Friday, March 18, 2005

Terri's Starvation Aided and Abetted—By the Media

The Fox News Web site's latest article on Terri Schiavo contains a line typical of mainstream media distortions of her case:

Schiavo, who is in a persistent vegetative state, will starve to death within a week or two unless the tube is reinserted. No person has ever come out of a persistent vegetative state.
Why is is necessary for a major news outlet, which is supposed to be reliable, trustworthy, "fair and balanced," to make such a gratuitous "she won't get better" statement—one that is a bald-faced lie?

As Dory of Wittenberg Gate writes:
I heard Shep Smith on Fox News say several times this afternoon that no one has ever emerged from a persistent vegetative state. There's a good reason for that. When someone shows signs of consciousness, it is not assumed that they have emerged from PVS, it is assumed they were originally misdiagnosed.

Consider this study. Forty PVS patients were studied. They were given therapy to promote communication. Seventeen of the patients (43%!) were found to be able to communicate. The conclusions? These patients were all originally misdiagnosed as PVS, and such a diagnosis cannot be easily made and requires a team of specialists.
PVS is a diagnosis. Like any diagnosis, it could be wrong, and especially so in this case, when Terri has been denied the extended examinations and brain scans that could confirm it. For news organizations to imply that it's the truth suggests that they can't wait to advertise her death.