By Andrew Walden
Discover The Networks Ė Moonbat Central
August 27, 2005
KGO TV Channel 7 San Francisco
With the President back at his Crawford ranch, the anti-war protest right outside his ranch is getting a lot more media attention. ABC7 looks at who is financing the operation and whoís providing on-the-ground support.
The camp at Crawford is full of Cindy Sheehan supporters, people from all walks of life, but off to the side are a small group of professionals skilled in politics and public relations who are marketing Cindy Sheehanís message.
Cindy Sheehan kneels before a cross with her sonís name on it, touches his picture, wipes her tears. Itís an outpouring of emotion that is part of a scheduled news event organized daily for the television, radio and print reporters who crowd in to capture a motherís grief.
Cindy Sheehan: "Iím never going to see him again, Iím never going to hold him again, Iím never going to hear his voice again."
Sheehanís message hasnít changed since she got here, but the support staff interested in getting that message out to the world has grown considerably.
Organizers are set up in a house trailer. Their meetings closed to reporters.
Leading the group is Fenton Communications employee, Michele Mulkey, based in San Francisco. Fenton specializes in public relations for liberal non-profits.
Their bills are being paid for by True Majority, a non-profit set up by Ben Cohen ó of Ben and Jerryís Ice Cream fame.
Ben Cohen, True Majority: "People are willing to listen to her and we want to do as much as we can to make her voice heard."
Cohenís group has teamed up with Berkeley based MoveOn.org, an anti-Bush group co-founded by Joan Blades.
Earlier this month, MoveOn helped organize anti-war vigils in support of Cindy Sheehan.
Current Democratic National Party Chair Howard Deanís organization Democracy for America is also involved, as is the more radical anti-war group Code Pink organized by San Franciscoís Medea Benjamin.
Money donated through these groups and others is helping to pay for Gold Star families whose children have been killed in Iraq to attend anti-Bush protests.
This week Simi Valley California Gold Star wife Melanie House flew to Idaho for a protest and then flew to Crawford.
ABC7ís Mark Matthews: "Can you tell us if youíre getting help in airfare to come down here?"
Melanie House: "What difference does that make?"
There is real reluctance to talk about whoís paying, and the P.R. machine thatís promoting Cindy Sheehan, but not everyone here is completely comfortable with it.
Gold Star mother Karen Meredith came here from Mountain View. Her son Ken Ballard died last year.
Karen Meredith, Gold Star mother: "Sometimes things donít feel quite right to me. They donít feel wrong, but maybe thatís how they do it in the marketing business."
ABC7ís Mark Matthews: "You feel youíre part of a marketing
Karen Meredith: "Possibly. Yeah I think so."
On the other side, pro-Bush supporters are getting on the ground to help reiterate their message.
Grassfire.org and IM4W.com came back to the same Iowa-based conservative public policy organization, an organization with ties to the Republican National Committee.
There is also the "Cindy you donít speak for me tour," a caravan
of military wives and mothers led by Deborah Johns of Roseville. Her son
William is a marine who has served two tours of duty in Iraq.
Johns and her supporters are traveling to Crawford to confront Cindy Sheehan.
Deborah Johns, caravan leader: "It means everything for me to be here, to see the support. Weíre so proud of him."
The caravan is getting a lot of help from MoveAmericaForward.org. Itís a non-profit organization co-chaired by former state assemblyman Howard Koologian. Koologian is a Republican who takes credit for launching the recall against Governor Gray Davis. His co-chair is KSFO Radio talk show host Melanie Morgan. The groupís PR firm is led by a veteran California political strategist and the firm claims clients running from a county supervisor to President of the United States.
KSFO Radio is owned by Disney which also owns ABC7.
The "You donít speak for me" group is expected to be in Crawford on Saturday. Sheehan said today sheíll welcome to meet with her without reporters present.