Thursday, March 31, 2005

THE END. At long last, Terri Schiavo has died. I've got a piece in the new Phoenix on how the media-and-political circus surrounding this case may have placed Michael Schiavo's life in danger for many years to come.

Taking the opposite view is the great Nat Hentoff, writing in this week's Village Voice. Obviously I think he's wrong, but this is well worth reading.

TINA GETS IT. It's odd enough that I find myself nodding in agreement with everything Tina Brown says (well, not the bit about Nancy Grace's nostrils) that I've got to share this with you:

The current mania for any story with a religious angle is just the latest index of the post-election angst in executive suites about the terror of being out of touch with suburban mega-churches and other manifestations of the supposed Real America. God forbid, so to speak, that anyone should stand up and suggest that Mozart might be as worthwhile as NASCAR, or that it might be as important for the soul to read Philip Roth as the hokey bromides of "The Purpose Driven Life."

Bring back the cultural elite!


Anonymous said...

Hentoff has been a lying hack for a long time. Remember his support of Clarence Thomas. and his recent defense of the head swift-boat liar John O'Neill after O'Neill had lied repeatedly during a Nightline appearence. (Those lies had already been documented online.)

Anonymous said...

How do you bring back something (someone) who never left? Guess Hentoff's not a Friend of Bill...

Anonymous said...

There has to be a way for the MSM to take people of faith seriously without pandering to NASCAR Nation (The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams being a particularly odious example.)

Anonymous said...

Congrats are due to Hentoff, he's written the dumbest thing I've seen on the whole Schiavo mess.

"Among many other violations of her due process rights, Terri Schiavo has never been allowed by the primary judge in her case—Florida Circuit Judge George Greer, whose conclusions have been robotically upheld by all the courts above him—to have her own lawyer represent her."

Please tell us Nat, how was she supposed to pick a lawyer? Ouji board?

Anonymous said...

A couple pieces of context worth adding to Dan's thoughtful Phoenix piece on Schiavo:

The Republican Right and fundamentalist extremists disrupted and endangered more lives --and to a greater degree-- than Dan mentions.

For one thing, there were surely other families who happened to have kin at the same hospice as Terri Schiavo. Imagine their ordeal of having to grieve and/or care for loved ones when freakish protesters, police cordons and the media turned the area into a circus; imagine if some loony took up the offer for reward money to kill Michael Schiavo and ended up hurting these people too.

And just how many hate-obsessed wing-nuts were whipping themselves up into a frenzy over this? Members of the same extremist militias who nourished terrorist Tim McVeigh had contacted the Schindlers' lawyer with an offer to bring 1,500-2,000 militia members to kidnap Terri Schiavo from the hospice. The lawyer wisely reported them to the FBI who interceded with militia leaders in several states.

Then, of course, there are the psycologically abused children of the fundamentalists whose parents forced them to carry cups of water to the hospice door so they would get arrested on camera. These parents ought to be investigated by the Florida DCS for child abuse; imagine if some violent wacko tried something while these kids were being forced to stand outside the hospice --some innocent children could have been seriously hurt or even killed.

These people have zero respect for human life or the rule of law. They are the closest thing this country has ever seen to an American version of the Taliban.

Nelson, Roslindale

Anonymous said...

re your "thoughtful piece in the Phoenix"

You never really address your own culpability, Dan. I really expected more of you.

As I said over at DCMediaGirl:


You could argue that I should have known more before I started blogging on this subject. But I was struck by how simple it was to ascertain the truth once I started looking in the right places — and thinking logically about what was happening.

He still lets himself off pretty lightly. I expect more from DanK than I do from the MSM. If Dan was so easily taken in, how could we have expected cable news to have done anything other than what it did? Dan knee-jerked, and whiffed badly on this one. Now he’s trying to call "Balk." Sorry, Dan gets a K on this one.
The problem, IMO, is that DanKennedy, who should know better, accepted, without question, the natterings of Frist, Scarborough, when there was already plenty of contradictory information that Dan never bothered to look for. He never questioned, the journalist’s first task. Dan opined, insteead of acting like the journalist he usually is. Or the journalist I thought he was.


It will be interesting to watch Greater Boston tonight and hear what you say.

Dan Kennedy said...

Hey, /b -

I went over to read your comments at DCMediaGirl, and here's what I found. You first dumped on me for failing to acknowledge that I had changed my mind. Then, when someone else pointed out that there was a "Page 2" you had missed, you said, "My bad," and started to backfill. Nice!

I acknowledge being taken in by Barbara Weller and Bill Frist. Scarborough? Where did you get that?

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the response.

IMO, it doesn't really make any difference where you first saw the video; you took it at face value, and wrote "Terri is not in a persistent vegetative state." You, a paid journalist, did not check the easily available facts. In your piece, An American Fatwa, you state "And, of course, it can be difficult for the public to parse the truth if the media decline to help. "

Then, in perfect MSM-ese, you state "You could argue that I should have known more before I started blogging on this subject. But I was struck by how simple it was to ascertain the truth once I started looking in the right places — and thinking logically about what was happening. To believe the likes of Hammesfahr, Weller, and Frist is to believe in the monstrous conspiracy of a homicidal husband, a heartless judge, and a judiciary and a medical system that value death over life. How is this possible?" [Yes, mistakes were made.]

Well, yes, that's what I'm saying. You should have known more before you started blogging about it. I expect more from you (and I don't think I'm the only one), writing Media Log in the Boston Phoenix than I do from the mainstream media. But this time, IMO, you didn't deliver.

Didn't get it from Scarborough? OK; I was wrong, and I apologize. An American Fatwa notwithstanding, that's more than you did.

Dan Kennedy said...

To /b:

I didn't ask you to apologize.

To Anonymous:

Yeah, you! Listen, folks. Wishing people dead is the fastest way I can think of to force me to turn comments OFF. Please ... don't wreck it for everyone. What would Anthony G do? ;-)