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Megyn Kelly "News Alert" On Baby Joseph Doesn't Tell Whole Story

Reported by Priscilla - March 22, 2011 -

Fox "News" brought us the media circus surrounding Terri Schiavo and is now a *major part of the right wing, Christian media feeding frenzy surround "Baby Joseph," a Canadian child who is in a persistent vegetative state and is unable to breathe on his own. Medical experts at the Canadian hospital, where this child has received extraordinary and free care thanks to the "socialized" Canadian health care system, decided that the best course of action was to remove the baby's breathing tube in order to let him die naturally. The child's parents refused to comply with the recommendation and the case was taken to a Canadian Court where the court sided with doctors who "told the court a tracheotomy may prolong the baby's life but was futile and would cause the child discomfort." Since then, the case has become a cause celebre with the mostly American "right to life" groups, most notably the radical anti-abortion "Priest for Life" Father Frank Pavone whose ludicrous claim that he "rescued Baby Joseph "under cover of darkness," has been aided and abetted by Fox News which has provided him a platform for his shameless self promotion and lies. The "opinion" side of Fox "News" has, not surprisingly, peddled misrepresentations of the situation (Canadian"death panels" as part of "Obamacare") for political propaganda purposes. And while Megyn Kelly, as an official "news" person, provided a modicum of "fair & balanced" discussion, she validated those who are politicizing the issue and provided no rebuttal to Pavone's fantasy about the "rescue." Yesterday, she provided a "news alert" about how Baby Joseph received a tracheotomy at an American hospital. In a short sound bite, she managed to advance the meme of the heartless Canadian hospital and mention the role of the priests. As usual, context was missing.

The Fox visual was big, throbbing red for "News Alert." One would expect this type of "alert" for something that was happening in Japan or Libya - but no, it was Baby Joseph news. Megyn intoned with intensity: "Out of hospital in St. Louis, we are just getting word that doctors have now finished operating on Baby Joseph...Joseph is a terminally ill child who became the focus of worldwide attention (Thank You Fox News) after a Canadian hospital refused (She emphasized "refused") to let his parents take him home to die the hospital was insisting instead that they consent to letting him die right now at the hospital...After weeks of legal fights He was moved to a US hospital... after some american priests intervened." She referenced how this tracheotomy is what the parents wanted so that he can "live his remaining days at home."

Comment: Such a short sound bit does not allow for the critical context of the reason why medical experts "refused" to allow the parents take the child home. And while Kelly suggested that this operation will enable the child to go home, she didn't say that Baby Joseph is now in intensive care before being moved to a rehab center in Maryland. But there are other things that the "real journalism" of Fox News doesn't cover.

So far, the Fox narrative is that the American health care system would never take a child off of life support. In Texas there is a law that give "hospital ethic boards -- not parents -- the final say on removing life support from children for whom medical care is deemed futile." The law, signed by then TX Governor George Bush states that "once a hospital ethics committee makes its decision, there can be no appeal to the courts or government agencies, only a 10-day period in which the family can try to find another hospital that will agree to provide life support." An American lawyer and college professor who specializes in end of life issue, Thaddeus Pope, says that the kind of hospital transfer done for Baby Joseph, rarely happens. Fox "News" hasn't mentioned, in its extensive coverage of Baby Joseph, that American children have been court ordered off life support (Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here Here ). There were two cases in which the parents objected to the removal of life support. Why wasn't Fox News outraged about this? Why didn't Father Frank Pavone intervene? I report, you decide!

*(Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here).

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