Bioethics Discussion Blog: Schiavo case: Visitor Comments and News Media Reporting

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Schiavo case: Visitor Comments and News Media Reporting

If you go back to the posting on January 24, 2005 titled
Schiavo Case: Beyond Compassion, Beyond Ethics, Beyond Law
you will find a number of comments by my visitors. There are some written recently including today but, notwithstanding the earlier date of my posting, the views expressed are timeless and worth reading.

There is another issue that I want to bring up. It is about behavior in this Schiavo case.

As the general public think that the Congress and the President have demonstrated behavior that was inappropriate for their duties, I think that the news media in all their various public expressions have also often behaved inappropriately in the Schiavo case. On TV, was it really necessary to keep bombarding the viewer with the home-video segments presumably selected by the family and possibly showing a biased representation of Terri's activity? How many times did we need to see it? And what was the purpose? And then are the comments of the various stakeholders or their friends. Some of the quoted expressions, though presumably a reflection of the severe emotional distress, are unnecessarily negative and represented, at times, distasteful ad hominem characterizations. Are all these quotes necessary? The Kansas City Star (but also heard on the radio), as an example of unnecessary and possibly overly dramatic description, wrote:

"On Thursday, her sixth full day without food or water, Schiavo, 41, was described by distraught family members as looking like an Auschwitz survivor.."

Why that comparison? Might this be insulting to living Auschwitz survivors reading or hearing this. Why couldn't they paraphrase the family member with the word "poorly". I think you can recall other examples of news media reporting that seemed unnecessary and/or inflammatory. This kind of reporting makes one wonder.. WHY?

Perhaps when this case is finally over, some pathologic examination of the behavior of the politicians and the news media be carried out. Also some consideration of the behavior of the physicians involved. The only parties that looked pretty "clean" was that of the judicial system. What do you think? ..Maurice.

3 Comments:

At Friday, March 25, 2005 11:59:00 AM, Blogger Linkmeister said...

I don't watch Fox, but CNN had some of its pretty young female anchors using the phrase "will Congress save Terry Schiavo?" as a promo for upcoming segments. I found it terribly inaccurate and offensive. To be blunt, what is there to "save?" This poor woman's brain has been gone for years.

 
At Friday, March 25, 2005 9:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Auschwitz comparison was hyperbole, and may have been offensive to survivors but it serves as a reminder that the Nazis started with euthanazing "noncontributing" members of society. Are we so far from that? I don't know what's right in the Schiavo case. I see plenty of potential for conflict of interest on the part of the spouse, and equal potential for denial on the parents' part. I hope that the courts truly were impartial.
5in9years

 
At Friday, March 25, 2005 11:27:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

" I hope that the courts truly were impartial."

If not them, then who else could we look to? ..Maurice.

 

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