Friday, August 19, 2005

READING BETWEEN THE LINES: Did Mrs. Sheehan produce an anti war wildfire or a fizzled match stick.

Mrs. Sheehan is leaving her post to attend to her ailing mother. This is as it should be.

For me, the most interesting thing about her vigil in Crawford, Texas is the enormous ... I mean enormous amount of sympathetic and favorable publicity she received. She was reported to be the catalyst for a reinvigorated anti-war movement.

But ... have you been keeping track of attendance figures? According to media reports, only a few hundred placard wavers at peak times. That is not even good attendance for the Crawford county fair on a rainy day. Her effort was a public relations coup. It was hype over substance. The Crawford event was like a balloon, visually enlarged by lots of hot air -- without which it is a rather thin and flimsy nothing.

As she departed, it is reported that she left behind approximately 100 campers to carry on. She is wise to leave, for good reason or good sense. Her movement was fading into oblivion, and even the fawning press eventually would have to recognize the absence of a compelling national story.

She has surely captured the attention of the news media, and the liberal establishment that seems to have perma-access to the press, but the reaction of the grassroots has been a bit underwhelming.

Given the attendance, I wonder if the all-but-certain book and movie will make sense to those who have to risk the big bucks on attracting readers and theater audiences. It would be ironic if one showing of the movie drew more attendance than the event, itself. I am betting on that.

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