“Political language,” wrote George Orwell, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” The media’s insistence that Jahi McMath is just a “body” falls into this Orwellian category.
“Hospital releases body of Jahi McMath,” read stories about the thirteen-year-old Oakland girl taken to a New York hospice after doctors at Children’s Hospital Oakland stopped treating her. “Performing medical procedures on the body of a deceased human being is simply not something Children's Hospital can do or ask its staff to assist in doing,” said the hospital’s attorney.
Echoing this line, liberal journalists and commentators, who normally pride themselves on their sensitivity to slights, had no problem referring to the girl as a corpse and her parents as deluded.
If McMath is a corpse, she is a surprisingly active one. Her heart is still beating, something readers will learn from even some of the same stories saying she is dead. And how does this corpse manage to digest food or breathe?