The Journalism 1A dictum is If your mother tells you she loves, check it out.
This inviolable rule applies in all things save Mike Huckabee’s 110 lb. weight loss, a matter for which Journalism has granted Huckabee a dispensation. Huckabee says he lost his weight through diet/exercise, and that is what is reported, without any troubling questions.
This credulousness might have been excusable several months ago when Huckabee was an obscure footnote to the GOP campaign, and little was known of the details of his weight loss. In the last month, however, Huckabee has been leading the GOP polls, and this blog’s article demonstrating the likelihood of gastric bypass richocheted around the right blogosphere, being picked up by scores of blogs. Reporters can claim neither ignorance nor unimportance. Like low hanging fruit, the story of Huckabee’s possible gastric bypass is within easy reach, an readily understood story of GOP frontrunner deceit. Yet the MSM still completely ignores it:
- No reporter has ever asked Huckabee directly whether his weight loss is attributable to weight loss surgery.
- No MSM story has mentioned the blogosphere speculation of gastric bypass.
- Hundreds of MSM stories mention Huckabee’s weight loss, all of which give either tacit or specific attribution to diet/exercise.
The MSM’s supine disinterest in this matter is readily explained. Huckabee is the media’s GOP darling. The DNC has decided he is Easy Kill, for whom they will withhold fire until nominated, and accordingly so too is Huckabee the MSM’s preferred GOP candidate. If this were any other GOP candidate, the MSM would pursue the story with zeal proportionate to the number of DNC press releases attacks (Romney 99, Giuliani 74, McCain 64, Thompson 20, Huckabee 4). Should Huckabee gain the nomination (or be placed on the ticket) the MSM would presumably unleash this story along with anything else they could throw at him. This left-wing opposition research piece on Huckabee makes clear that the Democrats/MSM are aware of this issue’s negative potential, which they hold in reserve.
Is the story too personal for a media grown suddenly fastidious? No problem, as Hucakbee has helpfully provided a graft angle, as he has parlayed his weight loss into not only fame but fortune as well. Politico reports that, unusual for a Governor and Presidential candidate, Hucakbee made substantial outside income. Since 2004 Huckabee earned $405,000 through honoraria, books sales, consulting and outside income. Much if not most of this relates directly to Huckabee’s weight saga:
It’s not hard to see why his story appeals to groups and companies in the public health arena. An ordained Baptist minister who dropped more than 100 pounds after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes, Huckabee pushed to expand health care access and incentivize healthy living in Arkansas.
Thus whether reporters should follow the money trail or check out his story, they will end up at the same place– the veracity of Huckabee’s weight loss.
That the MSM is aware of this story is evidenced by the observation of Huckabee nemesis Max Brantley of the that interested national reporters have discussed the gastric bypass matter with him, but done nothing. Brantley can’t abide even the risk of Huckabee being the nominee, and lately has resorted to pleading for the MSM to look into it:
But if [Huckabee is] making money talking about health care (including to stem cell researcher Novo Nordisk), isn’t it time to put a definitive rest to the questions about whether his was strictly a result of dieting and exercise, as he claims, or as legend has long had it, assisted by surgery?
Given the trivial nature of matters upon which the MSM do eagerly pursue (e.g. undocumented landscapers), the MSM can hardly deem this issue titillating but unimportant. The sudden weight loss provided Huckabee what charisma he has, the publicity that brought him from obscurity, his ‘signature issue‘, the rationale for his candidacy’s obligatory health plan, what would be ill-gotten royalty income from a scam diet book, as well as considerable consulting and speechifying fees. If he has mischaracterized his , he has defrauded his publisher, consulting clients, and audiences; based Arkansas health policy on a false premise; lied to hundreds of reporters; falsified his Presidential resume, and hidden a relevant health matter from voters. This all would have been a pre-meditated scam, and his subsequent career that of a risible Elmer Pantry. If the MSM has steered clear, it is only because of its importance.
Nor can the MSM claim that investigation of a candidate’s medical record is somehow journalistically proscribed. George Stephanopoulos grill Giuliani about his recent medical condition, including demands to see medical records, and no one called Stephanopoulos out of bounds. Likewise, the MSM was unstinting in evaluating non-Hodgkins lymphoma. A gastric bypass, which is associated with increased hospitalization and mortality, is of similar medical magnitude to Giuliani’s prostate cancer and Thompson’s NHL. Huckabee has absolutely no right to hide this significant condition from voters, and the MSM, which are supposed to be vetting candidates, have no grounds for enabling Huckabee’s deception.felt free to
An investigation by the MSM would require no sleuthing or researching. All a reporter would need do is summon the temerity to directly ask Huckabee whether or not he had weight loss surgery, as getting him definitively on record would in itself be news.
If Huckabee is asked, and denies, the reporter would then ask for the radiologist report and barium swallow CT scan he likely had to diagnose his hernia in 2005. If hiswas through diet/exercise, the CT scan will show a normal stomach (and a rare type of hernia). If he refuses to provide such innocuous medical records, the conclusion is obvious, and could be the subject of a news story.
The MSM’s abdication of their duty to check out Huckabee’s implausible weight loss claim reveals much about both Hucakbee and the MSM. The former, how advantageous a candidate he would be for the Democrats, the latter how diabolically partisan is their coverage.