Friday, March 18, 2005

Terri Schiavo

Both ran their own articles on Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube being removed today. There are some differences that would indicate potential bias on either side. In the headlines, CNN just says “brain-damaged woman.” Fox personalizes the situation more by using her name. Here are the headlines:

CNN: Feeding tube of brain-damaged woman disconnected

FOX: Terri Schiavo's Feeding Tube Removed

CNN’s first sentence includes a quote by the husband’s lawyer, George Felos, saying “She has a right to die in peace.” Fox’s second sentence is about the parents’ lawyer telling Fox News that he had been told the tube had been removed. Fox’s follows that with a statement from the parents’ web site. Felos is not mentioned until the sixth sentence.

Both articles provide a lot of the same facts of the situation. However, there I some information that is unique to one or the other. Both note that the husband was not there when the tube was pulled but Fox adds that he showed up later. Fox says that the parents were ordered to leave when the procedure was done but CNN does not mention that. Here are some other examples of information unique to one article or the other. Not all of the examples follow what I consider to be the overall biases but I believe that Fox comes from the perspective of keeping Terri alive while CNN has the opposite view.

If you only read CNN, here is some information that you would have missed that was in Fox’s article:

* A statement on Schiavo's parents' Web site read: "Terri's nutrition and hydration have now been withheld from her. It is unclear if the port that accommodates her feeding tube has been surgically removed as her family was ordered to leave her room."

* Republican lawmakers, along with Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his brother, President George W. Bush, have called for keeping Terri Schiavo alive.

* Religious groups and other activists have been a steady presence outside the Pinellas Park, Fla., hospice where Schiavo lives, and they were out in force Friday as the clock ticked down to 1 p.m. Most prayed and sang hymns, sometimes led by religious leaders. A number of protesters who had covered their mouths with red tape solemnly looked on Woodside Hospice. On the tape the word "life" was written in capital letters. Several churches in the area held special services in Schiavo's honor.

* Dr. Sean Morrison, a professor of geriatric and internal medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said that while coma patients recover, patients in a persistent vegetative state do not. He also said it was wrong to characterize Schiavo's death as starvation. "What happens is she loses fluid from her body, she enters a peaceful coma and she gradually passes away, very gently and very peacefully," he said.

If you only read Fox, here is some information you would have missed that was in CNN’s article:

* "They [the parents] are free to visit her right now. I want to be absolutely clear about that," Felos said. "There is no effort whatsoever to restrict their visitation. They can go and visit her now. They can stay as long as they want."

* David Gibbs, an attorney for Schiavo's parents, said the family is appealing to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on an expedited basis and pressing Congress to sort out legislation, while also lobbying the Florida Legislature to pass a law to intervene. "We're now up against a very tight clock because Terri is in the process of being starved to death," Gibbs said. "It is looking more and more like Washington, D.C., or [the state capital of] Tallahassee is going to have to step forward and save Terri's life." He added, "The family is heartsick. This is their daughter. This is their loved one. This is their sister. And they are watching her suffer, in their opinion, a death that she shouldn't have to face."

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/03/18/schiavo.brain-damaged/index.html
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,150878,00.html

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