Poll Numbers and the Framing of News

The Associated Press via the Washington Post reports Cindy Sheehan was arrested outside U.N. headquarters with three other women from Code Pink. They were trying to hand-deliver a petition with 60,000 signatures that called for foreign forces to immediately withdraw from Iraq.

Sheehan and a group of about a dozen protestors included "Iraqi women [who] described daily killings and ambulance bombings as part of the escalating violence that keeps women in their homes."

The Village Voice reports the group "said they had notified police of the demonstration, [and] said they were shocked that they were not allowed to deliver the petition."

"A detective called me before and I told him exactly what we were planning to do and that we'd be marching from the United Nations on the sidewalk, and he said it would be fine," said spokesperson Andrea Buffa.

Instead, when the march got within shouting distance of the U.S. Mission, cops tried to corral the crowd of about 50 demonstrators into a protest area across the street. Sheehan and the other activists pressed forward, determined to deliver the petition to the offices of Ambassador Bolton. "We come in peace!" Sheehan and the other women shouted. "We're coming in peace with a peace plan."

As the news gods would have it, only this morning AOL was asking their subscribers to fill-out a self-directed poll about Cindy Sheehan. In their unscientific poll, a mere 25 percent of respondents said they admired her.

Of course, far greater degrees of likes and dislikes than the lofty "admire" are available. But the poll also showed 66 percent of the people disapproved of Sheehan.

Possibly AOL should have used the word "sympathize" or the simple opposite of "disapprove." Nonetheless, the poll clearly shows neocons -- with the help of mainstream media -- have been able to morph Sheehan into some crazed mother who likes the attention her "media stunts" bring her.

No story illustrates this better than the whopping difference in framing by the Associated Press and the article by The Village Voice.

But take heart, dear Cindy; you're still more popular than Darth-Cheney; and if the poll had truly been scientific, you'd likely be more popular than the crazed man in the White House that has brought so much grief to you and our nation.

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