Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Kurtz on Terri Schiavo

In his Washington Post column this morning, Howard Kurtz observed that neither the left nor the right has behaved very well in actions and statements on the Terri Schiavo case. He includes a lengthy critical review of media reporting and commentary. He began:

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on the Terry Schiavo case, one in which there's plenty of hypocrisy to go around.

The media, of course, have turned this into a life-and-death soap opera, despite the fact that the case has been around for 15 years and that families routinely decide to pull the plug on loved ones with no chance of recovery. The constantly broadcast images of the Florida woman in a "persistently vegetative state" fostered a climate in which Bush and Congress could declare, how dare anyone be in favor of starving this poor woman? And indeed, even those who disagree with what the Hill did obviously have sympathy for Schiavo and her family.

But still: the woman's husband says she told him she did not want to live like this (a dispute within the family thus became, literally, a federal case). Florida courts have ruled on the case again and again. But some Republican leaders, casting aside their usual distaste for judicial activism and emphasis on state's rights, saw a chance to score political points. (Anyone think Tom DeLay wouldn't rather talk about being Schiavo's savior than his own ethics problems?) To have Congress rush through a bill that affects just one person -- and then pretend that others wouldn't seize on the obvious precedent -- is quite amazing. Talk about forum-shopping.

Democrats didn't exactly distinguish themselves either. Many of them didn't like the Schiavo bill, but they clearly didn't want to be viewed by the public as pulling the plug on a hospitalized woman. So they kept quiet and went along.

The media, meanwhile, turned this serious subject into a debate about Schiavo's various family members, so that I heard people saying that the husband was so unlikable they were siding with the parents, as if the legal matter should be decided by some sort of "American Idol" vote.

And for all of the Beltway politicians' effort to force the case into federal court, they lost their fight anyway, at least in the first two rounds. An appeals court ruled early this morning against reinserting Schiavo's feeding tube, upholding a federal circuit court judge's decision.

Read the rest of Howard Kurtz, "Shouting Over Schiavo."


Blogger Falconmyst said...

I made a link to this article; after surfing one day and found your site very interesting.

(Dr. McCoy)

12:49 PM, March 23, 2005  
Blogger Junebugg said...

You should go and read this lady's comments on this case. She makes a lot of good points.

12:11 AM, March 24, 2005  

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