Monday, March 21, 2005

Push Polling and the Rush to Murder Terri Schiavo

As Captain's Quarters reports, ABC News has gone to the extraordinary length of conducting a blatant push poll to drum up support for killing Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who was brain damaged 15 years ago, and whose current condition some doctors describe as a "persistent vegetative state". Captain Ed reprints one of the questions asked by ABC which incorrectly states that Schiavo has been "on life support". Here's one of the other questions:
Do you think the political leaders who are trying to keep Schiavo alive are more concerned about (her and the principles involved), or more concerned about (using her case for political advantage)?
Strangely, this question is not followed up with what would seem to be an equally appropriate and obvious question, 'are those politicians seeking her death doing so for political advantage or ideology?'.

Certainly, few reasonable people would argue that ABC News is above push-polling, but this one is so raw and unmistakable that one wonders why they would go to such lengths to have this helpless woman killed. It's been fifteen years, why the sudden urgency to waste her? At best, this poll was written by incompetents. At worst, it's a deliberate attempt to influence public opinion using clumsily slanted polling questions.

Video of Schiavo shows a woman who does not display the characteristics of what most people consider a "persistent vegetative state". She appears to look at people, to react to touching, to smile. Teddy Kennedy sometimes seems less aware of his surroundings than does Schiavo. Of course, Teddy could probably survive for six or eight months without feeding.

Oddly, ABC's writers for Boston Legal aren't on the same page. Ironically, the main subplot of last night's episode was about efforts to halt an execution in Texas.