Plutarch’s Weblog

December 28, 2007

Reporters: If the preacher says he dropped 110 lbs. (and collected $400K), check it out.

Filed under: Huckabee, Uncategorized — Tags: — plutarch01 @ 8:33 pm


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 Arkansas Times 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 weight loss was strictly a result of dieting and exercise, as he claims, or as Arkansas 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 weight loss, 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 on Sunday felt free to 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 Fred Thompson 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.

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 his weight loss was 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.

December 18, 2007

If Huckabee denies Christ one more time, a cock will crow.

Filed under: Huckabee, Uncategorized — Tags: — plutarch01 @ 2:39 pm

Mike Huckabee is only one denial away from matching disciple Peter, who upon denying Jesus three times, heard the cock crow.

As ABC reported today:

Some have suggested there is an image of a cross behind Huckabee’s shoulder as he talks to the camera in the ad, but Huckabee dismissed that Tuesday.

“That was a [1] book shelf behind me, [2] a book shelf,” Huckabee told reporters while campaigning in Houston, Texas.

Matthew ( 26:71-75) reported that Peter wept bitterly, upon recalling Jesus’s prediction: Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Wouldn’t want this to happen to Huckabee.

December 16, 2007

Huckabee’s $1 million to fatten diet doctor endowment

Filed under: Huckabee, Uncategorized — plutarch01 @ 8:15 pm

I noted in the original post discussing the possibility that Huckabee had gastric bypass surgery, that Huckabee had taken the unusual step of allocating $1 million out of general revenue funds to endow a Chair for his diet doctor at UAMS, Dr. Philip Kern. I wasn’t able to find any link to that Chair at UAMS, however. This apparently because the endowment never happened. According to the January 25 Arkansas Times:

Evidently without consulting legislators, his Cabinet, or anyone else who knows something of the law and state budgeting, Huckabee ordered that money appropriated by the legislature for other purposes be given instead to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Under the governor’s plan, the money would have been used for cancer research and the endowment of a faculty position named for a UAMS physician who helped Huckabee lose a considerable amount of weight. The proposed naming was an inordinate show of admiration for the physician. Under Huckabee, things usually got named for him or his wife.

Legislators questioned the legality of Huckabee’s proposal and even Alan Sugg, president of the University of Arkansas System, suggested that it might be best to obtain legislative approval in the session that was only a few days away. Huckabee threw a fit, rescinded the transfer of money to UAMS, ordered that the funds be used for other, non-medical purposes, and assailed Sugg for exercising good judgment. In a letter to the UA president, Huckabee said the money would have been used for “noble and worthy projects” and saved many lives. “But your reluctance to accept these funds due to a small number of legislative detractors makes it necessary to take this action.”

Huckabee’s allocation was so irregular as to have caused problems at the time. If one looks at this uncharitably (as is my wont with Huckabee), he set out to endow the chair for Kern, and to make this singular donation less conspicuous donated another million as well to something as laudable sounding as possible, cancer research.

In my experience, gratitude to physicians for their clinical efforts, which patients too infrequently express, more often manifests in a batch of homemade cookies than it does in a $1 million endowment. That Huckabee’s show of admiration was inordinate begs explanation. A possible explanation is that Huckabee’s gratitude encompassed not only Dr. Kern’s clinical care, but extended as well to Dr. Kern’s provision of his imprimatur to Huckabee’s diet/exercise weight loss story.

Not that Dr. Kern waxed rhapasodic about his most famous patient. Dr Kern sounds somewhat sheepish in a media interview:

Huckabee invited Dr. Phillip Kern to the governor’s mansion. Kern is a professor of medicine and an endocrinologist at the University of Arkansas, and he runs a program for obese people. Kern admitted recently that he was a little uncomfortable taking on such a high-profile patient.

“The fear, I guess, would be that every news outlet in Arkansas certainly would be hyping the fact that Gov. Huckabee lost weight on the University of Arkansas medical sciences weight-loss program,” Kern recalls. “He drops 50 pounds and gains it back just as quickly, and everyone is like, ‘Oh, that program stinks.'”

Kern emphasizes that Huckabee’s result is atypical for his program:

Kern said Huckabee was a model patient.

“Believe it or not, it’s not every day that I have a patient that loses over 100 pounds and starts running marathons,” he said.

Dr. Kern doesn’t sound that comfortable lending his credibility to these events. It is easy to conjecture that Governor Huckabee provided the endowment to assuage Dr. Kern’s discomfiture, and to encourage further participation.

This whole episode might invite further investigation. That will be difficult, seeing as Huckabee had all the Administration’s hard drives destroyed as he left office.

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