Our long national media nightmare is over

Our long national media nightmare is over

Now back to our regularly scheduled media nightmares: Terri Schiavo dies, market for pictures of praying children plummets

Terri Schiavo expired this morning; now commences the last great convulsion in the drama: the "last days" stories about her family and legal team, the fatuous ethics essays rehearsing the vital life-and-death issues involved, the sundry experts talking about how to grieve properly for people you have never met but have gotten to know through media feeding tubes (joke--I hope), and, just maybe, a timorous suggestion or two that perhaps the media overdid the Schiavo story.

Yeah, maybe. The media's Schiavo blitz has been nothing short of obscene. As "news," it had nothing new to tell us about end-of-life ethical quandaries; it was a sad, tabloid-ish spectacle from start to finish, a story manufactured through a religious right PR blitz and subsequently boosted onto front pages by the efforts and political needs of the Bush family, in Jeb's Florida where the story originated and in Washington where Brother W is laboring to divert public attention from his unpopular Social Security overhaul, the deepening mess in Iraq, and other assorted public relations problems. (Another factor in the very political calculus surrounding this "story": Unpopular as the Bush GOP's stand on the Schiavo case has proven, Karl Rove et al. are banking on the probably correct assumption that the Christian right will remember their gesture and everyone else will forget.)

All brought to you, sized to order, by your free press. Glorious.

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