Sunday, April 03, 2005


What The So-Called "Liberal" Media Won't Tell You About Barbara Weller

Remember Barbara Weller? She's one of the lawyers for the Schindlers, Terri Schiavo's parents. And Dr. William Cheshire? He's the Mayo Clinic neurologist the Schindlers hired. He sat at her bedside for about an hour, but did no tests or examinations, and has not admitted to seeing the CT scans done of her head in 1996 and 2000. Both of these people tried to claim that Terri Schiavo was capable of coherent, intelligent actions when they saw her. But, as Bob Somerby points out, these people are not exactly unbiased witnesses. Somerby notes that Dr. Cheshire's religious beliefs and how they affect his practice of medicine have been covered by the New York Times and the Washington Post. But neither paper dared mention Barbara Weller's religious beliefs, much less how they affected her work for the Schindlers -- and Weller was involved with the Schiavo case for far longer than Dr. Cheshire, who was called in only about a week before Terri Schiavo's body followed where her cerebral cortex went fifteen years ago. Here's some of what the national media chose not to mention last week about Barbara Weller:

But just who is this Barbara Weller, simply described by the Times as a lawyer? She’s a lawyer for the Christian Law Association, a point Times readers might have wanted to know as they read her miracle declarations. Long before Weller got involved in the Schiavo case, the Hartford Courant’s David Renner described her conduct elsewhere:
RENNER (7/5/92): They met on Independence Day, but people who are unhappy with the liberal positions of the United Church of Christ said they were not ready to declare their own independence—yet. They were urged Saturday to stay within the 1.6 million-member denomination to fight to change such policies as the church's stand in favor of abortion rights and its taking affirmative action to place gay and lesbian ministers in church positions.
"It is God against the devil," said Barbara Weller, a founder of the Biblical Witness Fellowship, a conservative caucus within the church. She said that the devil appears to have the upper hand, thwarting conservative Christians at every level. In 1992, Weller thought the devil had gained the upper hand because Christian conservatives were being thwarted. Now, she said Terri Schiavo was trying to verbalize pre-canned thoughts—and the New York Times printed it straight. What exactly should the Times do about a source like Weller? That’s a tough call, but it’s perfectly clear that the paper-of-record went out of its way to avoid “ridiculing” her religious views, which are in fact “out of the mainstream.” For the record, the Washington Post took the same tack with Weller and her miracle declarations. They also reported Weller’s claim straight. To the Post, Weller was a “lawyer,” plain and simple. There was no reference to her religion. Simply put, there was nothing to mock.
Go read the whole thing. And read Dan Kennedy's piece on Barbara Weller -- and the wingnut comments it inspired.

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