Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Media Credit Where It is Due: AP Calls Assisted Suicide--Assisted Suicide

Word engineering has always been intrinsic to the euthanasia movement. Always. Indeed, today mercy killing and euthanasia are synonyms thanks to the euthanasia movement of the late 19th Century. Before that, the term "good death" meant dying peacefully (and naturally) in a state of grace.

These days the word engineering by assisted suicide proponents seeks to make it so that terminally ill people can't really commit suicide, at least if the death is caused by an overdose--and besides, the term is soooo judgmental that people might reject the agenda. So, they have spent much effort courting the media to have the term changed in news stories to the gooey euphemism, "aid in dying."

But apparently the Associated Press didn't bite. From a media blog in The Olympian:

The debate, I'm told, went to the top of the Associated Press' command center back in New York, and the ruling was "assisted suicide." That means member papers, including The Olympian, are likely to follow the line. Aside from the logic of the argument (it is some one asking for assistance in ending their own life) there's the practical matter of time. Any paper with its own term would have to scan AP stories from across the state and edit out the "assisted suicide" name before running them.
I admit to being pleasantly surprised. That won't change the bias in the coverage--sick woman wants to choose time and manner of death, compassionate doctor and loving family supportive, but mean anti-assisted suicide proponents say no (quote after jump), followed by rebuttal from courageous advocate of change. (If I have seen that story once, I have seen it 1000 times!) But at least when the biased stories are written, the proper, descriptive terminology will be used.

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13 Comments:

At July 13, 2008 , Blogger Cindy Sue Causey said...

Get different alerts come across my inbox every day so have been catching this one going on.. Have seen where the proponents are pushing for it to be anything but this.. I think assisted "dying" was the one I've been seeing the most recently.. Can remember burring up at it when I saw it the other day.. :grin:

Oy, goodness.. If they want it and feel it is so legal, what does it matter..? Yeah, but then again.. Image.. Mental image.. Likely even for themselves..

Cyber hugs from North Georgia.. :)

 
At August 01, 2008 , Blogger Okakura said...

Call it "suicide" if you wish, but to not make any distinction between a heartbroken teen who jumps off a bridge to her death with a terminally ill person wishing to intentionally shorten his intractable pain in the last weeks of life is painting with an incredibly wide moral brush.

If you see both acts as morally equal, I'd like to hear a non-theological explanation for this.

 
At August 01, 2008 , Blogger Wesley J. Smith said...

okakura: First, things should be called what they are, particularly when it is this important.

Second, your premise about what assisted suicide is really all about is demonstrably false as I have shown repeatedly in books, articles, and on this blog.

 
At August 01, 2008 , Blogger Okakura said...

This post has been removed by the author.

 
At August 01, 2008 , Blogger Okakura said...

I didn't realize that I had revealed any "premise" or opinion on PAS. All I did was ask the question whether the word "suicide" was equally descriptive of the two hypothetical scenarios above. I didn't hear in your reply what these two cases have in common morally? I did hear (and agree with you) that words are important. If you want to label both cases "suicides," fine; I'm merely asking you to explain why. By the way, even if you were to concede that a term like "self-directed dying" was a more apt description than suicide in certain scenarios, that still wouldn't compel you to think that such an act was moral or that it should ever be legalized.
You may think that proposing a change in terminology constitutes a Trojan Horse to desensitize folks to the reality. But of course that argument works the same in reverse; insisting on old terms & categories for complex situations and decisions is a coercive attempt to manipulate emotions and suspend analysis.

For the record, I have studied Oregon's Death With Dignity act in depth for many years. One opinion I will give in this forum is that both proponents of PAS's safety and anti-abuse safeguards AND the doomsayers who predicted hoards of euthanasia-seeking emmigrants, an inevitable slide toward non-voluntary PAS, and the targeting of poor and vulnerable populations -- have both been proven largely wrong by the data to date. Regretably, this data has done little to disuade either camp from continually 'ramping up' the rhetoric, both pro and con.

IMO, the most interesting aspect of PAS legislation in Oregon is how widely it is supported by the public (passed two referendums and still flies high in regular polls) AND yet how few terminally ill Oregonians actually use it. I have a theory on this but will save it for another time - this post is already too long.

 
At August 03, 2008 , Blogger Okakura said...

Wesley: I sincerely mean this. You should really consider volunteering in patient care at a hospice facility. I think the experience would compel you to reconsider some of your beliefs. At worst, it would provide a firsthand comfirmation of your current beliefs and could therefore be the basis of a very interesting book. You can't lose either way :)

Though you and I will probably differ 95% of the time, I have read enough of your work (and blog posts) to sense that you are compassionate. Dying is a lonely time for many people, especially for those without family and friends. I hope you will consider it.

 
At August 03, 2008 , Blogger Wesley J. Smith said...

Okakura: Re volunteering: I have and I do--for years.

 
At August 05, 2008 , Blogger Okakura said...

At hospice? That's great. Have you written about your experiences?

 
At August 05, 2008 , Blogger Wesley J. Smith said...

At hospice and otherwise. I am reluctant to talk about it because it was and is a private matter of doing my human duty. I have written a bit on my hospice experiences, and have a pro hospice talk I give that gets into it.

But otherwise, I keep it pretty private.

 
At August 05, 2008 , Blogger Cindy Sue Causey said...

Same here.. Did a pilot project down in Atlanta.. Outside of drawing on my experiences during a couple of hearings or something similar, haven't been able to talk about it yet without the tears welling up..

Too painful in that that and worse is occurring across a Nation that has the resources to do better..

The Human Rights violations in and of themselves.. Hm.. And this place was nowhere near the worser ones that cross these Fingertips on regular occasion..

All we can do is the best we can every waking moment to empower the vulnerable against those who see no Evil in violating their Rights..

What a World, what a World, what a World..

{{{ Wesley }}} :)

 
At August 05, 2008 , Blogger Okakura said...

CSC: What have you witnessed within hospice that has you so upset? Every hospice facility I've worked with is precisely about ministering to the needs of the vulnerable.

 
At August 05, 2008 , Blogger Cindy Sue Causey said...

Hi..

Thank you so much for your concern, but disclosures of that nature are best left to Federal investigations..

Best wishes.. :)

 
At August 06, 2008 , Blogger Okakura said...

Would think that nobody would be so coy about revealing where such abuses are occuring, especially since the lives of vulnerable patients allegedly hang in the balance.
And, yes, I am concerned with those who would slander any hospice organization without merit (I.e. on purely ideological grounds).

 

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