This week marks the anniversary of two notable deaths: Terri Schiavo on March 31, and Pope John Paul II on April 2. Their passing led to oceans of coverage by the national media seeking typically not to report the stories but to explain it all to us. And, as usual when it comes to matters of faith, they got it wrong.
The liberal media, like many on the left, are heavily invested in what the late pope referred to as the "culture of death." From the promotion of abortion on demand to pointing out the supposed benevolence of euthanasia, the Schiavo case and the pope's impending death gave them ample opportunities to advance their agenda.
And they did not disappoint, using their preferred tool of choice, polling. Today, rather than reflecting popular opinion, most polls merely measure the effectiveness of media propaganda, as demonstrated by an ABC poll widely touted last year which said that 63 percent of those polled supported the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube.
The wording of the poll reflected the media's reportage that was inaccurate at best and downright false at worst. It began, "Schiavo suffered brain damage and has been on life support for 15 years. Doctors say she has no consciousness and her condition is irreversible."
The term "life support" conjures up images of all sorts of machinery necessary to keep a dying person alive, as opposed to reality, which was that Mrs. Schiavo had a feeding tube inserted three times a day providing that which keeps us all alive.
In truth, she was a brain-disabled individual with an otherwise healthy body who had no terminal illness or condition. In an honest media, the second sentence would have begun, "Some doctors," as there were at least 33 sworn affidavits on file by medical personnel who severely disagreed with the diagnosis cited by ABC.
Yet, in the face of their polling that suggested the majority of Americans favored the removal of her feeding tube, many leftists opined that congressional Republicans were using Terri Schiavo for political gain when they acted to try to save her life. How to justify these conflicting views? The media's answer of course is that they acted to mollify the "religious right"; but did they?
Liberals ginning up for the upcoming elections tout their opposition to the bills passed in the House and Senate which ordered federal courts to conduct de novo hearings in the Schiavo case. In fact, only 58 Democrats voted against the legislation in the House, while in the Senate, not one Democrat had the guts to vote against the bill as it was passed by a "voice vote," in which the names or numbers of Senators voting on each side are not recorded.
In trying to stop her state-ordered execution, the actions of Congress in the Schiavo case demonstrate that our politicians know that it is not only the religious right but the majority of Americans who take matters of life, death, and faith seriously. Sadly, our media are far behind in that regard.
Likewise, the death of Pope John Paul II was confusing to the media. While lauding most of his papacy, the liberal press looked hungrily forward to his successor, sure that the Catholic Church would soon be in the hands of a more "modern" shepherd.
The press in general, and the New York Times particularly, canvassed the nation in search of what are referred to as cafeteria Catholics to denounce the moral teachings of the Church as misbegotten, misogynistic, and medieval. They succeeded in one spectacularly biased story where they found all of seven Catholics who "find a way to stay in their faith by adhering to values most important to them and quietly ignoring those they disagree with."
To augment the arguments of the sometime faithful, opinion pieces by theological scholars and rogue clerics filled the pages of liberal newspapers with titles like, "John Paul's years of unfulfilled potential," "A Divider, Not a Uniter: the Legacy of Pope John Paul II" and "No Praise for Pope from AIDS Campaigners," which suggested that it is the Church, and not rampant homosexual and promiscuous sexual behavior, which is responsible for AIDS.
Usually thrilled by the great pomp and spectacle presented by all things Vatican but contemptuous of its message, the press seemed bewildered by the hundreds of thousands of young Europeans who gathered in St. Peter's Square to honor him. They were especially stunned when, in dozens of interviews, only a handful of the faithful there agreed with their desire for a new pope more in tune with modern mores.
One year later, the papacy of Benedict XVI has resulted in U.S. bishops fighting back in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California against liberal attempts to force Church institutions to provide the morning-after pill and arrange same-sex adoptions. Meanwhile, Minnesota is debating a bill that would require food and water for dying patients, and other states have passed laws severely restricting abortion on demand.
With two new Supreme Court justices on the bench, these measures just might stand a chance of chipping away at the culture of death and restoring to America the idea that every life is precious; from he who wears the shoes of the fisherman, to an ordinary Florida woman.