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FOX Does Its Best To Convey That Bush Is Not A Hypocrite About Schiavo

Reported by Ellen - March 25, 2005

An article on the FOX News website has a neutral-sounding title but it's actually a blatant piece of propaganda designed to reconcile the disparity in President Bush's actions in the Schiavo case - where he interrupted his vacation in order to fly back to the White House and sign a bill in order to "err on the side of life" - and his actions as governor in Texas when he signed the 1999 law allowing hospitals to remove life support over the objections of a patient's family.

The article on FOXNews.com is called "Bush Criticized for End-of-Life Laws" but it should be called "FOX Defends Bush on End-of-Life Laws."

The report begins innocuously enough with six paragraphs describing the Schiavo case and a recent case in Houston where a six-month-old baby, Sun Hudson, was disconnected from life support over the objections of his mother, Wanda, because of the law signed by Bush.
But in the seventh paragraph, FOX begins its push for Bush by trying to differentiate the two cases.

Using a variation of the classic "some say," made famous in the movie Outfoxed, the paragraph's sole sentence is "But some experts said the two cases are quite different."

First, FOX tells us that the Texas law gives privileges to the family if there is no written directive (just so we know that Bush believes in family values, I suspect). "But ultimately, the decision to extend treatment (notice it's not called "end life," "cut off life support" or "starve to death" the way Schiavo's case is portrayed) is made by the doctors and hospital."

Next, we learn that "'The Schiavo case does not involve [the question of] if medical treatment is inappropriate,' (law professor John) Robertson told FOXNews.com. 'It's just, is it a treatment she would have wanted? It's a case of what the patient would have decided.'" (Oh, really? Then why hasn't Bush or Senator Frist or any of the other "life defenders" come forward with their evidence abo ut what she would have decided?)

FOX immediately follows that by telling us that little Sun Hudson's mother was irrational in her desire for further treatment for her baby.

"Doctors at Texas Children's Hospital unanimously agreed that Sun would never breathe on his own, was in pain and would eventually die from his condition. But Wanda Hudson objected, telling doctors that her baby was a gift from the sun and would not die. 'I was told what to do by Sun,' she told a judge on Feb. 16. 'I don't understand all this legal stuff. But please give Sun time to allow Sun to create Sun.'"

Comment: Obviously, we are supposed to get that Wanda Hudson is not reality based while the Schiavo family argument is a legitimate dispute.

The article goes on to show more of how reasonable and caring the doctors who voted against Sun's treatment were:

"The doctors brought the case before a hospital ethics committee, which sided with them. But because Wanda Hudson disagreed, they were obligated to seek treatment for Sun elsewhere. (No mention that the law gave Wanda Hudson only 10 days to find an alternate facility) Every facility they tried agreed with their prognosis. 'The provision in the statute indicates if doctors think treatment is futile and the relative doesn't want to take the patient off life support, then they can try to make provisions for care in another facility,' Maxine Harrington, an associate professor at the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, told FOXNews.com. "They tried about 40 other facilities, and finally petitioned the court to authorize removal of life support.'"

Then we learn that "while the Schiavo case is different, her battle would have been as protracted in Texas as it has been in Florida."

Comment: "Real journalism, fair and balanced" FOX somehow left out that doctors think treatment is futile for Terri Schiavo, too. If Schiavo's case is really about a dispute over her wishes then why did Bush cut short his vacation (something he refused to do during the tsunami crisis when hundreds of thousands of lives were lost) to intervene in such a narrowly defined dispute? When he said, "In extraordinary circumstances like this, it is always wise to err on the side of life," did he mean only when you don't know what a patient wants? By that logic, it's OK for doctors to remove life support as soon as that patient's desires are determined.

Fox ended the article with this "critique" of Bush's stance: "While Robertson conceded it was probably unfair to label Bush a hypocrite over the Advance Directives Act, the professor added that other contradictions had surfaced this week. Referring to Bush's backing of an unprecedented House maneuver to prolong Schiavo's life on Monday, he said: 'In 1999, as governor, he had more faith in our state court processes than he appeared last week to have in the Schiavo case.'


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