In discussing the Terri Schiavo case, several prominent media conservatives have accused liberals of wanting Schiavo to die and have imputed motives to them far beyond the belief, expressed by many liberals, that the courts were right to allow Schiavo's husband to make end-of-life decisions on behalf of his wife.
Syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh suggested that liberals "want this woman to die because Christian conservatives want her to live," calling it "payback." MSNBC host Joe Scarborough mused aloud about whether liberals "hate George Bush so much that they are cheering for Terri's death only because the president of the United States and his brother are fighting for Terri's life." Wall Street Journal contributing editor Peggy Noonan claimed that the "pull-the-tube people" -- she specifically named CNN Crossfire host James Carville and the website Democratic Underground -- are "committed" to Schiavo's death. Fox News host Bill O'Reilly singled out New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, stating, "I don't know why some of these left-wing columnists want her to die." Bay Buchanan, president of the conservative advocacy group The American Cause and frequent CNN commentator, asserted that the "only reason" that people "want" Schiavo to die is that "they've decided this woman is the property of her husband and he can do what he wants." Buchanan further accused feminists of "treating this woman like she is the property of her husband."
From the March 23 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: A question for those of you who are our friends on the left. Just answer it honestly to yourself: How many of you want Terri Schiavo to die simply because some Christian conservatives want her to live? How many of you have rejoiced when a death row inmate has been saved because of later investigation into DNA? Do you want Terri Schiavo to die because some Christian conservatives want her to live? Is that it?
Could it be -- and I suspect this is the real answer -- could it be that you have been so pent up with rage and frustration over the Christians in this country?
You just hated the success of The Passion of the Christ. You hated the outpouring of support for that movie, you just despise the red-state, hayseed, holy-roller crowd that you think is steamrollering the country.
Maybe this is just payback; you want this woman to die because Christian conservatives want her to live. And, since you don't like Christian conservatives so much you want them to be disappointed. You want them to find out what it's like to be on the losing side.
You want them to find out what it's like to not get away with everything they want just because they're Christians. Is that it? Does it really have nothing to do with Terri Schiavo; does it have solely to do with the fact that you want payback?
From the March 24 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:
SCARBOROUGH: Why is that the same activists who fight to save the whales, the spotted owls, and a snail darter, for God's sake, sit quietly by while the U.S. government helps kill Terri Schiavo? Why do we see the visceral reaction by leftist organizations to the attempts to save Terri Schiavo's life? Do these liberals really hate George Bush so much? And that's all you ever hear about, George Bush. You never hear about Terri Schiavo.
But do they hate George Bush so much that they are cheering for Terri's death only because the president of the United States and his brother are fighting for Terri's life?
From Noonan's March 24 Wall Street Journal column:
I do not understand the emotionalism of the pull-the-tube people. What is driving their engagement? Is it because they are compassionate, and their hearts bleed at the thought that Mrs. Schiavo suffers? But throughout this case no one has testified that she is in persistent pain, as those with terminal cancer are.
Everyone who has written in defense of Mrs. Schiavo's right to live has received e-mail blasts full of attacks that appear to have been dictated by the unstable and typed by the unhinged. On Democratic Underground they crowed about having "kicked the sh-- out of the fascists." On Tuesday James Carville's face was swept with a sneer so convulsive you could see his gums as he damned the Republicans trying to help Mrs. Schiavo. It would have seemed demonic if he weren't a buffoon.
Why are they so committed to this woman's death?
They seem to have fallen half in love with death.
From the March 24 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: Number one, there are a lot of Americans who simply want the woman to die. They just want her to die for a number of different reasons. There are some left-wing newspaper columnists, Maureen Dowd in The New York Times today, Richard Cohen, that despicable weasel down in The Washington Post. Oh, God! He is -- believe me. Anyway, they want her to die. And I'm sayin' to myself -- why? Why do you care whether she lives or dies?
All right, I don't have a dog in the hunt. I don't know why some of these left-wing columnists want her to die. Nobody can explain that to me.
From the March 25 edition of CNN's Inside Politics:
BAY BUCHANAN: This is an issue that -- the polls have been influenced by the press, and the press has suggested that there's two compelling principles here. But there is not. When the facts are out there, there's only one reason that they want this person to die, and that's because they've decided this woman is the property of her husband and he can do what he wants. He is not an honorable person, and that is quite clear if you look at the information. I ask you: where are the feminists? They are treating this woman like she is the property of her husband, that he can just go in and starve her to death because he doesn't like the quality of her life at this stage. ... This judge has basically told her husband, here, take a gun and shoot her. It's the same thing.