A letter to WorldNetDaily
The following letter was e-mailed to WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah:
March 26, 2005
Dear Mr. Farah:
I see that WorldNetDaily is promoting a March 24 article by news editor Diana Lynne, "The whole Terri Schiavo story," as a "comprehensive analysis" of the Terri Schiavo case and is linking to it from other WorldNetDaily stories about the case, describing it as "background on the 15-year saga."
The claim that Lynne's article is "comprehensive" and "the whole story" is inaccurate because Lynne does not fairly report on all aspects of the Schiavo case. Rather, she reflects the biases of the "extensive archive" of WorldNetDaily stories she apparently relied on to write the article, which have been consistent in their support of the Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, and in their criticism of Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo.
Here are some examples of factual information that is missing from Lynne's article that make it less than comprehensive:
In order to make Lynne's story a more accurate account, WorldNetDaily has two options: It can either add the above-cited facts, among others, so that the article truly provides "the whole story," or it can change only the headline to reflect the fact that the article is not a "comprehensive analysis" of the Schiavo case. Either change, of course, would need to be fully disclosed to readers. As it currently stands, such a biased and incomplete article does not live up to WorldNetDaily's stated promise to be "an exponent of truth and justice, an uncompromising disseminator of news."
I hope you do not disappoint your readers, who deserve nothing less than the full truth from a news organization that is genuinely committed to it.
cc: Diana Lynne, News Editor, WorldNetDaily
Dear Mr. Krepel,
Thank you for your excellent suggestions. I have made edits to the article,
Specifically, I removed the "Nobel nominee" reference to Hammesfahr (I had actually pulled that out early yesterday morning); I added information on the the Christian activist background of the Schindlers' defense team; The Gary McCullough photo was swapped for another and a new reference to McCullough properly identifies him as the family spokesperson; I have added more details about the first two years after Terri's collapse, including Schiavo's efforts to seek treatment in California; and I provided Michael Schiavo's testimony explaining the 1993 untreated urinary tract infection.
We appreciate your readership.
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Dear Ms. Lynne:
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. The items you added to the article do help provide a more balanced view of the case, though it still remains undeniably tilted toward the Schindlers and against Michael Schiavo.
I am curious, though, as to why you have made the decision not to provide any background at all on Dr. William Hammesfahr and Gary McCullough. Dr. Hammesfahr's specious claim to be a "Nobel Prize nominee" has been made regularly by other media outlets, as well as in previous WorldNetDaily stories, so instead of deleting any reference to it, debunking that claim ought to be a function of a "comprehensive" article. Same with Gary McCullough -- his background as a media adviser to a convicted murderer should be told to your readers as well, especially since the article is already heavy on details about the background of Michael Schiavo's supporters.
I appreciate the work you have done on the article, and I believe WorldNetDaily's readers do as well. I hope that you will refine the article further and make it a genuinely balanced piece that truly tells the "whole story" of Terri Schiavo.
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