Accuracy in Media

Several bloggers have drawn attention to a strange lead in a Washington Post story about the Terri Schiavo autopsy results. The  June 16 Post story by David Brown said that “Terri Schiavo died of the effects of a profound and prolonged lack of oxygen to her brain on a day in 1990, but what caused that event isn’t known and may never be, the physician who performed her autopsy said?” On the same day, the Post ran another story about the autopsy results. This story was written by David Brown and Shailagh Murray. It did not feature the controversial and obviously false statement about Schiavo dying in 1990. It states, correctly, that she died on March 31.

The original attempt was a clumsy effort to convince us that Schiavo wasn’t really a human being when she died on March 31.

And that is or was the issue. As noted by Julian Tepper, host of the Julian Tepper show on WTNT-AM in Washington, D.C. , the case centers on how you value the worth of a human being. He comments, “Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Terri Schiavio was ultimately limited in what she could appreciate. Let’s assume she was blind, that she had no cognitive thought at all. The fact is that, whatever it was that was wrong with her, she was breathing. All she had to do to avoid death was to eat and drink. And she had some parents and a brother that wanted to take care of her for the rest of her natural life. And that was a natural life. We all eat and drink. So the fact that she was eating and drinking through a device, to me, is no different.  Very often people who don’t have brain damage but who have suffered some kind of injury are fed through a feeding tube. In this case, who would have suffered-who would have been harmed-if Terri Schiavo had been turned over to her parents and sustained until she died?”

Tepper says that if the point that her husband was making was correct-that she did not want to be kept alive-the autopsy results suggest that she would not have been aware of the fact that she was being kept alive. So, he asks, how can you say that she was being harmed by being kept alive and cared for? Instead, the autopsy results are being used by the media to suggest that the family was wrong for wanting to care for her because her life was not worth living.

The callous treatment of Schiavo extended to her family. Tepper asks, “Why was the family shut out of the funeral? Why was the family refused the opportunity to give her a Catholic service and burial? Where is the public outrage at this? I think it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the public regarded Terri Schiavi as being something les than a valid human being and the public was aided in that view by the way things were portrayed on television and in the newspapers.”

I agree. As I told Julian Tepper on his show, “the essential issue was her individual right to life?The coverage suggested, after the autopsy, that she really wasn’t one of us. She was different. She didn’t have the same intellect as we do. Only half a brain. And couldn’t even feed herself. So it’s all right to kill her.”

The unborn, human embryos, and disabled people like Terri Schiavo. These are the expendable ones, according to the prevailing media view. I always thought that liberals were supposed to be compassionate.  The liberal media are strangely cold and calculating on the matter of who lives and dies. If you don’t meet their test of humanity, you’re dead. It’s frightening. Who’s next on the list?

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