Mike Wallace has been known for asking tough questions on 60 Minutes. But he seemed uncharacteristically subdued in the 60 Minutes segment where Dr. Jack Kevorkian put a man to death. No straight-to-the-jugular questions. No ambush interviews. Just a scene where a terminally ill patient is put to death.
The show's producer, Don Hewitt, never thought twice about televising the events. In so doing, they broke new ground for a TV newsmagazine. Apparently this was the first time a network heavily promoted a show featuring a death. In the past, death was shown accidentally (for example, Jack Ruby's assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald). This was different. It put the issue of euthanasia right in front of America's eyes.
It also put Jack Kevorkian on center stage, not that he wasn't already given lots of publicity. In fact, my biggest concern is that each time we talk about a Jack Kevorkian killing, we make the next one less shocking and make euthanasia a little more likely as standard medical procedure.
It's been said that doctors around the country consider Jack Kevorkian a nut, but many are secretly glad that he is raising the issue and moving the line. Faced with skyrocketing medical costs and patients in intractable conditions, many doctors and health care professionals would like laws loosened. Jack Kevorkian provides a public forum for the discussion and thereby shields other doctors from having to take unpopular stands.
I believe the net effect of showing Jack Kervorkian on 60 Minutes was to further legitimize his actions and ultimately make euthanasia more likely. As I've said before, just the fact that we are talking about this and now seeing it on television makes mercy killing more likely.
I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.
© 1998 Probe Ministries International