Wednesday, January 7, 2009

CNN Journalist as Surgeon General?

By Ben Trott

CNN’s medical correspondent and neurosurgeon
Dr. Sanjay Gupta has reportedly been offered the job of Surgeon General. The New York Times wrote,
‘While the post of surgeon general is not cabinet-level, it can certainly be high profile, as several previous occupants of the position have learned.

‘For example Joycelyn Elders, who served as the 15th surgeon general of the U.S. under President Bill Clinton, was criticized for arguing about the legalization of some drugs as well as distributing contraceptives in schools. Mr. Clinton, at the time, said Dr. Elder had simply been misunderstood.’
The Huffington Post said,
‘Having such a well-known TV personality could bring the surgeon general attention not seen since C. Everett Koop help [a typo, the Post obviously mean 'held'] the position under President Ronald Reagan. Koop is best known for pushing to make AIDS a public health issue rather than a moral issue, and Reagan faced pressure to fire him. Koop has said Reagan never interfered.’
CNN’s own coverage of the news is online here. Dr. Gupta has not officially accepted the position, but according to this CNN video he is expected to do so in the next couple of days.

New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman here raises the debate which took place between Dr. Gupta and film-maker Michael Moore, related to his film Sicko criticising the health care system in the US. The video below features a debate on Larry King Live between Dr. Gupta and Moore over the facts and statistics used in the film.

Johnathan Stein, writing for Mother Jones’ ‘Blue Marble’ environment and health blog, is happy with the prospect of Dr. Gupta as Surgeon General. Over on the Daily Kos, a debate - with well over 550 postings so far - is currently taking place over the news.

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