Workspace for the Guild

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Terry Schaivo, Media Commodity

The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town"Terri Schiavo’s life, as distinct from the life of her unsentient organs, ended fifteen years ago. But that did not prevent her from becoming the star of an unusually morbid kind of reality TV show. The show was made possible by two factors. The first was a bitter struggle between Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, who wanted to allow her body to die in accordance with what he said, and what an unbroken series of court decisions has affirmed, was her own expressed wish, and her parents and siblings, who wanted to keep her body alive at all costs. The second factor was a set of video snippets, provided by the Schindler family and broadcast incessantly by the three cable news networks—CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC—which are themselves entangled in a desperate struggle for dominance. Sometimes the snippets are identified by the year of their taping (2001 and 2002); sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are accompanied by inflammatory captions (fighting for her life); sometimes the captions are merely dramatic (schiavo saga)."


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