Seeking 'fair and balanced' coverage

Posted: Monday, October 27, 2003

A Miami Herald editorial and Washington Post news article concerning the Terri Shiavo situation appeared in the Friday, Oct. 24, Juneau Empire. I am somewhat amazed and hungry for "the rest of the story" that my fellow readers should be aware of. Important, basic information was absent amidst numerous paragraphs used to vilify Jeb Bush's recent actions on behalf of Terri Shiavo. There was also adequate page space for extreme opinion expressed by "angered abortion-rights activists."

I have no personal inside scoop on this story, but simply watched a few minutes of CNN this week as they interviewed Terri's immediate family members who pled with Governor Bush for Terri to be returned to life support. They have suspected for many years that her brain-damaged condition is possibly the result of abuse by her husband Michael, who asked that Terri be removed from life support and is portrayed the hero in these articles. Terri's family, after many years, holds onto the hope that she may pull out of her condition enough to reveal what they think may be "the real story" behind her physical state. They suspect the purity of Michael Shiavo's motives in choosing to remove Terri from life support.

Does this tiny morsel of information help us better understand these people who want to sustain Terri's life in near-vegetable condition? Does it perhaps help us understand why Jeb Bush acted with such urgency, even if some may still not agree with his final course of action? I think so.

However, the story our local paper provides is void of these basic elements of the story which provide the true picture of what Jeb Bush is dealing with. Someone chose to omit this information that makes this less a political issue and more one of a family pleading with their governor in an intensely personal and unique situation. This is an example of why so many are hungry for a news source that is fair, balanced - and complete when necessary to be fair and balanced. How many other crucial issues are facing our country here and overseas about which we receive not only a partial picture, but one that dismisses key information that is crucial to discerning what the real issues and stories are?

Randy Beaverson

Auke Bay



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