Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Food For Thought

According to the press, needing to eat food in order to live now qualifies as "life support." Technically, yes, I guess being dependent upon nutrition is "life support" in the most literal semantic definition. However, with that liberal definition, we must acknowledge that every human being on the globe is then "on life support."

Notice the way Fox News further blurs the lines in an article they posted on their home page this morning.

Many More Cases Like Schiavo's

Data suggest thousands are taken off life support each year

Notice how the headline leads us to believe that there are many more cases like Terri's, but the tagline specifies that, like Terri (supposedly) these similar cases are people being taken off of life-support. When in reality, Terri Schiavo is not on life support!

Reading the entire article does nothing to clear up the confusion, but in fact, simply adds more to the deceptive word-smithing of these journalists. I will give the article an "A" for consistency, but a "D-" for accuracy and integrity. The writer uses "life support" as a synonym for people who have feeding tubes.

I am amazed reading this and realizing that it was written in the 21st century by an educated individual in a civilized country. It is reminiscent of the missionaries who used to speak in my Sunday school class as a child who would tell gruesome stories about savages who buried men and women alive because they were too uneducated to recognize a heart beat and would pronounce sleeping people dead simply because their eyes were closed or they hadn't gotten out of bed for a week.

Let's take a look at the article.

The opening two paragraphs say:

Terri Schiavo is not the first person to have a feeding tube removed, although the public may be left with that impression because of intense media attention and her parents' emotional pleas to have the tube reinserted.

But getting an accurate picture of how often this procedure or stopping other forms of life support takes place in the United States is extremely difficult, partly because of privacy concerns.

Notice how the article states as fact that having a feeding tube removed is just one of the many forms of life support? Since when has eating breakfast been defined as "life support?"

By the third paragraph, the transition is complete. The writer (now envisioning his sheep-like readers in a zombie-like state, eyes ablaze with spinning red spirals, both arms raised horizontally in front of them as they march blindly forward, pulling scraps of mummified cloth from their lips so their faint groans can be heard more audibly) now refers to a feeding tube as "life support" throughout the rest of the article.

Amazing. Simply stunning.

Next thing you know, people who need gravity and oxygen in order to function will be declared comatose.

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