Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Hopefully my last post on Schiavo

However you feel about the Terri Schiavo case, one fact is indisputable: The mainstream media coverage of the matter has been abysmal.
And with that, Michelle Malkin begins a column filled with more disinformation and spin than almost anything else she's written. And let's remember who we're talking about here.
Take a widely publicized ABC News poll released on Monday that supposedly showed strong public opposition to any Washington intervention in Terri's case...

The problem is that, contrary to what ABC News told those polled, Terri Schiavo is not on "life support" and has never been on "life support."...Terri was on a feeding tube.
Well, in legal, medical, and semantic circles, Michelle, that means Terri was on life support. The courts say so, the Florida legislature says so, and the fact that the only thing supporting her life is the feeding tube says so. But, of course, you have an answer for that.
And as many of her medical caretakers and parents have argued, if given proper rehabilitation, Terri could learn to chew and swallow on her own as well.
Via Majikthise, here's Ampersand on those "medical caretakers" who make such exciting claims:
There are more speech pathologists and psychologists than there are neurologists. And the most qualified experts in this group, seem to take care not to state an opinion...

Not one of the 17 experts reports having viewed the uncut films of Terri (and I doubt any of them did); in fact, several of them specify that they viewed the short clips available on the internet or seen on TV...

Obviously, I am not a medical expert. But you don’t have to be a doctor to understand that you can’t refute an argument if you don’t address it. These 17 expert opinions do not address any of the arguments for why Terri experiences no cognition, feelings or thoughts at all; nor do they address the court’s reasoning regarding the videos. They do nothing but repeat long-discredited arguments; which is great if the goal is to be able to say “look, 17 doctors say blah blah blah,” but not useful if the goal is to meaningfully discuss Terri’s medical condition.
Or maybe Malkin was referring to an actual caretaker, Carla Sauer Iyer, who Malkin quotes:
"Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri’s death. Michael would say "When is she going to die?," "Has she died yet?" and "When is that bitch gonna die?"
The problem with Iyer's testimony, as a commenter on TalkLeft notes, is that although she worked at Palm Gardens from 1993-1997, Iyer apparently didn't come forward with her testimony until August of 2003. And why is she the only caretaker to say this?

Whether or not Michael Schiavo is the murderous asshole Malkin and the right claim he is, it doesn't change the fact that Terri Schiavo is, tragically, no more. Most of her brain has atrophied and been replaced with cerebrospinal fluid. Overwhelming medical opinion and the Florida courts agree that Ms. Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state.

But even that's not the overall point, although it is what's wrong with Malkin's column. No, the point of the Terri Schiavo case, the reason I'm expending one iota of energy on what is essentially a private tragedy within a family, is that the Republicans have once again betrayed everything they claim to stand for: small government, the sanctity of marriage, states' rights, privacy.
"It's simply outrageous," said Charles Fried, a law professor at Harvard who served as the solicitor general in the Reagan administration. "It is abusive and disgraceful. Even a senator has an obligation to use his power honestly and not to engage in subterfuge and pretense."

In remarks to reporters yesterday, Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas, said the measures were needed to save Ms. Schiavo from "an act of barbarism," referring to the removal of her feeding tube.

Experts in constitutional law and federal procedure said the Congressional actions were unprecedented.

"I can't think of any parallels," said Laurence H. Tribe, a law professor at Harvard who often supports liberal positions.

"McCarthy, for all his abuses, did not reach out and try to undo the processes of a state court," Professor Tribe said, referring to Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose cold war hearings into communism were widely viewed as Congressional overreaching.

Update: Adam Nagourney via Atrios:
This is a clash between the social conservatives and the process conservatives, and I would count myself a process conservative," said David Davenport of the Hoover Institute, a conservative research organization. "When a case like this has been heard by 19 judges in six courts and it's been appealed to the Supreme Court three times, the process has worked - even if it hasn't given the result that the social conservatives want. For Congress to step in really is a violation of federalism..."

"This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy," [Rep. Christopher] Shays said. "There are going to be repercussions from this vote. There are a number of people who feel that the government is getting involved in their personal lives in a way that scares them."
Wait...the Republicans have been hijacked by social "conservatives"? Why wasn't I alerted?