The Powers That Blog

While we keep track of politics at a certain level, this is not a poliblog, nor a warblog. Maybe "eclectiblog" is a good description, as we note thoughts on topics from art to parenting to whatever comes to mind.

Friday, February 17, 2006

More Collusion Among Terri's Killers

The North Country Gazette has an article concerning Arthur Caplan, one of the people who strove to have Terri killed. Apparently, Caplan was a little more than just an unbiased source of information for the St. Petersburg Times. Turns out he was also a board member. Just the latest I hear about an unending series of illicit liaisons and conflicts of interest among the folks who worked so hard to murder this disabled young woman. Below are some excerpts:

Arthur Caplan was one of the perpetrators and advancers of the mainstream media bias in the Schaivo case, spewing forth erroneous information and tainting public opinion against Terri--her right to live, her will to live.

When Pope John Paul II said that even people in a vegetative state have a right to food and water and it is morally wrong to deny them a feeding tube, the St. Petersburg Times immediately ran to Caplan for his comments. Over and over the St. Petersburg Times drilled into the public that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and Caplan did his best to downplay the Pope's comments lest somehow they might sway public opinion to favor Terri's right to live...

...But then there's the rest of the story. What the St. Petersburg Times and Caplan didn't disclose is that Caplan is a member of the advisory board of the Poynter Institute of St. Petersburg, owner of the St. Petersburg Times.

Perhaps that's why the Times coverage of the Schiavo case was so one sided---Caplan sided.

Ethics? Mr. Caplan wants to talk about ethics? How about journalistic ethics? The St. Petersburg Times never disclosed that one of their most quoted "experts" in the Schiavo was in fact a member of their own board and an advocate for Michael Schiavo.

Caplan is a member of Poynter's National Advisory Board. According to Poynter, "members of the board help guide the work of the Institute by reviewing and giving reaction to its programs and plans, and through analysis of important developments and issues in journalism…." Yeah, like swaying public opinion.

The Poynter Institute claims to "promote excellence and integrity in the practice of craft….it stands for a journalism that informs citizens and enlightens public discourse". In the Schiavo case, it shamelessly advocated the right to die movement, promoted and glorified euthanasia and used one of its own to do it, fraudulently trying to pass Caplan off as just a source, never mentioning he was a board member. Independent journalism in the public interest? Hardly. Strongly biased, one-sided journalism in the Caplan, Felos, Schiavo interest of killing a disabled woman.

As Caplan was promoting Terri's death, Blogs for Terri were trying to place a paid ad in the St. Petersburg Times to dispel the numerous inaccuracies and misconceptions about the case that the St. Petersburg Times and other media had been promoting. But the newspaper refused to accept the ad, instead engaging in censorship and asking Blogs for Terri to edit the ad before they would agree to print it.

At the time the group was trying to place their ad, they mentioned a rumor that the Times was preparing to publish an anti-Terri editorial but the Times reportedly denied that there was any collusion between their advertising and news departments.

And the Times did publish an anti-Terri editorial, calling the Schiavo case a family tragedy that had turned into a public circus. The Times editorialized that Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature should "stay out of it". With words that were strikingly similar to Caplan's commentary for MSNBC, the Times said that Bush and the Legislature "have no business acting as obstructionists again in a controversy that needs to come to a conclusion". While Caplan's commentary had been titled "The Time Has Come To Let Terri Schiavo Die', the Times' editorial was headlined "Let Schiavo case come to a close".

As one observer opined at the time, "the editorial assumes, of course, that the Times, with its power-of-the press, should have something to say about Terri's future". Of course the Times forgot to disclose its' connection with Caplan. "I believe Blogs for Terri was correct in publicizing the editorial bias of the St. Petersburg Times who seem so focused on people's right to die that they forgot we should have an equal right to live".

HT: Blogs For Terri

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