Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More on the Clinton-O'Bleness Flap

In comments to yesterday's post on Hillary Clinton's distorted tale of health care denial here in southeast Ohio, Big Kahuna wrote:
Sorry you were misled, but nobody has accused O'Bleness of anything. The accusation is against Holzer Medical. And the story has been updated in several locations. I reported on it at NoQuarterUSA. Clinton never mentioned O'Bleness, nor did Deputy Holman. In fact if you watch his comments again you'll see he clearly states "so she went to another hospital". The 'another hospital' is O'Bleness.

So please update your article.
No need to update. I was relying on current information. Big Kahuna's comments, while appreciated, are off the mark for two reasons.

First, it's not the deputy's statements that are at issue, it's Clinton's.

Second, Clinton didn't have to name names in order to identify O'Bleness uniquely. When anyone in Meigs or Athens County says "She went to the hospital," it can only refer to O'Bleness because there is no other local hospital. Holzer is a chain of clinics. Holzer offers specialist physicians and urgent care facilities. Holzer does not provide in-patient care. Holzer is not a hospital.

Yes, the deputy made a misleading statement in that he referred to two different hospitals. (Big Kahuna has helpfully posted a transcript of the deputy's chat with Clinton here.) I'm not faulting the deputy, who likely thought he was involved in a casual conversation and may not have realized he was giving Clinton's campaign a new meme.

It would've been incumbent on Clinton's staffers to verify the story and get the details straight. And they didn't. (Obviously this wouldn't have been an impossible task, because the media have gotten the story through relatives.) When she then repeated the deputy's vague version of the story, the phrase "went to the hospital" unambiguously referred to O'Bleness. It's like if you refer to the moon: If you lived on Saturn, you might mean Titan or Rhea or one of dozens others. But living on Earth, we can only mean The Moon - our moon, the one Neil Armstrong visited. Same deal for hospitals in my little neck of the woods.

I should also point out that I have no connections with either O'Bleness or River Rose except as a patient. My main reason for writing about this is my sense of offended decency. I am an Obama supporter, but I'm also an equal opportunity critic. For example, I've strongly criticized the open sexism toward Hillary. (If you don't want to follow all four of those links, you can just click on January's archives.) I've been more critical of her lately as her campaign has resorted to increasingly desperate tactics. But unlike NoQuarterUSA, where Big Kahuna writes, mine is an independent blog, not an informal extension of anyone's campaign. I find it fascinating that there are entire blogs out there devoted to single-mindedly promoting a candidate, and not a little ironic that the tag line at NoQuarter is "Tired of Spin?"


Anonymous said...

You are so full of shit that the best I can offer is a cyber enema.

Hillary specifically stated that she was told a story. That is what she recounted and if you would take the bullshit out of your ears perhaps you would hear the truth rather than the nonsense you spout.

This blog is not independent. It is anti-Hillary. And you are a blatant liar.

Sugarmag said...

The previous comment is completely undeserved. First of all, Clinton has a whole staff of people who can check facts for her and she should have checked it out before repeating gossip. Clinton's story is a distortion of what happened. A cyber enema? That is really uncalled for.

Expressing an opinion from the perspective of someone who lives in the area is not the same as lying about it.

Lastly, Sungold has been honest about her support for Obama.

Sungold said...

Sugar Mag, you are as lovely as your namesake! Thank you.

Not speaking directly to the troll (whose Blogger profile is not even accessible, further showing his trollishness): I am leaving this comment up because it speaks volumes about the level of political discourse in this country.

I think Senator Clinton deserves more dignified and civil defenders than this.

I certainly hope Obama's supporters aren't going around making similar comments.

Once you start slinging mud, some of it is bound to stick to your own hands. That goes for whatever brown substance the troll prefers to throw.

figleaf said...

I think that if John had just made the point that Senator Clinton was only relaying what she'd been told there wouldn't have been a problem. That he attacked you so bitterly (and implicitly and one hopes unintentionally threatened you with that "cyber enema" crack) was simply unnecessary. As SugarMag made clear.

Nice reporting in your actual post by the way.

Take care,


Sungold said...

Thanks, figleaf. I agree that there was a constructive way to make John's point. But I think the *destructive* tone was his actual point. :-)

These are the doctors who delivered my younger son, so I really do feel a stake in their good name. It's rare that a national news story touches this town, and of course people here have been talking about it.