Rachel Aviv’s “What Does it Mean to Die?” profiles Jahi McMath, outlining this resilient and courageous young girl’s situation in much of its depth, conveying the complex nature of Jahi’s medical and legal situation as it relates to the neurological criterion for death (“brain death”) and many medical, bioethical, philosophical, and religious dimensions of the issue of human life. Unfortunately, in this same piece the New Yorker presents editorialized speculation and hearsay on Terri Schiavo as if it were objective news. Worse, after nearly two weeks of appeals, the New Yorker’s “fact checking” staff and editors refused any correction.

The New Yorker editorializes that footage of Terri Schiavo appearing conscious and aware “had been edited, giving the illusion that she was tracking people with her eyes, even though she was blind”.

These “fact free” assertions dramatically misleads readers about the nature of the early 2000s Terri-related footage. A much more objective and medically sound characterization in the form of a correction was proposed to the New Yorker but rejected: “Short video footage of Dr. Ronald Cranford’s neurological examination of Terri Schiavo on behalf of her husband, Michael Schiavo, remains controversial, due to the uncertain nature of her visual and cognitive abilities”. CONTINUE

* * *