Monday, August 11, 2008

Rebranding Cindy

Cindy Sheehan makes the ballot to oppose Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill says the speaker welcomes the challenge and has "the highest respect" for Sheehan.

I am sure. It's inside baseball to most of you, probably, but the AP slug on the story is BC-Pelosi-Sheehan Challenge

All through Sheehan's personal crusade against Bush, the AP slugs on her story were "PEACEMOM." AP keeps the same slugs on a story in a cycle; Supreme Court stories always are SCOTUS. Even if the story changes in nature, the slug generally stays the same for the sake of editors finding it again. If two children don't come home from school it will be MISSINGKIDS or something, even as the case evolves into a murder, a trial, a conviction. Even now, after almost seven years and many permutations in the news stories, the slug on any AP story on Sept. 11 begins with ATTACKS.

So the AP dubbed this woman "Peace Mom." Soon after, "Peace Mom" crept into AP's descriptions of Sheehan in, for instance, photo captions. Finally, it became her designation in the AP's headlines. 'Peace Mom' Cindy Sheehan returns to Texas for war protest. It was the Associated Press that gave her that name, then they quoted it, unattributed, in their headlines. They've also given her a much-airbrushed back story. Working overtime to nail down public perception where they believe it belongs.

But now that she's at war with the liberal Democrat from San Francisco -- for essentially the same reasons she warred on Bush, she's no longer a Peace Mom, I guess. The words "Peace Mom" appear nowhere in the Pelosi story.