Saturday, December 24, 2005
This is also the same thing that I fought for years... the distortions and lies from the press, tv, etc, including many individuals who simply took the word of those who reported falsely either due to ignorance or prejudice!
Long, but worth reading...............
December 24, 2005
Pamela F. Hennessy
In recent days, major press and media outlets have produced and published their considerations for the top news stories of 2005. According to the Associated Press, a survey of the country's editors and news directors overwhelmingly tapped the story of Hurricane Katrina as the most significant and the most exhaustively reported.
Like most Americans, I watched in profound horror as Katrina annihilated populated areas, brought about the deaths of more than 1,300 innocent people, and set into play a domino effect that would leave portions of the South devastated for months — if not years — to come.
I will not soon forget the almost relentless media coverage of the human tragedy, the faces of terrified people and their wailing children, the images of widespread destruction throughout several states, or the surreal portrait of the Superdome, packed from floor to ceiling with desperation, sorrow, and too few bottles of fresh water.
Doing the public a service
Though the coverage — at times — seemed incessant, the press and the media actually did a very good thing with their treatment of Hurricane Katrina. For, when it was revealed that local, state, and federal agencies may have failed in their initial responses to the disaster, all eyes watching were opened wide to serious problems that plague our emergency response systems. Reporters, editors, and columnists alike gave no quarter to those agencies and reported, with gusto, about their ineptitude.
Because of that glaring exposure (and following a few weeks of compulsory finger-pointing by the involved officials), the public was given a unique insight on an important and extreme problem effecting all of us — the failure of our public agencies to provide us adequate or timely relief in the event of a catastrophe.
Yes, the media did the public a great service by exposing some very valid issues and did so in such a manner that was rather unforgiving towards the failings and trespasses of the responsible parties.
For that, they should be congratulated, and I won't take that from them. I will, however, point out their utter shame in the coverage of another disaster. This one can be easily seen as far smaller than the ghastliness of Katrina, but it is no less relevant to the American public. It is the case of Terri Schiavo.
Mass communication failure
Since before 2002 and, prior to my becoming involved in Terri's case, I watched the media's handling of her story with not just a small amount of dismay. For years, the media reported Terri's condition as "brain-dead," even though no such diagnosis had ever been proffered by examining physicians. They repeatedly referred to her as someone on life support, in a coma, terminally ill, and dying. None of their descriptions had any basis in fact, and they painted a very dismal image for the public to rely upon to form their opinions.
Terri was diagnosed by three of five examining physicians at trial to be in a persistent vegetative state. The media, however, failed to note that one of those doctors chosen by Michael Schiavo (Ronald Cranford) is, by his own admission, a proponent of "death with dignity" and has gone so far as to suggest withholding ordinary care from patients with dementia. The media also failed to disclose that the other physician (again, chosen by Michael Schiavo), James Barnhill, is a business associate of Schiavo's attorney, George Felos. (The pair have given seminars in end-of-life ethics during educational cruises for University at Sea.)
Finally, the court-appointed examining physician, Dr. Peter Bambakidis, is brother to Dr. Gust Bambakidis. Gust serves in the same Greek association (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, or AHEPA) as Schiavo's attorney, George Felos. AHEPA is a national association, but small enough in members that the connection is a bit disquieting.
This information was given to a number of outlets, yet it was only reported in two small online publications. The mainstream media quickly and predictably gave it a pass.
Not surprisingly, the mainstream media also gave a pass to Judge George Greer's ruling of February of 2005, which did not simply allow Michael Schiavo to direct the removal of Terri's assisted food and fluids — it ordered him to do so. Some, including myself, view this as a violation of Terri's privacy, in that the state — the government — forced something upon her body: her death.
Troubling conflicts ignored
The media also fell down in reporting that the removal of enteral nourishment from a non-dying patient was not permitted in Florida until 1999 (and only under certain circumstances). Schiavo filed a petition to remove Terri's feeding tube in 1998. Since Terri suffered her neurological injuries in 1990, it is impossible that she could have legally given informed consent to being dehydrated to death. After supporting documents, which outlined those statutes and retained protections, were given to major press and media outlets, not one reporter bothered to make mention of this particular.
Equally depressing are the reasons for the changed law in 1999. An End of Life Panel was commissioned to advise the Florida legislature on ethics at the end of life. Of that panel, three of George Felos' board-mates at the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast (Mary Labyak, Michael Bell, and Lofty Basta) were members. This suggests a conflict — and occurred just months prior to Felos' (and his client Schiavo's) transferring of Terri Schiavo to the Hospice's house at Woodside in Pinellas Park, Florida, without a terminal diagnosis.
Again, more than 400 news outlets were given hard copies of the End of Life Panel's report to the Florida legislature, Michael Schiavo's 1998 petition to the court, the 1999 amended statute, and Terri Schiavo's Hospice admitting record, yet none tapped out a single word about the apparent conflict.
Not one of the majors asked a single question, did a minute of investigative work, or threw the first hardball inquiry at the involved parties. Instead, they took the posture that Terri Schiavo had been well represented and her husband was a perfectly swell guy for ensuring her "dying" wish.
To be fair, at least one local outlet kept their reporting of the Schiavo matter down the center and objective. Another, in the competing market, has been nothing short of an unpaid public relations agency for Michael Schiavo, insistently skewering those who would support Terri Schiavo's retained rights (under Florida law) to ordinary care. We were made out to be religious freaks and, although a good many religious people demonstrated when Terri's feeding tube was taken away, the sum total of those objecting came from every political, social, and cultural walk there is. A loud voice came from the disabled community, but you likely never heard it. Since sensible people don't sell newspapers, what you saw was sensationalistic and ugly.
Dodging the real issues
Perhaps the most egregious trespass the media committed in Terri's case was the panic-selling of living wills shortly after her death. To be certain, living wills, advanced directives, surrogate or proxy arrangements, and even protective medical declarations are all things that warrant studious and careful consideration. They should not be entered into lightly or as a knee-jerk reaction to an emotionally troubling news story. Those in the written press and in the media who coaxed their audiences into the notion that a living will would have circumvented the drama of the Schiavo case should retire their pens and hang their heads in shame.
I'm looking at you, St. Pete Times.
Though the Schiavo coverage was almost non-stop during the two weeks Terri was made to go without food and fluids, I maintain the opinion that it was poorly researched, badly slanted, and did a tremendous disservice to the viewing public. Even those on her side fell far from dealing with the real issues her case presented. The spider-web of troubles in Terri's case is, as I see it, not just interesting, but important. People should understand what can be done to them without their consent — but instead of treating the story as a public service opportunity, the media handled it like a well-crafted advertisement for the death-with-dignity movement, never once telling you why the case is cause for concern.
My top pick
If I could pick my own top story for 2005, it would be the media's hatchet-job on reporting the Schiavo case — which revealed how millions of Americans were lulled into thinking what they witnessed was ethical, and how the most apparent of things can be buried by irresponsible and arrogant attitudes.
When I look back on this year, I'll certainly remember those who suffered through Hurricane Katrina, the many scandals the government has been caught up in, the devastation from earthquakes around the globe, the soaring petroleum prices, CIA leaks, political infighting, the deaths of Shirley Chisholm and Rosa Parks, and the great sadness and waste that is the Iraq war. For those stories, the media has been thoughtful and deliberate.
Most of all, however, I will remember Terri Schiavo and how the press and the media went to such great lengths to hush the world into believing that what happened to her was — somehow — okay.
Pamela F. Hennessy is a marketing and media executive in Florida and has volunteered for the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation (www.terrisfight.org) since November of 2002.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Oh, sometimes I am so very lucky when I am blog-hopping! Tonight, I was treated to a really enjoyable one at AirForceFamily! For a really well written treat, you have to go here and read about something that I can EASILY relate to as if it had happened to me! (And I have done it in the past, but not with the results that she endured!
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Below is a url that has the three ex terrorists interviewed together on one radio show which was heard by about one million in New Jersey and Philadelphia catchment area. This is very powerful and really exposes the issues for Americans to understand what we face.
Director of Walid Shoebat Foundation
Related Tags: Walid, Walid Shoebat, Former terrorist, Christian, Hitler's Mufti, Princeton, Iran President, Israel
This is the more direct way to the Windows Media Player interviews, if it works:
Listen to The Jersey Guys interview with former terrorists:
This is a raw feed including commercials, news, weather and traffic.
Several Thoughts, Ending with "MUNICH"
Bookworm had three other interesting posts that fit in with others I have blogged on recently
1) This one with a link to Jeff Jacoby's column from Dec 19, 2005 called
Obsessive anti-Semitism . Here, he reminds us that it is not just Israel that Iran and other militant Muslims hate... and it is a warning that we need to heed!
2) Another highlighting an article found here written by Thomas Lifson, editor of The American Thinker in his Dec 20, 2005 article called "The Liberal Bubble". This article is excellent!
3) And finally, here, a review of MUNICH, Steven Spielberg's latest movie. I have heard several movie reviewers give thumbs down to the historical accuracy of his movie, in spite of the fact that he is also Jewish.
I had been going to write something about this the other day, when I heard Andrea Peyser speaking about it with vehemence. Her column is what had brought her to the attention of the Fox News program she was on. There, among other things, she said that he should have stopped with Schindler's List.
In another blog, Brad Miner (CompassPointsBlog) has some strong points about the movie also. He ends with:
"Now if this juxtaposition is meant to suggest–and how can it not?–that Israel’s or America’s policies are the causes of 9/11, then Spielberg really has dived deep into the Michael Moore end of the Hollywood pool.
It’s one thing to have sympathy for the Palestinians’ quest for statehood, but quite another to suggest that Munich or 9/11 were consequences of the failure to achieve it. That’s Islamist propaganda.
That Spielberg would buy into such a view isn’t simply sophomoric; it’s sinful."
The main complaint is that none of the survivors were spoken to when the writing took place, according to some reviews that I have heard and read. And today, many of the movie goers are not even aware of what really happened in the Olympic Games of Munich. I remember it well.
Yale Kramer's article has an excellent review, and suggests more reading material in his column (THE HISTORICAL FACTS YOU WILL NOT LEARN ABOUT IN SPIELBERG'S MOVIE THAT MOTIVATED GOLDA MEIR'S POLICY OF AGGRESSIVE DETERRENCE)
Part of what he goes into is important to know:
The details of the botched rescue attempt and shootout were never revealed to the press at the time but can be seen in a superb documentary film, One Day in September, based on many hours of interviews with those who participated in the events of that day (click here). An excellent book with the same title (click here) but much more detail, written in association with the documentary but independently by Simon Reeve, a British journalist, appeared in the same year, 1999. In it he tells the shameful story of the German cover-up and the true Israeli response to the Munich Massacre. Spielberg, take note.
The insults of that day -- the arrogant, cold-blooded, murderous behavior of the terrorists; the disregard and indifference of the politically powerful Olympic Committee; the rigid, bungling, incompetent German police -- all of these fed the outrage of Golda Meir and her ministers in the weeks afterward while they were formulating a rational policy to deal with Arab terrorism. The first principle was to depend on their own Israeli resources to protect their citizens because no one else seemed to care.
If what happened on September 5, 1972, wasn't enough to force the policy of retaliation, what happened less than two months later made it a virtual certainty.
On the morning of Sunday, October 29, a Lufthansa Boeing 727 on its way to Frankfurt from Beirut was hijacked by two Palestinian terrorists who demanded that the three Black September terrorists who survived the Munich shootout were to be released immediately. If not they would blow up the plane.
Without even informing the Israeli government as a courtesy, the Germans capitulated and told the hijackers that the three men would be ready to be picked up within an hour and a half. According to Chancellor Willy Brandt: "The passengers and crew were threatened with annihilation unless we released the three Palestinian survivors of the [Munich] massacre. Like the Bavarian government, I then saw no alternative but to yield to this ultimatum and avoid further senseless bloodshed."
In the course of the making of the documentary film and writing of the book One Day in September, it was revealed that the hijacking had been set up between Black September and the German government. The Palestinians had threatened the government that they would launch a wave of bombings and hijackings against Lufthansa unless the three Munich terrorist survivors were released. The "hijacking," according to sources in Germany, Israel, and Palestine, was a compromise agreed to by senior officials in the German government. "Yes, I think it's probably true," said Ulrich Wegener, who was an eyewitness to the events at the time and who later became founder of the elite GSG-9 West German counterterrorist unit after the Olympics. "The German government thought they could negotiate with the terrorists and could convince them that they would give them money and something else to get rid of them....But of course it was the wrong way, no question, because when one case is solved in this way other cases will come."
He goes on, and I heartily recommend the entire article be read,
The SAD part of this story versus the movie is that there are enough people out there who do NOT know the story (my age included) that will believe Spielberg's version SOLELY because it is about a true historical event!!! I have blogged before about propaganda in the film and other media, and this is an example of it. He goes on, and I heartily recommend the entire article be read here.