2. Novak: Journalists "Passionately Oppose" Schiavo Intervention
3. NPR Suggests "Consensus" On Right-to-Die Upset by Congress
4. Stephanopoulos Boasts He Talks "Every Day" With James Carville
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer on Thursday night went where ABC's Peter Jennings dare not go: Recognize a good news trend in Iraq and let a reporter talk about how he prays. On Thursday's CBS Evening News, Schieffer highlighted how "this was another fairly quiet day in Iraq: No American casualties reported again. Since January's elections, the rate of U.S. fatalities has fallen dramatically to half what it was during the previous three months." Turning to Byron Pitts in Iraq, Schieffer expressed reticence: "I hate to jinx it by saying this aloud, but all of a sudden there's some pretty good news coming out of there." Pitts noted that no U.S. military commander is yet ready to be "thumping his chest because they're mindful in war there are peaks and valleys." Pitts revealed that "every time we leave this command center, I say a little prayer when we leave. I say one when we get back. Truth be told, I'm praying the whole time we're out there."
Schieffer reported on the March 24 CBS Evening News, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
Members of the Washington press corps are intensely opposed to the decision by Congress to intervene in the Schiavo case, Robert Novak chronicled in his latest column. Novak recounted how he "was engaged during a Saturday night dinner party in debate at a level of intensity I had not seen since the bitter '60s and '70s. My dining companions, mostly mainstream Washington journalists a generation younger than I, were passionately opposed to the congressional intervention." When Novak expressed support for the action by the Congress, "they responded that Republicans in Congress were only interested in politics. I had not engaged in such a heated debate with colleagues since the Vietnam War."
An excerpt from the March 24 column, "The Terri Schiavo passion," by Novak, a regular co-host of CNN's Crossfire, panelist on CNN's Capital Gang and contributor to CNN's Inside Politics:
When the case of Terri Schiavo came to Washington in what appears to be the last stages of that poor woman's life, it evoked passion contrasting with the usual political play-acting in the nation's capital. The intensity aroused by the Republican-controlled Congress trying to intervene was demonstrated in two instances last Saturday.
In Texas, Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards worked hard to find an airline seat from Houston to Washington for the Sunday session of the House to consider the Schiavo affair. Normally a faithful follower of the Democratic line, he supported the Republican bill interposing federal court jurisdiction.
In Washington, I was engaged during a Saturday night dinner party in debate at a level of intensity I had not seen since the bitter '60s and '70s. My dining companions, mostly mainstream Washington journalists a generation younger than I, were passionately opposed to the congressional intervention....
The intensity was brought home to me at the Saturday dinner party. A fellow journalist asked me what I thought about the congressional intervention. When I responded that I approved, several colleagues asked how in the world I, of all people, could approve of federal intervention in local affairs. I told them I did not care about that issue but wondered why they were so anxious to end Terri Schiavo's life. They responded that Republicans in Congress were only interested in politics. I had not engaged in such a heated debate with colleagues since the Vietnam War.
These and other critics of saving Schiavo are in the unusual position of citing rights of her husband (whose common law wife has bore him two children) and even states' rights. On ABC's "This Week" Sunday, moderator (and former Clinton aide) George Stephanopoulos asked: "Isn't this a classic case of states' rights?"
The harsh views expressed in a private social situation Saturday were spelled out openly over CNN Monday morning by the network's resident curmudgeon, veteran television journalist Jack Cafferty: "It's all about politics. It has nothing to do with Terri Schiavo. This is all about the abortion debate and right to life and the right wing of the Republican Party. And it's all cloaked in some, you know, mantra that says, 'Oh, we're worried about this woman's life.' Baloney!"...
END of Excerpt
For Novak's column in full, as posted by TownHall.com: www.townhall.com
The belief that an unelected liberal elite is best equipped to define medical ethics was the primary subtext of a report Thursday on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Meanwhile, much of the report's text concerned the dubious proposition that until the Terri Schiavo matter emerged, the U.S. had gradually achieved a "consensus" on right-to-die issues.
[Tom Johnson, who monitors NPR for the MRC, filed this item for CyberAlert.]
Morning Edition co-host Renee Montagne's introduction referred to "doctors and bio-ethicists who work with dying patients" and to "decisions about the end of life." Given that this piece immediately followed a story on the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the Schindlers' appeal, Montagne seemed to imply that Terri Schiavo was among the dying. (That almost certainly is the case now, but it wasn't true before the court-ordered removal of her feeding tube.)
Reporter Jon Hamilton went to New York's Montefiore Hospital to speak with members of a staff team that tries "to clarify the medical issues so [it] can work with [families] to decide what to do" regarding treatment for severely incapacitated patients. Hamilton, paraphrasing Montefiore bio-ethicist Jeffrey Blustein, described "a process for making ethical decisions that has taken thirty years to develop. It began in the 1970s. A young woman named Karen Ann Quinlan ended up in a vegetative state following a drug overdose. Doctors agreed she would never regain consciousness...Quinlan's family asked the courts for permission to disconnect her breathing machine. The courts agreed that such a step was legal, and since then, many families have made similar agonizing decisions."
(That use of "vegetative state" tends to conflate Schiavo, who breathes on her own, and Quinlan, who, as Hamilton noted, needed a respirator. As for "agonizing decisions," imagine the agony of the Schindlers, who aren't allowed to make a decision.)
Blustein charged that Congress's recent attempt to help Schiavo has "radically undermined" that process. Another Montefiore bio-ethicist, Nancy Dubler -- who contended that "we slowly, as a society, worked to the point where we could hear medical professionals say [that] the appropriate plan of care for this patient is to permit death" -- believes, in Hamilton's words, that this "consensus was first challenged when the Florida legislature passed a special law to keep Terri Schiavo alive, even though the courts had ruled she could die. That law was overturned by the courts, but then Congress got involved." Dubler said she's "quite frankly, horrified" that Congress intervened, and Montefiore neurologist David Kaufman commented dismissively that Congress "really shouldn't be in the business of medicine."
According to Hamilton, Dubler thinks that "the action by Congress could make it harder for doctors and families to carry out a patient's wish to be allowed to die under certain circumstances." Terri Schiavo's wishes remain unknown.
In October 2003, Slate blogger Mickey Kaus found anti-Schiavo bias on NPR. For Kaus' take, see: slate.msn.com
George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's This Week, boasted on Thursday's Imus in the Morning that he talks "every day" with James Carville, his colleague from the 1992 Clinton campaign.
The MRC's Rich Noyes caught this exchange between Don Imus, at his ranch in New Mexico, and Stephanopoulos who appeared by phone during the 7:30am EST half hour of the March 24 program. Jessica Barnes of the MRC corrected the closed-captioning against the MSNBC video:
Don Imus: "Did you ever make up with Bill Clinton after you stuck him in the, stuck a knife in his back with your book?"
One wonders if Stephanopoulos has daily phone conversations with any one single person on the opposite end of the political spectrum?
-- Brent Baker