Rather than straightforwardly reporting the facts in her coverage of the Schiavo case for Fox News Channel, correspondent Julie Banderas -- who joined the channel in early March -- has made a number of unsubstantiated comments that appear to reflect her personal views of the situation. For instance, Banderas seemed to defend President Bush on March 22 when she said, "Also inside just now, you know, the protesters out here are calling on President Bush, as if he hasn't done enough." Similarly, Banderas prefaced a report on a statement about the case by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by commenting, "Governor Bush made a good statement, and it makes sense."
Following are some samples of Banderas's coverage of the Schiavo case.
From the March 25 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:
BANDERAS: So earlier today, Terri's father once again coming out, pleading for the governor's help, saying Terri's life is slipping away.
Supporters, by the way, John, of the Schindler family have been standing outside the hospice for seven days now. That's the same amount of time Terri has gone with no food or water, no nourishment at all.
Now a friend of the Schindlers says she actually heard Terri attempt to say, "I want to live," as her feeding tube was removed last Friday. And on this Holy Week, two days before Easter, people outside the hospice here, praying for a miracle.
From the March 24 edition of On the Record with Greta van Sustern:
BANDERAS: Well, you know, even though the legal options are dwindling by the minute for Terri Schiavo's family, the protesters here, while they are discouraged, still holding out hope. You can see them behind me. Obviously, you know, they've been rooting for Terri for six days now, and these protesters are not going anywhere. ... Also, Governor Jeb Bush and his legal people still frantically trying to come up with something in order to intervene. But earlier, Governor Bush made a good statement, and it makes sense. I mean, he does not support this. Of course, he also doesn't support the 90,000 abortions that take place every single year. There is not much he can do. His hands are tied.
From the March 24 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:
BANDERAS: Now, as for the protesters out here today, they're growing in numbers. In fact, we just saw a plane fly overhead. It was carrying a sign. It said, "Governor Jeb Bush please save Terri." As we know, he's doing everything he can.
From the March 22 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
BANDERAS: The general process of death for patients whose food and hydration tubes are withdrawn is just agonizing for this family. Now on Day 5 with no food or water, those close to Terri say her slow death is cruel and unusual punishment. ... Court-appointed doctors, we need to stress, have said Schiavo will not feel, not feel, I repeat, any pain given her state. But her parents' doctors, of course, disagree. ... Now, this case has garnered attention around the world, and served as a rallying cry for conservative Christian groups here, and antiabortion activists who call this a modern-day crucifixion.
From the March 22 edition of On the Record with Greta van Sustern:
BANDERAS: And the protesters are here and also in Tallahassee, trying to urge Governor Jeb Bush to come on down here and see Terri with his very own eyes, also in Atlanta, urging and trying to influence that three-judge panel. Also inside just now, you know, the protesters out here are calling on President Bush, as if he hasn't done enough, and he certainly -- him cutting his trip short in Crawford, Texas, was absolutely unprecedented, but here now, inviting both the Bush brothers to see Terri Schiavo -- Greta.
From the March 21 edition of On the Record with Greta van Sustern:
BANDERAS: Her parents tell me she's getting weaker by the minute. A doctor who's known Terri for years feels she would be given a fighting chance and should be given a fighting chance, stating that Terri Schiavo can still swallow. Her doctors now saying that she swallows every day, and you can think about it, it makes sense. Otherwise, she would choke to death on her own saliva, and is entitled to proper rehabilitative medical care.
Well, protesters here maintaining a 24-hour vigil anxiously awaiting word from this man. He is Judge James Whittemore, who now has the power to possibly save the brain-damaged woman's life. ... Right now she's inside being starved to death unless the judge makes a ruling soon and time is obviously, Greta, of the essence here.
It should be noted that when Banderas made her March 21 comment regarding Terri Schiavo's ability to swallow, she failed to mention that another doctor testified that this ability did not mean Schiavo could ingest enough food to survive without a feeding tube. According to a court order issued by Circuit Judge George W. Greer, a doctor for Michael Schiavo stated that though some patients who use a feeding tube do swallow saliva, it was impossible in this case for Terri Schiavo to "take in sufficient sustenance":
"Dr. [James] Barnhill further testified that it is common for patients to be able to swallow saliva but still need feeding tubes. On redirect examination, he testified that it was impossible for Terri Schiavo to be able to take in sufficient sustenance."
Judge Greer found Dr. Barnhill's testimony to be "credible."