Good Journalism Demands Good Ethics: A Schiavo News Article
The Empire Journal, published by American Free Media on September 17, 2005 presented an article informing the readers that Michael Schiavo, husband of Terri Schiavo, was to be speaking at a conference on ethics. in Minneapolis, Minn. September 23. What I was surprised by the article was the description given of Michael Schiavo. He is identified as “the man who killed his handicapped wife by pulling her feeding tube resulting in her slow agonizing very public death over 13 days.” Does anyone really believe that Michael actually pulled his wife’s feeding tube out of her body? Did he actually kill his wife? Didn’t she die because her damaged brain prevented her from swallowing and ingesting food and fluids? If her underlying illness had allowed her to eat and drink she would not have died from lack of fluid.
Yes and unfortunately her death was a “public death” but it was “agonizing” only to the family and public but certainly not to Terri herself. It was public simply because of the media attention. Yes, it was “slow” only because of the expected pathophysiologic course of clinical dehydration.
The description goes on with the following: “an adulterer, father of two illegitimate children whose testimony given under oath indicates that he made false statements.”
Well, I can’t counter the out-of-marriage descriptions, however with regard to the other accusations one would have expected that if he, under oath, had made “false statements” and indeed “killed” his wife, clearly no legal action has been taken against him for these alleged crimes. Wouldn’t he have been arrested by now?
Finally, the publication’s concern appears to be that Michael Schiavo, despite these allegations, is speaking at an ethics conference, “yes ethics.”
My comment about this article is that good journalism as in medicine and other professions demands good ethics. And unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing, naming the object of such allegations, is itself bad ethics—or worse. What do you think? ..Maurice.