Hogan's Alley

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Bravery Of Elizabeth Edwards - But Who Are The Critics?

The determination to continue with her and her family's life at full bore is the sanest and healthiest thing Elizabeth Edwards could do in the face of a cancer diagnosis that is not promising of a long life. It is highly unlikely that I would ever vote for her husband, but I admire enormously the couple's intent to live the life they have chosen for whatever time remains to them.

It must be said that each of us must make our own adaptations to such terrible news. No one is entitled to criticize anyone's response, even if they choose to withdraw into the cocoon of family and friends. Criticism is only valid in one instance. That is when a parent refuses sound medical treatment for a child and pursues only non-traditional or even bizarre cures, exposing the child to unnecessary dangers.

Which brings us to the way this story is being covered on the TV networks. Each iteration of the story on the major networks and the cable news channels includes the statement that the Edwards are being criticized for their decision. Where are these critics? Where are their quoted criticisms? They are never provided. The only visible critic of the Edwards would seem to be Katie Couric, whose questioning of the couple on 60 Minutes last night sometimes took a tone more appropriate to child molesters or mafia dons. And that was coming from a woman whose late husband's battle with colon cancer, while she continued her busy career, was the frequent stuff of morning television.

The fact is that there are no serious critics of the Edwards' decision to carry on. What we are again witnessing is the lazy journalism of people focused on trying to inject controversy into every event they report in the belief that it improves their ratings.

It may. Viewers not paying close attention may cluck their tongues and take satisfaction in their belief that they are not so callous as those unnamed critics. For the rest of us, it only reconfirms our view of much of journalism as sloppy, imprecise and venal.

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