Schiavo Shocker — No Evidence of Criminal Activity

Wow, this was a big shock — an investigation by Florida’s state attorney finds absolutely no evidence that Terri Schiavo’s collapse 15 years ago was the result of criminal activity.

But wait a gosh darn minute here. Sean Hannity insisted that it was, and who are we going to believe, some state’s attorney and a bunch of doctors or the esteemed Mr. Hannity?

Presumably, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and State Attorney Bernie McCabe are now part of the cover-up of what really happened to Terri Schiavo.

Typical Sean Hannity Behavior — Coaches Guests During Commercial Breaks

According to The New York Daily News, comedian Harry Shearer played an audiotape on his Le Show (which is available via podcast format) of Sean Hannity up to his usual tricks on Hannity & Colmes.

On March 31, Hannity & Colmes featured two women who had formerly worked as nurses taking care of Terri Schiavo. Both of the women claimed that Schiavo was not in a persistent vegetative state and made the absurd claim that Schiavo said things like, “Help me, mother.” When Hannity pointed out that the judge said they weren’t credible, the nurses launched into the patented right-wing attack on Judge Greer.

Anyway, Shearer played a tape of Hannity talking to the two women during commercial breaks. According to the Daily News (emphasis added),

Between commercials, according to an off-air audiotape obtained by investigative comedian Harry Shearer for last Sunday’s episode of his weekly radio program, “Le Show,” Hannity coached the women on exactly how to respond when liberal co-host Alan Colmes cross-examined them.

“Just say, ‘I’m here to tell what I saw,'” Hannity can be heard instructing his guests. “No matter what the question, ‘I’m here to tell you what I saw. I’m here to tell you what I saw.'”

Hannity adds helpfully: “Say, ‘I’m not going to be distracted by silliness.’ How’s that? Does that help you? Look into that camera. Look at me when I’m talking.”

On the air, Iyer performs beautifully. “I don’t have any opinions or judgments. I was there,” she declares

After the segment ends, Hannity gushes off the air to the nurses: “We got the points out. It’s hard, this isn’t easy. But you did great, both of you. Thank you, guys. Those nurses are powerful, aren’t they?”

On his radio show, Shearer injected: “Yeah, especially when they do what you tell ’em to do. Very powerful when they follow instructions from the host!”

Gee, why didn’t Hannity just hand Iyer a script beforehand?


Fox News host: Repeat after me. The New York Daily News, April 15, 2005.

More Lies From Powerline on Schiavo

As I noted a couple weeks ago, Powerline helped spread the nonsensical claim that Terri Schiavo had never been given the sort of tests that people would normally be given to determine if they were in a persistent vegetative state. Now, Powerline’s John Hinderaker is simply lying about what his blog said about the controversial Terri Schiavo memo.

This was a memo that the Washington Post obtained that were talking points put out by the Republican leadership about the Schiavo case. Among other things, the memo said that being out front and center on the Schiaveo issue would have political benefits.

After the Post story appeared, Powerline questioned the memo’s authenticity. In fact they said it was a fake. Hinderaker wants to deny that now. He says here (emphasis added),

We were “wrong” in the sense that we laid out the evidence and said that based on the available evidence, we thought that the memo was a fake. We did not report as a fact that the memo was a fake, and we did not purport to have any information that was not publicly available.

That’s a lie. Powerline’s Scott Johnson made a post that can be read here about a Washington Times story that was titled, “Was the Schiavo memo a fake?” The title of the Powerline post was clearly a response to that question and reads:


I guess if you just ignore the post where they came out and said the memo was a fake, then maybe they didn’t really say the memo as a fake. Maybe it depends on the definition of “answer”. . .

At this point I actually have more trust in Daily Kos than I do in the folks at Powerline (i.e., next to nothing)

Powerline Still Sucks

Take it from Powerline’s John Hinderaker — video never lies,

Predictably, mainstream news outlets are trying to defuse the video’s impact. Like this Reuters report: “Schiavo Videotape Misleading, Experts Say”:

Studies of people whose cerebral cortices are damaged in the way Schiavo’s is show that their eyes will respond to stimuli such as movement or a human face, but there is no way for them to be conscious of what they are seeing.

Have you ever noticed how much faith liberals have in “studies”? And I believe it is undisputed that Terri Schiavo has never been given the tests normally used to diagnose a persistent vegetative state, apparently because her husband refuses to allow them.

There may have been a time in my life when I had more faith in experts and studies than in my own eyes. But that was a long time ago.

Who you going to believe — a few second snippet pulled from who knows how many hours of video or experts trained in diagnosing medical conditions such as PVS?

Clearly, the video.

And note that Hindraker is simply wrong about his claim that Terri Schiavo has not “been given the tests normally used to diagnose a persistent vegetative state.” She’s had CT, EEG and CAT scans and all of the usual tests to determine if someone is in a persistent vegetative state. Hindraker’s shot at Michael Schiavo is especially absurd — surely even an idiot like Hindraker has to know that court appointed doctors have performed tests to determine if Terri is in a PVS. It’s not like Michael would be able to step in and say, sorry, I won’t authorize that test Your Honor!

Presumably Hindraker and Powerline might care about the facts if this involved a questionable memo about Bush’s National Guard Service — otherwise, damn the facts and full insinuation and ignorance ahead!

Terri Schiavo Is Not Brain Dead

If you’re going to write about something, you should take a minimal amount of time to get the facts right and avoid embarassing yourself. Dave Winer makes the bizarre claim that

Re Terry Shiavo [sic], the woman whose brain is dead, Congress and the President should not have gotten involved. They made a mistake.

Schiavo is definitely not brain dead. Rather she is in a persistent vegetative state. Schiavo suffered apparently severe brain damage, but her brain is currently functioning although not normally.

If you’re brain dead, you’re just plain dead — no one recovers from brain death. People do, rarely, recover from being in a persistent vegetative state, which is why Schiavo’s parents still hold out hope for her.

Regardless of your opinion on whether or not Schiavo should have her feeding tube removed (and I favor letting the state court decisions stand), it doesn’t help to spread misinformation like claiming Schiavo is actually brain dead.