Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri Schiavo: Congress vs. Judges

I found quite a contrast in the coverage of the legal and constitutional issues that have been brought out by the Terri Schiavo case. CNN ran an article on by Edward Lazarus, FindLaw columnist, special to It is entitled “Why Congress didn't help Terri Schiavo's parents.” It speaks to why Congress was wrong in trying to intervene in Terri Schiavo’s case. Some of the points include:

* … Congress did three independently troubling things at the same time. Again, it is highly debatable whether or not these three actions are lawful. …

* Aside from these three serious problems …, Congress's action was irresponsible and cruel: It was irresponsible because it forced the federal courts into the midst of a highly emotional and divisive political battle, and it was cruel it gave the Schindlers false hope. …

* Fortunately, however, the same pro-life forces who sought help for Terri have also begun to realize that Congress gave them too little, too late. Once Terri passes into the next life, one question remaining will be whether Congress will pay a price for making a terrible tragedy that much worse.

Fox, on the other hand, ran a story entitled, “GOP goes on judicial offensive.” This article says:

* "This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Thursday after receiving news of Schiavo's death. "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another." …

* While Democrats on Thursday lamented Congress' intervention in the ordeal, some Republicans vowed to cure what they considered to be a moral injustice.

* In a later conference call with reporters, Santorum said the courts had practiced nothing less than "judicial tyranny" in this case and took aim at those who say Congress overstepped its bounds. "[This is] routinely done by the courts — deciding they are now a super-legislature," Santorum said. "I'm not sure if the press realizes how serious this conflict is between the branches of government and how gravely concerned members of Congress are with [the] kinds of judicial tyranny we've seen. ... "To suggest Congress has exceeded power shows you there are judges who simply ignore written law and substitute their own judgments."

* [Note: Fox does give the Democratic viewpoint on this as well but the GOP view is the headline and the first part of the article.]

Links to the articles:,2933,152095,00.html

Terri Schiavo Dies in Husband's Arms

Both CNN and Fox ran various stories on Terri Schiavo’s death and reaction to it. I decided to compare articles that appear to be covering the same aspect of the story so I chose articles with similar headlines. CNN ran their own story with the headline, “Attorney: Terri’s husband cradled her.” Fox ran an AP story with the similar headline of “Terri Schiavo died in husband’s arms.” Many of the facts are the same but there are signs of biases with CNN being more from Michael Schiavo’s perspective and Fox from the Schindler’s. CNN's headline uses "cradled" which implies more of a loving husband than Fox saying that she died in his arms. The opening sentences are dramatically different. CNN has the death as calm and peaceful while Fox speaks of labored breathing and mottled skin. Both sentences are true. CNN's opening sentence is a statement from Michael's attorney. And, from both articles, Terri's breathing was more labored and her skin was mottled. But, CNN and Fox chose how to lead the story and I think that says a lot about their respective biases.

CNN: Terri Schiavo died a "calm, peaceful and gentle death" around 9 a.m. ET Thursday, cradled by her husband and legal guardian, Michael, said attorney George Felos.

FOX: Her breathing labored and quick, her skin mottled with red splotches, Terri Schiavo spent her final moments clinging to one of her beloved stuffed animals. Michael Schiavo was at her side, in the same hospice where he has spent every night since his wife's feeding tube was removed two weeks ago.

Links to the articles:,2933,152120,00.html

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


CNN and Fox ran different AP stories about expectations of an upcoming report from President Bush’s commission on weapons of mass destruction. Many of the sentences are the same since they are AP stories but there are many differences, especially early in the articles. The tone of each is very different and represents their respective biases, as illustrated below. In the opening sentences, CNN says the report will “castigate” U.S. agencies while Fox says it will call on the agencies “ensure information flows more freely.”

First sentences:

CNN: President Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction will castigate U.S. intelligence agencies for their continued failure to share information after numerous reforms aimed at improving coordination, federal officials said Tuesday.

FOX: President Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction is expected to call on U.S. intelligence agencies to take steps to ensure information flows more freely among them, breaking down long-standing barriers and cultures of secrecy, federal officials say.

This sentence is CNN’s second sentence but it is Fox’s 11th sentence. Is there bias in the placement of this statement which is negative towards Bush’s administration?

…said the report also goes into great detail on why prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs turned out to be flawed.

Fox has these statements which are not in CNN’s article. While pointing out some problems they are more favorable to Bush and offering some explanation as to Bush’s war decision.

Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq had the strong support of U.S. intelligence centers, but it was far from unanimous.

The individual said the end result was the appearance of overwhelming evidence of attempts by Iraq to significantly arm itself.

Links to the articles:,2933,151870,00.html

Nuclear Threat?

CNN and Fox ran articles on different stories about fears of nuclear threats. Although different, I couldn’t help but notice the contrast.

Here are the headlines and first sentences:


Poll: Iran not a nuclear threat

Almost six out of 10 adults in Britain, France and Germany say that Iran does not pose a nuclear threat to Europe, according to the findings of a new CNN/TIME poll.


Many Americans Fear Nuclear Attack

Though the Soviet Union is gone, the nuclear fears that fueled the Cold War haven't disappeared. Most Americans think nuclear weapons are so dangerous that no country should have them, and a majority believe it's likely that terrorists or a nation will use them within five years.,2933,151964,00.html

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Terri Schiavo: coverage

Here are some search results from both CNN and Fox News sites on articles today related to the Terri Schiavo case. I have only included what I would call “hard news” stories and have not included opinion pieces or transcripts from their cable news shows. CNN had more reports today but I think you can scan the list and get a sense for the different biases. [Note: Here is a caveat. Some of the CNN stories may be run by Fox tomorrow. Sometimes I have noticed a one or two-day difference between the timing of the publishing of the articles.]


Conservative direct-mail firm buys Schindlers' list (03.29.2005)
Thousands of people who helped Terri Schiavo's parents finance their protracted legal battle could soon start receiving solicitations from anti-abortion groups who purchase their contact information from a conservative direct-mailing firm.
Michael Schiavo relative reports threat (03.29.2005)
Michael Schiavo's sister-in-law said a man threatened to shoot her and her family if Terri Schiavo dies, Philadelphia police said Tuesday.
Jackson joins fight over feeding tube (03.29.2005)
The Rev. Jesse Jackson arrived Tuesday at Terri Schiavo's hospice and called on Florida lawmakers to have the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube reinserted.
California debates spending on comatose inmates (03.29.2005)
The California Department of Corrections spent $1.27 million in just six months on medical care for six comatose inmates last year -- and that's not counting more than $1,000 per day for each guard it cost for security.
Health lobbyists have tough sell (03.29.2005)
Though Congress rushed to intervene in the case of a brain-damaged Florida woman, those lobbying on life-and-death medical issues that affect thousands or even millions of people often find themselves struggling to get lawmakers' attention.
Spouse as next of kin has deep roots (03.29.2005)
Marianne Clark cannot understand why Mary Schindler -- the woman who gave birth to Terri Schiavo, dried her tears, and nursed her cuts and bruises -- counts less to the courts than the husband who asked that Schiavo's feeding tube be removed.
High court's right-to-die rulings leave questions (03.29.2005)
The Supreme Court's history on right-to-die cases is pretty thin.
The Terri Schiavo case (03.29.2005)
The case of Theresa Marie Schiavo has again made headlines this week.


Jesse Jackson Visits Schiavo Hospice - Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — As Terri Schiavo (search) entered her 12th day without food or water, Jesse Jackson (search) paid a visit to her...

Patients Often Suffer Under Twisted Medical Ethics - Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - Death by starvation might be the most excruciating kind of death imaginable....

President Bush on Iraq

Sometimes my blog posts deal with subtleties of bias having to do with choices of specific words or choices of pictures accompanying an article. There is nothing subtle about the differences between two articles today. Both are about President Bush speaking from the Rose Garden to a group of Iraqis concerning democracy in Iraq. The differences start with the headlines with Fox saying that Bush is saluting the successes while CNN says he is downplaying the problems.


CNN: Bush downplays Iraqi political disputes

FOX: Bush Salutes Freedom and Democracy

The trend continues in the first sentences with CNN bringing up the turmoil with the transitional government process and Fox saluting the growth of democracy.

First sentences:

CNN: President Bush, on a day of political turmoil in Baghdad, acknowledged Tuesday that Iraqis are divided over the future of their country but said the differences "will be resolved through debate and persuasion instead of force and intimidation."

FOX: With first lady Laura Bush on her way to Afghanistan to meet with newly emerging women's groups and President Hamid Karzai, President Bush stayed at home Tuesday to salute the growth of democracy in Iraq.

CNN has only 286 words in their AP article compared to Fox’s 774 words. Fox reminds the reader of the successful election with this:

The election on Jan. 30 was considered by many a success after more than 8 million of 14 million eligible voters braved insurgents' threats and voted in that country's first free election in 50 years. The president praised the turnout and especially the number of women who voted and are participating in the Iraqi assembly. Eighty of the 275 National Assembly members are women.

Fox has some information later in the article that is critical and also supportive of the efforts in Iraq. It ends with a positive note on this quote from Brian Bennett, Washington correspondent for Time magazine:

"The amount of news that has come out in the Middle East about either elections in Iraq or pro-democracy rumblings in other countries has definitely succeeded in quieting any of the criticism about the lack of weapons of mass destruction that were found in Iraq, which doesn't mean it isn't an important issue."

Links to the articles:,2933,151812,00.html

Volcker Investigation of Oil-for-Food Scandal

As I have noted before, Fox tends to be a little tougher on the U.N. or you could say that CNN is more U.N.-friendly. That seems to be the case as well with their respective articles on Volcker’s report that was released today concerning, among other things, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s potential involvement in the oil-for-food scandal. The articles are similar but the potential bias seems to show in the first part of the articles beginning with the headlines. Fox has a headline of “Will Annan resign? ‘Hell no.’” That seems to indicate that the report results are serious enough to question whether or not Annan should resign. CNN’s headline is much friendlier to Annan with “Report: Annan didn't influence contract.”

In the first sentence of Fox’s article it says that “there was not enough evidence to show that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan knew of a controversial contract bid by his son's employer.” That makes it sound like there is doubt about his innocence but that there was just not enough evidence to find him at fault. CNN starts its article with Annan’s vindication: “U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday he feels vindicated after an independent inquiry found no evidence he exerted influence in the awarding of a $10 million annual contract to a Swiss company that employed his son.”

Leading up to the report being released Fox said this in an article last week: “Paul Volcker next week will release a report detailing just who is to blame in the Oil-for-Food scandal and some familiar with the documents say that report will directly fault U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan for some management lapses.” Yesterday they said this in an article: “It's a report that could cause more questions as to whether U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is fit to run the world body.” Look at how different CNN’s approach was when they said “An independent U.N. investigative committee is expected to clear Secretary-General Kofi Annan of conflicts of interest in the now-defunct oil-for-food program in Iraq.” They did add to that this statement: “But it is expected to sharply criticize his oversight of the aid program, a source familiar with the report said Monday.”

Links to the articles:,2933,151805,00.html,2933,151750,00.html,2933,151534,00.html

Monday, March 28, 2005

U.S. State Department's Human Rights Report

CNN and Fox both ran an article today on a Human Rights report issued by the State Department. Their articles show clear bias. CNN ran an AP story while Fox ran their own (with contributions from the AP). CNN’s opening focuses on the report’s criticism of Pakistan and China and notes in the first sentence that this follows U.S. decisions to “arm Pakistan with jet fighters and to avoid a showdown with China on the way it treats its people.” Fox’s opening is quite different with these first two sentences: “From the first moments of his second term, President Bush has talked about spreading democracy. On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice unveiled the U.S. annual report on what the government is doing about it.”

For overall comments about the report here is how each quoted Rice. Fox’s seems to be a stronger quote using the phrase “moral choice between oppression and freedom” and it ties in to Bush’s agenda of spreading freedom.

CNN: … Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who praised the Bush administration as being "on the right side of freedom's divide." “We have an obligation to help those who are unlucky enough to have been born on the wrong side of that divide," she said.

FOX: "Freedom's work has most assuredly just begun. In all that lies ahead, our nation will continue to clarify for other nations the moral choice between oppression and freedom," Rice told reporters.

CNN had this statement but this was not noted in Fox’s article:

The United States, meanwhile, has come under criticism for abuses committed against terror suspects at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo, Cuba, and has transferred some prisoners and released others.

Links to the articles:,2933,151716,00.html

Condi Rice -- Photos (2)

I hope I am not being too picky here but I often wonder about the decision-making that goes into picking a picture to go with an article. CNN and Fox often use the same or comparable pictures. But, here is an example (as I have noted before) where Bush administration officials are shown in a slightly different light by CNN and Fox, even though both are using AP photos. In the example shown below, Secretary Condi Rice is shown discussing a State Department Human Rights report. CNN uses a close-up where Rice has a strange look to her face and she is not particularly pleasant looking. Fox, on the other hand uses a much more complimentary photo where she is smiling, animated, and looking confident, with the whole world behind her. [For another example with Rice see this post:]

CNN (AP photo)

Fox (AP)
Posted by Hello

Links to the articles:,2933,151716,00.html

Terri Schiavo: quick update

In looking at today’s articles on Terri Schiavo, I have to say that they are both being reasonably fair. There are some small indications that CNN still seems to favor Michael Schiavo’s position while Fox favors the Schindler’s position. For example, in what appears to be their main update reports today, CNN’s opening sentence (and headline) is about Michael asking for an autopsy after Terri dies. Fox opens with Terri Schiavo “clinging to life” and the parents appealing to the “powers that be.” Concerning the autopsy, CNN quotes Michael’s attorney: “Felos said Michael Schiavo decided to come forward with the autopsy plans for Terri Schiavo after "opponents to carrying out her wishes" suggested Michael Schiavo had an ulterior motive in his plans to cremate his wife.” On this same issue, Fox quotes the Schindlers’ attorney: “…David Gibbs III, said her family also wants an autopsy. "We would certainly support and encourage an autopsy to be done with all the unanswered questions," Gibbs said.”

To their credit, CNN’s article gives several quotes from the Schindlers as well as Michael’s attorney, George Felos (although they never quote the Schindlers’ attorney, David Gibbs III). Fox also ran a separate article about a medical opinion that the video clips of Terri might be misleading people into believing that she has some level of consciousness.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Iraqi Government

This weekend, Fox devoted more words to developments in the forming of a new Iraqi government (213 words to CNN’s 41 words). In an article Saturday entitled “Official: Iraq gov't may be formed soon,” Fox covered news of U.S. military deaths in Iraq but included a lot of information in the beginning of the article on progress towards a new government. CNN ran an article Sunday entitled “Video claims killing of Iraqi official” in which brief mention of news of the Iraqi government is noted in the “Other developments” section at the end of the article. Here is what CNN said:

A political official says Iraq's transitional national assembly plans to convene Tuesday morning. The 275-member transitional body was to meet this weekend, but the office of Barhim Salih, the interim deputy prime minister, said the assembly will meet Tuesday morning instead.

Here is part of what Fox notes:

"God willing, the government could witness its birth in the coming few days," said Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a top member of the Shiite Muslim alliance that won the most parliamentary seats in Iraq's Jan. 30 balloting. ...

"There are various groups and we're keen that the process of forming the government be quick," he said. "But we're also keen that this birth has all the requirements needed for success."

As of Sunday evening, if you were reading Fox, you would be much more optimistic about how things are going. Is that warranted? Reading CNN would not give you much information. Is CNN purposely trying to avoid good news coming out of Iraq on this matter?

Links to today’s articles:,2933,151598,00.html

Democrats' Weekly Radio Address

Every Saturday, President Bush gives his weekly radio address. The Democrats also do a weekly radio address. This week it was Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. Each Saturday morning Fox usually publishes a transcript of the President’s address. However, I noticed this weekend that (at least so far – Sunday night 5pm, PST) Fox has yet to report on Levin’s address. CNN had a story on both addresses. Here is the link to CNN’s article on the Democratic party’s radio address:

Democrat pans private accounts for Social Security (03.26.2005)
President Bush's proposal to change Social Security by creating retirement investment accounts for younger workers would shatter the New Deal-era program and burden future generations with debt, a Michigan congressman said Saturday.

Terri Shiavo comment

I have a few posts on how Fox and CNN have reported on Terri's physical appearance and condition. Both had updates today and repeated a lot of what was said yesterday. Both CNN and Fox have noted the differences (even if somewhat one-sided) between the descriptions of Terri from Michael Schiavo's lawyer compared with Terri's parents and others. CNN has an interesting quote from Bobby Schindler which I have shown below. Is the fact that we are not allowed to see images of her evidence of Michael Shiavo's efforts to have his wife die (or to not have himself perceived badly by others) by not trying to evoke sympathy for Terri or is it legitimately to protect Terri's privacy?


Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo's brother, questioned why cameras could not be allowed to document her death. He called Felos' description of Schiavo as "the farthest thing from the truth" and said, "My sister is being killed by dehydration and starvation."

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Update on Terri Shiavo's Physical Condition

Last night I had a posting on how CNN and Fox differed in their coverage on Terri’s physical condition. This afternoon their updated articles continue the trend with CNN having more information than Fox on comments from Michael Schiavo and his side of the story. Fox continues to emphasize Terri being starved. Here are the specifics:

From Michael Schiavo’s point of view:


Felos said that he had visited Terri Schiavo for 20 minutes at her hospice in Pinellas Park on Saturday. "Frankly, when I saw her...she looked beautiful. In all the years I've seen Mrs. Schiavo, I've never seen such a look of peace and beauty upon her." He refuted charges made by Schiavo's parents that her lips were bleeding, her skin was peeling and that she appeared in discomfort. Felos said that "it felt right and appropriate that Mrs. Schiavo not be fed and sustained through an artificial device" and that "she has a right to die with dignity" and "in peace" without the release of video and photographs of her at this time.

He said Schiavo's breathing has been regular and that her death doesn't appear "imminent."


"He knows in his heart he is doing the right thing, he is doing what Terri wanted," Scott Schiavo said. "He's having a hard time understanding why people are fighting him on this, why they are calling him a murderer. It's very tough on him."

From the Schindler’s point of view:


"She is fighting like hell to stay alive. And I want the powers to be to know that," Bob Schindler told reporters after visiting his daughter at the hospice Saturday. "Anyone that has the authority to come in and to save Terri, they can do it. It's not too late. She's fighting and we're asking you to fight with her."

Schindler said his daughter has been showing signs of "starvation and lack of hydration."

Outside the hospice Saturday, Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo's brother, challenged lawmakers to go inside and see her. "And when they come out, you need to ask them if Congress and the governor were wrong to get involved in my sister's case."


Her body wracked by dehydration, Terri Schiavo moved closer to death Saturday. Doctors have said she would probably die within a week or two of her feeding tube being pulled, which was done March 18 after a judge sided with her husband's argument that she would not want to be kept alive artificially. "She's doing remarkably well under the circumstances," said Schiavo's father, Bob Schindler, after visiting her inside the hospice Saturday afternoon. "She has put up a tremendous battle to live. She's not throwing in the towel."

Links to today’s articles:,2933,151585,00.html

Terri Schiavo: Catholic Beliefs

CNN and Fox ran updates this afternoon. Both had different information on Terri Schiavo’s Catholic beliefs. CNN has a statement that refers to last rites. Fox, however, does not mention last rites but talks about how Terri’s parents argued that her beliefs were a reason to have the tube reinserted. Here are the statements:


Additionally, Felos said that Schiavo received last rites, which includes Communion, the day the tube was removed, and that a court has ordered that she be able to receive the sacrament one more time before she dies. Felos said no exact time for that has been set, but that the rites would be administered by the hospice priest. He said Schiavo's breathing has been regular and that her death doesn't appear "imminent." He said that Schiavo's remains would be cremated and interred in a family plot in Pennsylvania, where she and her husband grew up.


Schiavo was reared in the Roman Catholic church and her parents have made heavy use of her faith as the basis for the numerous appeals to reinsert the feeding tube that was removed more than a week ago. The Schindlers have argued, for instance, that she should be spared based on statements by Pope John Paul II that people in vegetative states have a right to nutrition and hydration. They say Terri would have obeyed the pope and would not choose to have her tube removed. That argument was rebuffed in the state courts.

Protests in Pakistan

For the second time this week, CNN has reported on Islamic protests against Pakistan’s President Musharraf that are also anti-U.S. To date, Fox has not reported either rally. Here is a quote from the latest CNN article:

In the second such display in four days, thousands of members of an alliance of Islamic parties on Wednesday protested in the capital, accusing Musharraf of being beholden to the United States.

Here is the link:

Protesters want Musharraf to go (03.24.2005)
U.S. flags have been set alight and thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Lahore to call for the resignation of Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf.

Here is my previous post (

CNN ran this article Sunday on a huge demonstration against Pakistan’s president. At the time of this posting, there is no mention of this demonstration by Fox News. Is Fox avoiding this story of a demonstration against an important U.S. administration ally? Is this a pattern? As I noted yesterday, Fox did not cover a story that CNN had about anti-war demonstrations in the U.S. on the anniversary of the Iraq war.

Thousands rally against Musharraf (03.20.2005) Tens of thousands of people from all religious parties have staged a rally in Karachi against Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, declaring him unacceptable because of his pro-American policies.

UK and Iraq

In the last few days there has been inconsistent reporting of some events in the UK related to the Iraq War. CNN has run three stories on a possible cover-up by the British government on the legality of the Iraq War. As of today, Fox has no stories on the subject.

Pressure on over Iraq war advice (03.25.2005)
Prime Minister Tony Blair's government remained under pressure Friday following media reports of a "cover-up" after a document emerged which suggested that Britain's top law officer changed his mind about the legality of the Iraq war shortly before its outbreak.
Straw denies Iraq war cover-up (03.24.2005)
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has rejected claims of a "cover-up" after a document emerged that suggested the country's top law officer wavered about the legality of the Iraq war just before its outbreak.
Blair accused of Iraq war cover-up (03.24.2005)
Prime Minister Tony Blair faced further controversy about the legality of the Iraq war, after a fresh report indicated the government's top legal adviser changed his mind on the issue shortly before the invasion.

Fox, however, has run a story on a House of Commons report that faults the government for not admitting whether or not it uses information extracted through torture in other countries.

Committee Faults British Gov't on Torture - Friday, March 25, 2005 - LONDON — A House of Commons committee faulted Prime Minister Tony Blair;s (search) government Friday for not saying whether it uses...

Friday, March 25, 2005

Terri Schiavo's Physical Condition

In their updates tonight, CNN and Fox differed in the coverage they had on Terri’s physical condition after she has been off of the feeding tube for one week. Both covered the two points of view but CNN had more information than Fox on comments from Michael Schiavo and his side of the story. Conversely, Fox had more than CNN on comments from the Schindlers’ point of view. CNN has more quotes about Terri being peaceful and in no pain. Fox has more emphasis on Terri being starved. Here are the specifics:

From Michael Schiavo’s point of view:


Felos told CNN that Terri Schiavo appears "peaceful" and "is in her dying process." She is going through what "millions go through during their death process," he said.

Michael Schiavo's brother, Brian, also said his sister-in-law appeared "peaceful." "She's lying there. Sometimes her mouth is agape," he said. "She's not too different from when I saw her the day before."

Brian Schiavo said she appears "withdrawn," but "she is not in pain."


Brian Schiavo, brother of Terri Schiavo's husband Michael Schiavo, strongly disagreed with that assessment, telling a news network that Terri Schiavo "does look a little withdrawn" but insisting she was not in pain. He added that starvation is simply "part of the death process."

From the Schindler’s point of view:


Bob Schindler said that his daughter is showing increasing signs of "starvation and dehydration." "I told her we're still fighting for her. And she shouldn't give up, because we're not.”


… was showing signs of dehydration — flaky skin, dry tongue and lips, and sunken eyes, according to attorneys and friends of the Schindlers.

"Terri is weakening," Bob Schindler said Friday morning after visiting Terri in the hospice. "She's down to her last hours so something has to be done and it has to be done quick." After a later visit, he added: "I told her that we're still fighting for her, and she shouldn't give up because we're not.”

Meanwhile, family members worried that Schiavo was becoming more and more malnourished as the legal battle played itself out. "It's very frustrating. Every minute that goes by is a minute that Terri is being starved and dehydrated to death," said her brother, Bobby Schindler. He said seeing his sister was like looking at "pictures of prisoners in concentration camps."

Links to today’s articles:,2933,151454,00.html

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Terri Schiavo: update

Both ran updates on the Terri Schiavo situation. Both were reasonably balanced when it comes to providing both sides of the story. However, there are enough differences to indicates biases. Here are some examples:

* Schindler spokesman, Randall Terry is noted by CNN as an “anti-abortion rights activist.” Fox does not mention that.

* Fox states that “police arrested 10 protesters outside her hospice for trying to bring her water.” There is no mention of arrests by CNN.

* CNN notes that “Since last Friday, Michael Schiavo has been at Terri Schiavo's bedside, Felos has said.” Fox does not mention that.

* They differ in how they talk about allegations of abuse against Michael Schiavo. Fox says “DCF filed a motion last month to intervene in the case, saying it was investigating 30 allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of the brain-damaged woman…” CNN’s mention of this sounds less severe and notes that allegations have been dismissed in the past: “He also denied a petition from the DCF to investigate allegations that Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael, abused her. Such allegations have been considered and dismissed several times in the past, most recently last week in the Florida Supreme Court.”

* Fox has one short quote from the Schindler’s lawyer, Davis Gibbs. CNN does not mention Gibbs.

* Fox states the Bobby Schindler described his sister’s appearance “by comparing it to that of concentration camp prisoners in Germany during World War II.”

* Fox has more quotes from the Schindlers and their representatives than CNN. CNN has more quotes from Michael Schiavo’s lawyer, George Felos.

* CNN gave no quotes from representatives of either President or Governor Bush. Fox had one quote for each.

The table below shows quotes that were used in the respective articles (excluding the end of Fox’s article that had quotes from ethicists.

People Quoted



The Schindlers or their spokesmen

* Anti-abortion rights activist Randall Terry … said the new motion raises "evidentiary issues that were ignored in the first crack at federal court."

* "It appears every legal option has just been exhausted," the Rev. Patrick Mahoney … said …

* "Governor Bush is now the only practical hope here for Terri Schiavo. We plead with Governor Bush."

Paul O'Donnell, a spiritual adviser for the Schindlers, said, "their hope is dimming." "They're very disappointed," he said. "They're in shock. They can't believe this is happening. They hope the governor is going to do something, but this is a severe blow when Terri's life hangs in the balance."

* Wednesday night, Bob Schindler accused Greer of being "on a crusade" to kill Terri.

* Mary Schindler said Wednesday: "When I close my eyes at night, all I can see is Terri's face in front of me, dying, starving to death."

* Randall Terry … said Bob and Mary Schindler were not giving up, and again slammed Gov. Bush for not strong-arming the court. "The governor blinked. The governor blinked," Terry said. "We can only hope the governor is huddling with his attorneys and he is determined with his constitutional authority to enforce the statutes."

* The Schindlers' filing: "It has taken our nation many years to make good on its commitment to equal justice for persons with profound, cognitive disabilities," the request read. "Unless the state of Florida retains the power to protect the rights of its most vulnerable citizens ... the 14th Amendment's guarantees will apply only to those who are capable of defending them on their own." It added: "Without a stay from this court, Terri will die a horrible death in a matter of days."

* Terri's brother Bobby Schindler told FOX News: "We always hold out hope something's going to happen that's going to help save my sister's life, so we're extremely disappointed" in the court's decision.

* Bobby Schindler … told FOX News that the best way he can describe Terri's appearance now is by comparing it to that of concentration camp prisoners in Germany during World War II.

"It's extremely sad and I can't believe I'm watching my sister die this way," he said. "It's the most inhumane, cruel thing — I'm at a loss for words. I don't even know how to describe what I'm feeling right now."

* "When I close my eyes at night, all I can see is Terri's face in front of me, dying, starving to death," Mary Schindler said Wednesday outside her daughter's Pinellas Park hospice. "Please, someone out there, stop this cruelty. Stop the insanity. Please let my daughter live

Michael Schiavo

"The status quo today is that Mrs. Schiavo is exactly where she would want to be; she has been released from unwanted, intrusive medical procedures according to her wishes," his response stated. "Preservation of the status quo would allow her to die in peace, and to maintain her dignity and autonomy. Petitioners [the Schindlers], however, ask this court to upset the peace that Mrs. Schiavo has attained, to reverse the fulfillment of her own wishes, and to dismantle 8 years of painstaking work by courts in both the Florida system and the federal system."

George Felos, attorney for Michael Schiavo

* "Mr. Schiavo and all of us are very grateful for the order of the United States Supreme Court this morning. We hope that that order will effectively end the litigation effort in this case. We believe it's time for that to stop ... and that Mrs. Schiavo be able to die in peace."

* "It saddens me that we have to run to court and get court orders to protect Terri Schiavo from the abuse of the state of Florida," Felos said Thursday. "The conduct of the executive branch of the state of Florida has been reprehensible."

* Since last Friday, Michael Schiavo has been at Terri Schiavo's bedside, Felos has said.

* "I sincerely hope the great focus and media attention on this case can peaceably settle as people move into this weekend in a frame of contemplation," Felos said. "I hope the parents do not keep pursuing fruitless legal options to the end — their time would be better served in reflection."

David Gibbs, attorney for the Schindler family

* "We're just trying to save Terri's life."

Lawyers and others

* Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said at the heart of the case, which was often overshadowed by a nasty family feud, was the tragedy of one woman's life. "This is a horrible situation and there are no winners," he said. "This case is really about what Terri would have wanted."

* George Washington University legal expert Jonathan Turley said "There's no surprise at all here. The federal courts have been uniform in their view that there's no deprivation of the law here — there's no federal claim," Turley told FOX News. "This is a state issue," he added, …

* "This isn't the personal family tragedy it should be — it's a national reality show," added Dr. Jonathan Moreno of the Center for American Progress.

* "I'm saddened by the decision of the court to reject Terri Schiavo's case for life despite a compelling case for reexamination of the medical evidence," Frist [R-TN] said in response to the high court's decision. "It is a sad day for her loving family and for their innocent and voiceless daughter."

The Bush’s (president & governor) spokesmen

* "The governor is disappointed [at the Supreme Court decision] and will continue to do whatever he can within the law to save Terri's life," Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre said.

* Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin said President Bush had been informed of the Supreme Court's ruling.

Bush "felt that the legislation passed by Congress was the best course of action ... he believes that in a case such as this, the legislative branch and the executive branch should err on the side of life, which we did."

Links to today’s articles:,2933,151347,00.html

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bush, Fox, and Martin

CNN and Fox ran nearly identical AP stories on an agreement signed between the three North American Leaders: Bush, Fox, and Martin. Since the stories are from the AP, a good portion of the articles are word-for-word the same. I do not know why there are any differences at all but there are. These differences are, I believe, evidence of bias. Here are some examples:

* The first five sentences are identical as are the following 12 sentences with the exception of this sentence which appears in CNN’s version and notes that neither Canada nor Mexico backed the Iraq invasion:

Neither Mexico nor Canada backed Bush's decision to invade Iraq, and that chilled relations between Bush and the two nations early in his first term. Relations have generally remained amiable, however, and all three leaders appeared cheerful when they met with reporters here after their trilateral meeting.

* Much of the rest of the articles were different. Fox has this statement that notes an increasing role by Canada in Afghanistan:

Martin said Canada would not reconsider its decision against joining the U.S. missile defense program. But he added, "The defense of North America is not only going to take place in North America. Canada is playing an increasing role in Afghanistan."

* Fox’s article contained an additional 152 words about Bush’s comments with most of those words being direct quotes.

* CNN had more information on the accord as well as other information from the “Task Force on the Future of North America.”

Links to today’s articles:,2933,151262,00.html

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

France's Workweek

Both ran nearly identical AP articles about France changing their workweek laws. Although both attribute the articles to the AP, they use different opening sentences and Fox has a few extra sentences at the end. Fox’s article is a little tougher on France. Here are the opening sentences:

CNN: French lawmakers voted Tuesday to reform the country's 35-hour workweek by allowing employers to increase working hours.

FOX: French lawmakers effectively abolished the country's 35-hour workweek Tuesday by allowing employers to increase working hours — and pay — as the country struggles with high unemployment and stagnating living standards.

CNN talks of France “reforming” their laws. Fox uses more dramatic language in using the term “effectively abolished” and points out the reasons for the change being “high unemployment and stagnating living standards.” Did Fox add that in as a dig on France or did CNN choose to leave that out? Fox also adds this uncomplimentary information near the end (or did CNN leave it out):

Last year, a parliamentary committee reported that the 35-hour week cost France more than $13 billion a year, casting doubt on a labor ministry study that suggested it had created 350,000 jobs between 1998 and 2002.

Some also argued that the shorter week hurt living standards because employers froze salaries to make up for lost labor.

Links to today’s articles:,2933,151170,00.html

Illegal/Undocumented Immigrants

Fox has been a little tougher on illegal immigrants as noted by my post on their five-part series on illegal immigration. ( Today, both CNN and Fox ran identical AP stories with this first sentence:

The nation's undocumented immigrant population surged to 10.3 million last year, spurred largely since 2000 by the arrivals of unauthorized Mexicans in the United States, a report being released Monday says.

It may be subtle but CNN uses the term “undocumented population” in their headline. Fox uses the more negative “illegal population”:

CNN: Study: Undocumented population tops 10 million

FOX: Report: Illegal Population Surges to 10.3 Million

Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri Schiavo: national debate

Fox ran a story yesterday and CNN did today on the debate caused by the Terri Schiavo situation. CNN’s headline is “Schiavo case strikes a nerve.” It speaks to debate around the country and mentions examples from Tallahassee, Chicago, Florence (AL), Los Angeles and New York. Fox takes a different slant with an AP story headlined “Debate renews divide over ‘values.’” It speaks to the values behind the debate and the effect that has had on the politics of the situation. I believe there is bias behind the choices with Fox wanting to address the “values” issue which was very big in the last presidential election won by the Republicans. Perhaps CNN will address this in the future but they did not choose to run this AP story at this time. Is CNN avoiding the "values" angle?

Links to the articles:,2933,150983,00.html

Rally Against Pakistan President

CNN ran this article Sunday on a huge demonstration against Pakistan’s president. At the time of this posting, there is no mention of this demonstration by Fox News. Is Fox avoiding this story of a demonstration against an important U.S. administration ally? Is this a pattern? As I noted yesterday, Fox did not cover a story that CNN had about anti-war demonstrations in the U.S. on the anniversary of the Iraq war.

Thousands rally against Musharraf (03.20.2005) Tens of thousands of people from all religious parties have staged a rally in Karachi against Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, declaring him unacceptable because of his pro-American policies.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Coverage: Radio Address, Civil Rights, War Protests, Illegal Immigrants

I usually compare articles about the same news event. But, when looking at both sites I often notice stories covered by one and not the other. I do not expect each news source to cover only the same events but it is interesting to note sometimes, the choices they make on articles to post. Below are several examples from the last few days and I hope it makes the point of getting news from more than one source.

Radio Address. CNN ran stories Saturday on President Bush’s radio address and the Democratic response by Pennsylvania Governor Rendell. Fox ran the transcript for Bush but made no mention of the Democratic response. Here is a link to CNN’s article:

Democrats slam budget cuts for veterans' services (03.19.2005)
The governor of Pennsylvania on Saturday said the federal government must do a better job helping America's war veterans and criticized proposed budget cuts affecting them.

[***Note: It is now three hours after I posted the above and now Fox does have an article (about 24 hours after the Democratic response was broadcast). The differences between the articles show definite bias. Fox's headline indicates that it is a lone Democrat, Rendell , while CNN's headline indicates the more united front of "Democrats" and uses the stronger term "slam" over Fox's "criticizes." Fox only uses 79 words of direct quotes from Rendell while CNN uses 356 words. Fox’s article also ended on an administration-friendly statement saying, “Overall, the administration has proposed increasing its Veterans Affairs Department budget by 2.7 percent to $70.8 billion.” Here is the link to Fox's article:
Rendell Criticizes National Guard Benefit Cuts - Sunday, March 20, 2005 - While states are spending more to extend benefits to their National Guardsmen called to duty, the Bush administration is reducing benefits, …***]

Commission on Civil Rights. Fox ran the following story that, so far, has not been on CNN’s site:

Ex-Member Questions Rights Panel's Mission - Friday, March 18, 2005 -WASHINGTON — Russell Redenbaugh (search), the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (search) member who unexpectedly resigned this week,...

Iraq War Anniversary. So far, CNN has made more mention of protests and problems on the second anniversary of the war. Both CNN and Fox noted protests in Europe but Fox did not mention protests in the U.S. (maybe Fox will add something later today – I’ll check) but they certainly were in no hurry to note it. Here is CNN’s article:

Thousands of protesters mark Iraq war anniversary (03.19.2005)
Anti-war activists marched in the streets of U.S. cities large and small Saturday, stopping traffic and lying down alongside flag-draped cardboard coffins to mark the second anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

Illegal Immigrants. Fox ran this five-part exclusive series of stories on issues with regard to illegal immigrants:

Cheap, Illegal Labor Comes at Some Cost - Sunday, March 20, 2005 - LOS ANGELES — This is the last of a five-part series looking at how illegal immigration affects U.S. border security, the criminal,... Education Taxed By Non-English Speaking Kids - Saturday, March 19, 2005 - LOS ANGELES —....L.A. Emergency Rooms Full of Illegal Immigrants - Friday, March 18, 2005 - LOS ANGELES —,...Border States Grapple With Alien Criminals - Thursday, March 17, 2005 - PHOENIX —...Illegal Alien Influx May Compromise Security - Wednesday, March 16, 2005 - DOUGLAS, Ariz. — The U.S.-Mexican border is nearly 2,000 miles long. America's determination to keep illegal aliens out is matched...

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Terri Schiavo: photos

CNN and Fox have had pictures attached to their latest articles about Terri Schiavo. Their choices of pictures show bias with Fox being more sympathetic towards saving Terri’s life. Both use the frequently seen picture of Terri being kissed by her mom (although Fox has it on their home page but not with the article). Both use a picture from the protest going on in Florida. But then there is a significant difference in the choices they make. CNN shows a picture of Terri’s husband’s lawyer who has worked to get the feeding tube removed. Fox, on the other hand, shows a picture of Terri’s father plus the two pictures below which depict Terri as more of a real person rather than someone in a persistent vegetative state. One picture is before her affliction where she is seen with her parents. The other is later but she looks to be alert in the picture, more so than the picture of her mom kissing her.

Fox (AP/Schindler family)

Fox (AP/Schindler family video, file)
Posted by Hello

For other posts on the Schiavo situation, see links for posts on the right.

Links to today’s most recent articles:,2933,150919,00.html

Friday, March 18, 2005

Wolfowitz and the World Bank

CNN has posted four articles (one from CNN/Money) on Bush’s nomination of Defense Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. These articles emphasize the controversy surrounding the pick of Wolfowitz who has had a strong role in the Iraq war. Fox, on the other hand just had one article on the nomination with no reports yet on reactions. Here are the headlines and links:


Wolfowitz, U2's Bono talk poverty (03.18.2005)
Paul Wolfowitz, whose nomination as World Bank president has stirred controversy, discussed poverty and development issues with Irish rock star Bono in two telephone conversations Thursday, an adviser said.

Bush's Wolfowitz nod draws fire (03.17.2005)
In a controversial move, U.S. President George W. Bush has said he believes Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz will be a strong president of the World Bank.

Hostility, support for Wolfowitz (03.17.2005)
The nomination of U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to lead the World Bank has sparked reactions around the world ranging from official reserve to hostility, although there was some support.

Controversial choice (03.16.2005)
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is best known as one of the architects of the Iraq war.


Bush Recommends Wolfowitz for World Bank - Wednesday, March 16, 2005 - WASHINGTON — President Bush (search) announced Wednesday that he intends to recommend that Defense Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz...

More on Terri Schiavo: Coverage

This post goes along with my most recent post on Terri Schiavo. Fox has clearly kept the situation more in the forefront this month. Searching both of their sites for stories this from March 1st through March 15th, shows two articles on CNN’s site compared with seven for Fox. I am not counting the recent media frenzy of the last few days but am just looking at how important the story was to either based on the frequency of coverage earlier in the month. Here are the headlines and links:


Judge: No delay in Schiavo case (03.11.2005)
A judge ruled Thursday that Florida's social services agency cannot intervene to delay the removal of the feeding tube keeping brain-damaged Terri Schiavo alive.
Parents ask judge to let Schiavo divorce her husband (03.01.2005)
The parents of Terri Schiavo asked a judge to allow the severely brain-damaged woman to divorce her husband -- even if she dies -- in one of a flurry of 11 new motions filed by the couple.


House, Senate Clash Over Terri Schiavo - Tuesday, March 15, 2005 - TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Senate committee significantly narrowed a proposal Tuesday intended to keep Terri Schiavo (search) alive and a...

Judge: Agency Cannot Delay Schiavo Case - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - TAMPA, Fla. — A judge ruled Thursday that Florida's social services agency cannot intervene to delay the removal of the feeding tube...

Fla. Lawmakers Act on Schiavo's Behalf - Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - CLEARWATER, Fla.Florida's social services agency and Republican state lawmakers acted on two fronts Wednesday to block the March 18...

Schiavo's Parents Push for New Rulings - Monday, March 07, 2005 - CLEARWATER, Fla. — The parents of a brain-damaged woman at the center of a right-to-die case pushed Monday for new court rulings, and...

Fla. Agency Probing Schiavo Abuse Charges - Friday, March 04, 2005 - TAMPA, Fla. — The state's social services agency is seeking to delay the removal of a brain-damaged woman's feeding tube so it can...

3/4/05 FOX Poll: Right-to-Die: Who Should Decide? - Friday, March 04, 2005 - NEW YORK — As Terri Schiavo's (search) parents continue their fight to extend her life, a FOX News poll finds a majority of Americans...

Schiavo's Parents Ask Judge to OK Divorce - Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - TAMPA, Fla. — The parents of Terri Schiavo (search) asked a judge to allow the severely brain-damaged woman to divorce her husband...