Letter of the Day: Distorting the story

  • This undated photo provided by the McMath family and Omari Sealey shows Jahi McMath. McMath remains on life support at Children's Hospital Oakland nearly a week after doctors declared her brain dead, following a supposedly routine tonsillectomy. (AP Photo/Courtesy of McMath Family and Omari Sealey)

<b>Distorting the story</b>

EDITOR: Along with the coverage of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old girl now brain dead and sustained by a respirator, are photos showing a smiling, effervescent girl. That's the Jahi who no longer is.

Displaying such pictures is dishonest and non-factual journalism. Such photos elicit sympathy and compassion, but isn't it time to accept that the Jahi of those photos isn't the Jahi of today? Nor will she ever again exist.

It is advocacy, and perhaps irresponsible, journalism if such images aren't balanced by how she looks now. What Jahi is now is the story and the issue about which the hospital and her family disagree. By presenting photos of a Jahi who will longer be and withholding the present and real image, the public is inappropriately persuaded by one argument about Jahi over another.

As a nurse who cared for the dying, I know what death looks like. It's not pretty. It's difficult to see. It can be difficult to comprehend and accept. Yet it is the truth; it is reality.

Isn't it time the media stopped hiding death? Is it such a leap from showing fictionalized dead people on popular TV programs to showing, with dignity for the dead and dying, real death and dying?



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