Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, August 19, 2005

Sheehan Media Count

As Cindy Sheehan leaves Texas to be with her ill mother in Los Angeles, I thought it would be interesting to start a day-by-day tally of Nexis search counts for the name Cindy Sheehan. She is, without a doubt, a powerful PR machine that is playing well to a hungry media. Let's see whether the dangerous movement she's started can survive without her visibility.

Aug. 18: 306 hits
Aug. 17: 295 hits
Aug. 16: 215 hits
Aug. 15: 136 hits
Aug. 14: 93 hits
Aug. 13: 107 hits
Aug. 12: 167 hits
Aug. 11: 113 hits
Aug. 10: 46 hits
Aug. 09: 32 hits
Aug. 08: 36 hits
Aug. 07: 39 hits
Aug. 06: 7 hits (6 AP, 1 CBS, natch)
Aug. 05: 3 hits (all Dallas Morning News, pre-arrival)
Aug. 04: 0 hits

Nexis does not provide a complete analysis. Remember that Video Monitoring Service has tracked over 20,000 Sheehan mentions since the story broke. It is, however, a good indicator of how heaviliy the media is covering a story, and it focuses more on larger papers and network shows that more people read and view.

By yesterday, the stories had largely shifted to stories of parallel protests fueled by Sheehan, or more accurately, fueled by the media's attention to Sheehan: 300 gather in Lancaster PA, 200 attend vigil in Akron, nationwide candlelight vigils get under way. And, of course, the AP story many of you read that asked the question all of us are asking, "'Peace Mom': Spearhead of a Peace Movement?"

Sheehan's mother's stroke came at a pivotal time, at the beginning of the story's third week, following a few days of rapid growth in coverage. It also came as a more diverse suite of critics are beginning to appear, including liberal Nation journalist Jonathan Chiatt, writing in today's LA Times:
So adopting veterans or their mourning parents as spokesmen is an understandable counter-tactic. It was a major part of the rationale behind John Kerry's candidacy. The trouble is, plenty of liberals have come to believe their own bleatings about moral authority.
The viciousness of the attacks (careful with that link!) against Michelle Malkin show the strength of the Cindy Sheehan image, and also the tenacious grip on that image the Left has, and does not want to relinquish. But the Left really doesn't have the grip -- the media does. So what happens over the next few days will be important.