While the American legal system busied itself killing Terri Schiavo and denying her family the opportunity to present new information to the courts in an effort to keep her alive, other Americans were busy debating whether or not it was right for the courts to order Terri to be starved to death.
One faction, those who believe killing people who are disabled and are unable to defend themselves, thought it was just fine for the courts to starve her. Another faction, those who believe than withholding food and water from an otherwise healthy person on the sole say-so of her legal guardian who had a conflict of interest large enough to drive his SUV through, thought the courts ought not to be able to order death under those circumstances.
The mainstream American media dutifully followed the story, and sometimes helped design the story.
Now that Terri is gone, one might expect the media to address the huge philosophical chasm separating those two aforementioned factions, and help us follow the debate. Or it might have spent a little time trying to find out just why Michael Schiavo insisted on ending his wife’s life over the protestations of her family after he had abandoned her for another woman who bore him two children, then insisted on cremating her body against the dictates of her religious beliefs and burying the remains in his family’s site rather than giving her to her family to bury. Or it might have questioned whether the description of Terri’s last days as she dehydrated and starved to death, which Michael Schiavo’s whacked out lawyer said were beautiful and peaceful, was actually true or not.
Instead, the MSM thinks it is more important to report on what it assumes is the impropriety of Republican lawmakers in considering whether or not our laws provide sufficient protection for people in Terri Schiavo’s condition, and others who are unable to protect themselves. The MSM sees some malevolent intent in a memo containing “talking points” about the issue that was unwittingly given to a Democrat senator by a Republican senator. Mike Allen of The Washington Post created a largely false story and spread it across the nation with the help of the nation’s wire services (Where is Dan Rather working these days, anyway?) asserting that “Republican leaders” had handed out the memo to “Republican senators” and had termed the issue “a great political issue.”
“What’s wrong with that,” you ask? Well, a couple of things. First, the memo came from the office of a freshman senator. Freshmen senators are not leaders of either party.
Second, had The Post taken the time to actually research the story it would have learned before embarrassing itself that in addition to the senator whose staff member wrote the memo, none of the other 54 Republicans in the Senate had ever seen the memo, either.
And third, it might have had the good sense to realize that in calling this swirling moral controversy “a great political issue,” the word “great” meant “of great significance” not “a great opportunity.”
But of course if The Post had done even rudimentary research and made even a half-hearted attempt to report accurately, it would not have had a story worth printing.
Since last fall we’ve seen major media players step in it up to their eyeballs. First there was CBS/Rathergate, then The New York Times, and now The Washington Post.
A wise and famous movie character once commented: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Could he have been talking about the mainstream American media?