News Media and Euthanasia

"The news media . . . often promote death as an answer to the serious problems of grave illness and disability . . . gullibly publishing false assertions of euthanasia advocates without checking the facts.

"A classic example was the episode on 'mercy killing' that aired on '60 Minutes,' a program that led, ironically, to Jack Kevorkian's undoing. Kevorkian videotaped himself as he murdered Thomas Youk, a man with Lou Gehrig's disease [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS]. He then took the tape to '60 Minutes' correspondent Mike Wallace, a vocal pro-euthanasia advocate. "In the '60 Minutes' presentation, Kevorkian . . . tells the newsman that he killed Youk, with permission, to keep him from choking to death on his own saliva. Wallace accepted the excuse without blinking an eye . . . .

"ALS is indeed a devastating disease. Yet proper medical care prevents people with ALS from choking or suffocating. . . . Accurate information was just a phone call away. Yet Wallace, who became famous for his hard-hitting, acerbic interviews, apparently didn't bother to verify Kevorkian's assertions before airing the program."

Source: Wesley J. Smith, from his new book, "Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America"

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