Sunday, March 27

Re: Terri Schiavo - On the lack of depth in mass media

I've been meaning to do a post on Terri Schiavo but the media coverage and political debate has been to damn appalling and I've lacked the time to address something so sensationalized as this case properly as it deserves to be addressed. So, I'm just going to post an email I sent out the other day.

On 3/26/05 I wrote the following in response to an email regarding this post:

Thanks for the response. Lots of company this weekend, but I'm glad I can steal a couple minutes for a response.

I'm sort of obsessed with media spin these days, it's absurdity is growing. The last week was almost unbearable with the politics around this woman who has been brain dead for 15 years. I absolutely loathe all political pundants, they've done absolutely nothing for the national debate, they are merely behaving like clowns and turning this into a three ring circus. I'll keep my politics out of it though and stick to saying thank god for Trey Jackson's Jackson Junction, Crooks and Liars blog, Media Matters, and Jon Stewart for getting me thought this week. I was about to post this on my blog.

Jon Stewart nails it:
(5.3mb Quicktime)

When he screams behind the desk, I'm there screaming with him.

From: Original post
Crooks and Liars - Culture of Strife

What's more we can see the actual clips thanks to media matters.
Here's one:
(2mb QuickTime)

Buchanan compared removal of Schiavo's feeding tube to Nazi "crimes against humanity" ... [Media Matters for America]

Stewart has the best and worst job in the world. He's sitting shot gun on a media and political system gone absurd. His only job is to critique the absurdity of these systems, and he need not work at all, the material just falls into his lap. All he need do is simply show the clips and smile, or nod, or frown and we all understand perfectly well what the problem is. But how he keeps from hanging himself, it is only through the widespread support of his fan base, and the same with us in turn. Empathy.

What we're starting to see is an evolving debate as media decentralizes and it cannot happen fast enough. The debate within media has reached a new state of myopia. Polling shows 75% plus citizens agree that this poor lady should be let die and yet we have political pundants and politicians comparing this to nazi concentration camps "crimes against humanity"? We cannot have enough Lisa Reins, Media Matters and the rest of these political bloggers actually going, grabbing clips and dissecting media. We need not even voice our opinions, merely re-contextualizing the material, letting it speak for itself and holding it up for all to see. Its absurdity is enough to enable the real debate not some fake on screen debate and not some polls, but real people speaking about it in length. This is my strongest argument and yet I the only opinion I've stated is that decentralization of the debate cannot happen fast enough.

Broadcast media lacks capacity for widespread human debate and with it the politics which feed on it. The sooner we can decentralize the great debate the better.

On top of the single clip I posted from Media Matters they have just about every news clip imaginable on the case. The Buchanan / Scarborough one is just the first one I stumbled upon. In fact Scarborough's own words are much more sensationalist than Pat Buchanan's. You can check them all out at the following url.

Terri Schiavo case coverage ... [Media Matters for America]

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