07 October 2007

Nuance is everything

This is not a post about Fred Thompson, this is a post about CNN.

In a story on CNN today:

Still, most say that despite a few gaffes -- such as his statement during a Florida trip that he didn't "remember the details" of the 2005 Terri Schiavo right-to-die case -- Thompson is still a favorite to win over the values voters that dominate the primary.

'Right-to-whatever' carries the implied meaning that the whatever is being applied to whoever is exercising that right. In this case, it seems to imply that Terri Schiavo was exercising her right to die, rather than the actual facts of the case: her 'husband', who was shacked up and had produced two offspring with another woman, pulled the plug on Terri Schiavo despite the protests of people who obviously cared more about her well-being. Can anyone really argue that a man engaged in a long-standing adulterous affair has the best interests of his wife at heart? But CNN refers to this as a 'right-to-die' case, implying that Terri Schiavo herself expressed the wish that she wanted to die and exercised that 'right'. No documentation exists that Terri Schiavo said that she didn't want heroic measures to save her life implemented, and Michael Schiavo didn't bring up that she might not have wanted heroic measures taken until seven years later, after he had won lawsuits due to her condition totaling well over a million dollars. He waited until everyone had been bled dry.

This should be more accurately termed a 'right-to-kill-so-I-can-marry-my-concubine' case. Or if one wants to be more sensitive to a cheating husband, a 'right-to-kill' case. But in no way is Terri Schiavo's death a 'right-to-die' case.

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