In covering Terri Schiavo, Fox News twisted the facts to make her husband the villain. And now that Michael Schiavo has dared to criticize presidential candidate Jeb Bush's meddling in the case, Fox is rushing into Republican rehab mode by, once again, twisting the facts to make her husband the villain.
Sunday, on America's News HQ, Fox's primo anti-gay, anti-choice reporter Shannon Bream provided a very brief summary of the Schiavo case in which Bush "was a key player." She introduced her guest David Gibbs ,the attorney who represented Terri's parents and who is the head of a Christian law organization, National Center for Life and Liberty. Bream reported that Michael Schiavo has recently leveled "pointed criticism" against Jeb Bush. She tossed to Gibbs for the "other side" to Schiavo's allegations.
Gibbs wasted no time in attacking Schiavo. He accused him of being "disingenuous" in trying to say that the government got involved in the case "when he was the one that, in fact, did that." Gibbs, who has accused Schiavo of murder, speculated that Schiavo got involved because he "did not want the responsibility...to end life" because he "knew that he could face murder charges."
Gibbs is misrepresenting the facts. Schiavo got "involved" when he requested to have Terri's feeding tube removed - a request that was granted by a judge and then overturned by another, thus setting the stage for a lengthy court case that involved Terri's parents, who fought Michael every step of the way and both the state and federal government. Gibbs claim that Michael "asked" the courts and the government to make the decisions, because he wasn't able to, is absurd because Schiavo had initially made the decision to remove the feeding tube and when the decision was thwarted, he responded through the court system.
Gibbs then told A GREAT BIG WHOPPING LIE. He said that folks "need to remember" that Terri "was alive, wasn't sick, there was no pain, cancer, Alzheimer's, or heart disease in her body. She just needed food and water to stay alive."
FACT - Terri Schiavo was in a "persistent vegetative state" because brain had atrophied to the point where recovery was not possible. The autopsy showed that "this damage was irreversible" and "no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons."
Gibbs lied when he said that Terri died of dehydration and starvation when, according to medical experts, she died of dehydration. He lied when he said that Michael Schiavo "brought the government in" when, in fact, it was Jeb Bush who filed a court brief "urging that Terri be kept alive." Again, he accused Schiavo of not wanting "to make the tough decisions."
When Bream mentioned that Bush did get involved, Gibbs defended Bush who, according to Gibbs, was just trying to "make sure that fair due process was in place." In keeping with talking points of those who sought to keep Terri alive, he claimed that her death was painful and something we wouldn't do to convicted killers. He asked "how this innocent, disabled woman" wasn't able to get constitutional protection when, indeed, she got the due process afforded to her case via the judicial system.
In what had to be the most absurd statement in the interview, he claimed that Bush and Congress wanted Terri to "have a fair trial" with her rights upheld. He spun Bush's meddling as "compassion" for "vulnerable citizens who can't speak for themselves." He asserted that Bush was only concerned about Terri getting "due process" which, of course, she did. Bream provided validation with her comment that Bush stands by the decision and says "he'd rather err on the side of what he said is life."
Nice to see that the fair & balanced Fox News has Bush's back.
Politico has Michael Schiavo's story here.
18 Things we’ve learned from the Terri Schiavo Case
1) Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, and Tom DeLay are all world-renowned neurologists.
2) 22 successive court battles that all ended in exactly the same way means that there is something wrong with the courts, not the Schindler’s case.
3) Mike is after money, which is why he turned down 1 million dollars and 10 million dollars to sign over guardianship.
4) Congress and the State Legislature of Florida has nothing better to do than pry into the private medical affairs of others.
5) Pulling life support is bad in Florida when authorized by the legal next-of-kin, but pulling life support is good in Texas when they run out of money and the mother pleads not to pull the plug on her baby.
6) Medical diagnoses are best performed by watching highly edited videotape made by Randall Terry, rather than in person by trained physicians.
7) Minimum wage making nursing assistants are more qualified to diagnose a persistent vegetative state than experienced neurologists.
8) Cerebral spinal fluid is a magical potion that can mimic the entire functions of a missing cerebral cortex.
9) 15 years in the same persistent state is not really enough time to make an accurate diagnosis.
10) A feeding tube that infuses yellow nutritional goop is not really “life support”.
11) Jesus was wrong when he said that a man and a woman should leave their parents and cleave only to each other.
12) Marriage is the most sacred of all unions, except when it isn’t.
13) Interfering in a family’s private tragedy is a great reason to cut short a vacation, but getting a memo that warns a known terrorist is determined to strike inside the US is cause to relax and finish up some R&R.
14) Pro-lifers are really compassionate people, which is why they are hoping that Michael Schiavo dies a horrible painful death.
15) The Supreme Court of the United States and the State Supreme Court of Florida mean “Maybe” when they are saying “No”.
16) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a bleeding heart liberal.
17) 7 Supreme Court Justices were appointed by republican presidents, so it’s Clinton’s fault.
18) A judge who makes rulings based on the law is obviously an atheist, liberal, democratic activist even though he is a conservative, republican, Southern Baptist.
It’s easier for Fox to twist the truth after a few years have gone by, when people’s memories fade a bit.