Friday, March 28, 2008

Not Dead Yet debunks Kevorkian myths

Now that Jack Kevorkian is out on parole from his imprisonment for assisted suicide, The AP reports that he plans to run for Congress in Michigan as an independent. Not Dead Yet, a disability rights group founded in 1996 to oppose legalized euthanasia and Kevorkian, who had just assisted in the suicide of two women who had disabilities rather than terminal illnesses, has a blog that's critiquing Kevorkian's every move.

For example, apparently Kevorkian said a few months ago in Florida that everyone should refuse to vote. Now he's running for Congress?

More importantly, Not Dead Yet's blog is evaluating the media treatment of Kevorkian now that he is out of prison. And they are finally getting some media coverage themselves as a source in opposition to Kevorkian supporters. (This is extremely important because I have done research in this area and too often the news media forget or don't know to contact disability groups for comments on disability issues.) On March 25, The AP quoted Not Dead Yet in a story about Kevorkian's Congressional run.

Steve Drake of Not Dead Yet, who writes the blog, has been researching and writing about Kevorkian for years and did an excellent analysis article in 2001 for The Ragged Edge, when the media finally reported that the majority of the people Kevorkian assisted to suicide were not terminally ill. Of course, this was not news to Not Dead Yet, who had long been trying get these details into the news media.

Other disability groups should read the Not Dead Yet blog if they want to see media advocacy in action. Drake clearly explains how Not Dead Yet was able to get itself onto The AP's radar.