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ELDER ABUSE IS A CRIME?
Res ipsa loquitur
"Of all the illegal and illicit enterprises in the world, elder exploitation is among the safest and most profitable."
Journalism is a method of inquiry and literary style that aims to provide a service to the public by the dissemination and analysis of news and other information. Journalistic integrity is based on the principles of truth, disclosure, and editorial independence. Journalistic mediums can vary diversely, from print publishing to electronic broadcasting, and from newspaper to television channels, as well as to the web, and to digital technology.
In modern society, the news media is the chief purveyor of information and opinion about public affairs. Journalism, however, is not always confined to the news media or to news itself, as journalistic communication may find its way into broader forms of expression, including literature and cinema. In some nations, the news media is still controlled by government intervention, and is not fully an independent body.
In a democratic society, however, access to free information plays a central role in creating a system of checks and balance, and in distributing power equally amongst governments, businesses, individuals, and other social entities. Access to verifiable information gathered by independent media sources, which adhere to journalistic standards, can also be of service to ordinary citizens, by empowering them with the tools they need in order to participate in the political process.
Perhaps now is the time to honor Kasem with activism on the issue of elder abuse. Miriam Becker-Cohen, a researcher at the Urban Institute, raises the issue of whether Kasem’s death at the age of 82, attributed to sepsis from an ulcerated bedsore, might have been related to elder abuse. Becker-Cohen acknowledges that there is no definitive evidence. However, Kasem, who suffered from dementia, was caught in a battle between his second wife and the children of his first wife regarding who would care for him and how as his health failed.
The press coverage of Kasem’s last days focused on the salacious family drama, but may have been instructive about the more important issue of elder abuse. Several nonprofits offer a variety of programs and services addressing the needs of the elderly, notably the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) among others. Often the public debate around senior issues focuses on Social Security and Medicare, but the topic of elder abuse isn’t often on the agenda.