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

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