Thursday, March 24, 2005


Michelle Malkin offers further evidence, if any were needed, that the MSM in this country is either incompetent or dishonest or both. She looks at the recent ABC poll that shows large numbers of people supporting Michael Schiavo's wish to kill his wife and asks if maybe the poll question wasn't a smidgeon disingenuous:

However you feel about the Terri Schiavo case, one fact is indisputable: The mainstream media (MSM) coverage of the matter has been abysmal. On a fundamental matter of life and death, the MSM heavyweights have proven themselves utterly incapable of reporting fairly. Take a widely publicized ABC News poll released on Monday that supposedly showed strong public opposition to any Washington intervention in Terri's case. Here is how the spinmasters framed the main poll question:

"As you may know, a woman in Florida named Terri Schiavo suffered brain damage and has been on life support for 15 years. Doctors say she has no consciousness and her condition is irreversible. Her parents and her husband disagree on whether or not she should be kept on life support. In cases like this who do you think should have final say, (the parents) or (the spouse)?"

A follow-up question asked:

"If you were in this condition, would you want to be kept alive, or not?"

The problem is that, contrary to what ABC News told those polled, Terri Schiavo is not on "life support" and has never been on "life support." The loaded phrase evokes images of a comatose patient being artificially sustained by myriad machines and pumps and wires. Terri was on a feeding tube. A feeding tube is not a ventilator. Terri can breathe just fine on her own. And as many of her medical caretakers and parents have argued, if given proper rehabilitation, Terri could learn to chew and swallow on her own as well. She is disabled, not dead.

But ABC News did not see fit to inform either the poll takers or its viewers of the truth. Instead, it misled them -- and the result was a poll response that produced -- voila! -- "broad public disapproval" for any government intervention to spare Terri from slowly starving to death. Blogger Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters noted: "Either ABC is completely incompetent in conducting research, or they have attempted to fool their viewers and readership with false polling that essentially lies about the case in question. Since when does ABC conduct push polling for euthanasia?"

Imagine how the poll results might have turned out if ABC News had made clear to participants that Terri is not terminally ill. Not in excruciating pain. Capable of saying "Mommy" and "Help me." And of "getting the feeling she's falling" or getting "excited," in her husband's own testimony, when her head is not held properly.

Imagine how the poll results might have turned out if ABC News had informed participants that in a sworn affidavit, registered nurse Carla Sauer Iyer, who worked at the Palm Garden of Largo Convalescent Center in Largo, Fla., while Terri Schiavo was a patient there, testified: "Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri's death. Michael would say 'When is she going to die?' 'Has she died yet?' and 'When is that bitch gonna die?'" Now, if you were in this situation, would you want to be kept alive, or not?

Not to pick on ABC News, but, well, let's. In an attempt to embarrass Rep. Dave Weldon (R.-Fla.) who noted that withdrawing food and water from someone like Schiavo was extremely rare, ABC's Jake Tapper last week featured this counter-quote from Prof. Bill Allen, of the University of Florida College of Medicine:

"Feeding tubes have been removed in the United States for many years, and it's been a common practice. This has happened in many cases, probably a hundred thousand times in this country."

"A hundred thousand times"? There have been a hundred thousand cases of non-terminally ill, non-brain dead individuals slowly starved and forced to die in this country? Tapper demanded no proof from his professor. Instead, he dismissed lawmakers as ignoramuses contradicted by "experts," cited the biased ABC News poll cited above, and tossed it back to Jennings with this slam: "Terri Schiavo and her family deserved better than the way Congress worked this week."

Meanwhile, contradicting the experience of every starved child in Africa and abandoned street animal at your SPCA shelter, the New York Times informs us: "Experts Say Ending Feeding Can Lead to a Gentle Death."

Little wonder that people hold the major news outlets in such low esteem. So many of them seem to have accepted Rather-fication.

Just Wondering

This is going to sound to some as though I've taken leave of my senses, perhaps, but I feel it needs to be said. In fact, I'm a little surprised that I haven't heard anyone else say it.

How many men, listening to the facts surrounding the tragic case of Terri Schiavo, have not wondered what they would do if they were the father of a girl whose husband was doing to her what Michael Schiavo is doing to Terri? Suppose a man is convinced that it was an act of physical violence at the hands of her husband that put his daughter into this terrible condition. Suppose the father is convinced that in the years following, the husband has treated his daughter callously and cruelly, exploiting her condition for financial gain and then abandoning her to start another family. Suppose the husband refuses to relinquish custodial authority over the daughter so that he can retain the right to insist that she be killed. Suppose the father loves his daughter deeply and both father and mother are distraught at what has been, and is being, done to her. Suppose, finally, that the courts side with the husband and refuse to save the life of this man's precious "little girl" opting instead to let the husband kill her through a long slow process of starvation and dehydration. I don't know that all of these suppositions actually obtain in the Schiavo case, but suppose they did.

I don't wish to sound overly Clint Eastwoodian, but how many men have had the thought cross their mind in recent days that if their daughter were in such straits the contemptible husband would have long ago been given an ultimatum: If she dies, he dies.

The threat alone might effect a better circumstance for the suffering woman, but, on the other hand, perhaps the husband would be unmoved. In that event, I wonder how many fathers could stand by and watch another man who has no love whatsoever for their daughter, who only wishes her to be gone, coldly starve her to death. How many men would stand by helplessly watching their little girl's life ebb away knowing she could be saved if her killer's life were taken? What are the moral implications of such an act? If it would be wrong, precisely why would it be wrong?

Surely it is not an option open to a Christian, but then why isn't it? A Christian might enjoin us to ask what would Jesus do, but that's a poor guide in the present situation. Jesus would probably heal the woman. The father can't. A Christian might say that violence is not a legitimate option, but that's only true if one is a pacifist. What is the salient difference, given all our suppositions, between what is happening to the daughter in this instance and the case of a man using deadly force to protect his family?

Perhaps it could be argued that eliminating the odious son-in-law, so far from being an act of unjustifiable violence, would be, in fact, an expression of deep self-sacrificial love. At the cost of spending the rest of one's life in jail, or maybe even incurring the death penalty, one could insure by one's action that custody of the impaired woman would revert to the family who could then give her proper care and possible rehabilitation.

There's an outside chance that a jury wouldn't even convict a father who so acted to save his daughter's life, if it were the only recourse left to him. Jury nullification saved O.J., it might well work in favor of a man willing to sacrifice his freedom and risk execution in order to see his daughter's life saved. Indeed, we should ask ourselves whether, if we were on the jury, we honestly think we could vote to convict in such a case.

Just wondering if this solution ever occured to anyone else.

Women's Champion

Which is a better measure of a president's commitment to the rights and status of women, guaranteeing them the unfettered right to kill their unborn children or liberating 25 million women from tyranny in Afghanistan and Iraq and appointing women to positions of power and influence in government?

As long as liberal democrats think the answer is the former they'll continue to see their support among women erode until all that's left in their camp are a few embittered members of NOW and a motley collection of radical professors.