On Campaigns, 9/11 Widows, the Media and Reading Between the Lines
To be honest, it would be quite ridiculous for Bush to run this campaign without mentioning 9/11. The most shocking thing about the ads was how tasteful they actually were. The Bush Campaign merely dipped their toe in the water of 9/11 invocations. The media, of course, is covering how their toe looked. The real story here is that the toe immediately got bit by a shark.
The coordinated response to these ads has been absolutely spectacular. Well, just go read the whole thing before I blockquote it all. I'll wait. I want to address one area of Ezra's post: a 1-second picture of Ground Zero in Bush's advertisments being crucified by 9/11 Victim's Associations and the Firefighter's Union for insensitivity and bad taste There's a whole lot I want to say here - and have been meaning to say - but I've held off for personal reasons. However, Robert Prather wrote a post on this subject today and it just cranked that old emotion train up again.
"There is no better testament to the leadership of President Bush than Sept. 11," the letter states. "In choosing our next leader we must not forget that day if we are to have a meaningful conversation."
"In the November election we will have a clear choice laid before the American people," the letter reads. "President Bush is rightly offering us that choice and the images of Sept. 11, although painful, are fundamental to that choice. The images in President Bush's campaign television ads are respectful of the memories of Sept. 11."
Jimmy Boyle, former president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, spearheaded the letter, signed by 22 people who lost loved ones _ mostly firefighters _ in the Trade Center attacks.
Boyle, who said he will be voting for a Republican president for the first time in November, said he decided to ask other families to sign the letter after hearing that the president was being criticized for using Sept. 11 images in campaign ads.
"I don't think he's taking advantage of Sept. 11 and I feel that he's given us the leadership that we need," Boyle said. This is the comment I left on Robert's post: bq. I know Jimmy Boyle and this doesn't surprise me at all. The difference between Jimmy and some of his IAFF brothers is that Jimmy will be voting with himself and his family in mind; not according to the desire of his union.
My father lost many friends on 9/11. He is a retired member of the IAFF and, in fact, lectures them on fire safety and other subjects around the country. He's pleased with Bush's campaign and disgusted with the union and those widows who, despite their claims to the contrary, are politicizing their victimization.
I can tell you stories about the behavior of some of these "terror widows" that would make your jaw drop. The Bush video is just another example of them, and the union, thinking that the world needs to stop for them and their needs.
I'm sure if Jimmy searched around, he could find a lot more than 22 people to sign his letter. Has anybody asked the widows, widowers, parents and children of the non-firefighter victims of 9/11 how they feel? Why is this just centered around how the IAFF feels? The media picks and chooses their quotes so they can result in the most controversial, paper-selling, agenda-carrying story. The only reason that Newsday, generally a liberal paper, is giving both sides of the issue is because so many of the victims of 9/11 were from Long Island. Newsday needs to play both sides of the fence so they can both carry the message from those who oppose the ads and help voice the opinions of those who don't. John Hawkins came up with some interesting facts regarding the two major groups that oppose not only Bush's use of the ads, but Bush's re-election run as well. For instance, many media outlets have been running the story of IAFF president Harold Schaitberger. What those stories have not revealed is that Schaitberger is co-chair of the Kerry for President campaign. Another interesting thing John uncovers is this: Apparently Peaceful Tomorrows has received millions not only from US taxpayers -- which is mind-blowing in and of itself -- but it has also received "4.3 million...from the Howard Heinz Endowment". Yes, Heinz as in Theresa Heinz-Kerry. Just an interesting fact. Even Newsday's mostly postive article has a little touch of spin: Reactions were especially strong by some in the wake of controversy over Bush television commercials released last week, which showed -- some say inappropriately -- firefighters carrying shrouded remains from Ground Zero. If you haven't seen the ad, the wording firefighters carrying shrouded remains from Ground Zero might make you gasp in horror. When you see the ad and the whole three seconds in which the 9/11 appears, that phrase loses some of its shock value, no? President Bush is coming to my little town - East Meadow, NY - on Thursday. He'll be at the groundbreaking of a 9/11 memorial and then hold a fundraiser at a restaurant that is located in the same park as the memorial. bq. Joanne Lehman doesn't care that President George W. Bush is holding a fund-raiser right after he attends a groundbreaking ceremony for the Nassau County 9/11 Memorial Thursday. She doesn't care that Democratic presidential contender John Kerry is accusing Bush of capitalizing on the tragedy to jump-start his re-election campaign.
What matters to the Sept. 11 widow is that the president of the United States this week will acknowledge what she lost 2 1/2 years ago, and come to her community to do it.
"The bottom line is that this happened during his presidency, and it changed our lives forever," said Lehman, 43, of Glen Cove, whose husband Edward, 41, died in Tower Two of the World Trade Center. "He's taking the time to do this -- to acknowledge us and our efforts to keep the memories alive." Look for most media who report on this story to leave out this crucial phrase: Ian Siegal, president of the Nassau County 9/11 Memorial Foundation, said the president already had scheduled the fund-raiser when the foundation invited him to attend the groundbreaking. It makes sense to me. This area is a huge Republican stronghold. The $2,000 a plate fundraiser will put just a bit of cash in the president's coffers. I'm going to attempt to get to the memorial groundbreaking on Thursday. Local news stations say it's expected that there will be protests from those who don't support Bush's use of 9/11 in his ads. So, families of 9/11 victims and other anti-Bush advocates will disrupt what is supposed to be a solemn, poignant moment to make their point about Bush politicizing 9/11. What's wrong with this picture? Then there's yesterday's New York Times article, which has this statement: But a group of families who lost loved ones held a news conference in New York on Friday to say they found the advertisements offensive. Officials at Moveon.org., a liberal advocacy group, said they paid for the event. A liberal advocacy group? Try an organization, funded by socialist interests, whose main purpose seems to be convincing the public that Bush is Satan in disguise and whose current agenda is to back John Kerry. You would think these 9/11 organizations would be careful about who they align themselves with. The Peaceful Tomorrows group has aligned themselves with Democracy Now!, a tv show created by Amy Goodman and which features such partisan stalwarts as Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore. This is not to say that relatives of 9/11 victims can't be anti-war advocates. What I am saying is that the anti-Bush and anti-War movements need to be separated from the 9/11 advocacy groups. Why? Because the association taints the message of groups like Peaceful Tomorrows and the 9/11 Victims Association. It makes them appear to be activists not for the families of the victims of that day, but as agenda-driven, partisan political groups. Kristen Breitwieser especially has aligned herself with groups that subscribe to all the tin foil conspiracy theories about 9/11. Everyone has a right to their opinion. In this case, the public has been made aware of most of the opinions, but has been mostly sheltered from the dissenting views. Back to the ads, I repeat my view on this again: In my eyes, it was Bush who gave the country hope and comfort in the weeks after 9/11. We looked to him, we trusted in him and, from my end, he delivered. Everything about his presidency after September 11, 2001 revolves around that day. Why shouldn't he use it? How is different than Kerry trotting out one of the most devastating times in our country's history - the Vietnam War - for his political gain? Politics is a world of double standards, hidden agendas, bias and negative activism. It's an ugly place, that world, but the media does not have to contribute to that ugliness by printing/televising more of those components and printing less of the truth than is available to them. Ah yes, once again I ramble. If you've gotten this far, I think you get my point, though. You may not agree with it, but I think you got it. Update: I should add this; Bush's presidency has been defined by September 11, 2001 and therefore, I think he deserves the right to bring it up in his campaign. Personally, I would rather he brought it up again and again than not address it all. I would find that offensive. We should never forget, nor should we ever pretend to forget.