Aaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 9289 posts, RR: 26 Posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 2302 times:
What's the point of having positions like this if power trippers in the White House are going to twist arms at every opportunity? Shameful...
President Bush's most recent surgeon general accused the administration Tuesday of muzzling him for political reasons on hot-button health issues such as emergency contraception and abstinence-only education.
Dr. Richard Carmona told lawmakers that the Bush administration interfered with his work.
Dr. Richard Carmona, the nation's 17th surgeon general, told lawmakers that all surgeons general have had to deal with politics but none more so than he.
For example, he said he wasn't allowed to make a speech at the Special Olympics because it was viewed as benefiting a political opponent. However, he said he was asked to speak at events designed to benefit Republican lawmakers.
"The reality is that the nation's doctor has been marginalized and relegated to a position with no independent budget, and with supervisors who are political appointees with partisan agendas," said Carmona, who served from 2002 to 2006.
Another report, on global health challenges, was never released after the administration demanded changes that he refused to make, Carmona said.
"I was told this would be a political document or you're not going to release it." Carmona said. "I said it can't be a political document because the surgeon general never releases political documents. I release scientific documents that will help our elected officials and the citizens understand the complex world we live in and what their responsibilities are."
He refused to identify the officials who sought the changes.
Carmona said he believed the surgeon general should show leadership on health issues. But his speeches were edited by political appointees, and he was told not to talk about certain issues. For example, he supported comprehensive sex education that would include abstinence in the curriculum, rather than focusing solely on abstinence.
"However, there was already a policy in place that didn't want to hear the science, but wanted to -- quote, unquote -- 'preach abstinence,' which I felt was scientifically incorrect," Carmona said.
DL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11454 posts, RR: 72
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2168 times:
Every surgeon general since Koop has been censored, and to see the extent to which it happened to Carmona is irritating as hell to say the least.
They hired the guy because he's a verifiable top rate trauma surgeon, as well as a war hero and police hero to boot (not just served, but did so as a special forces medic and a SWAT medic under fire both times). To hinder him by telling him what to say about sex ed or other things due to political concerrns is stupid, and the desire to control the message by the administration bureaucrats was stupid in this case.
You hire the doctor, let him be the doctor. Silly shit like this gets you trouble you don't need and is indicative of the lack of ability to handle public affairs issues that this administration has consistently displayed.
Quoting DL021 (Reply 6): Every surgeon general since Koop has been censored, and to see the extent to which it happened to Carmona is irritating as hell to say the least.
Censoring is only part of it, the grandstanding by this administration is appalling:
From the NYT article: "Dr. Carmona said he was ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches. He also said he was asked to make speeches to support Republican political candidates and to attend political briefings."
WorkFlyer From New Zealand, joined Dec 2006, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2114 times:
I thought the posistion of surgeon general was an independent one which was for the health benefit of all Americans (And some other nations which follwed the surgeon general office guidelines, such as in smoking etc). If however he (Not his choice) is merely the spokesperson for the current administration then that means in many cases the correct health message will not have got out. This would particularly be the case given the current administration's opinions on birth control, sex ed, abortion, second hand smoke, etc (all the hot button points on public health). Surely his/her job is not to be a card carrying member of the administrations cheer team but to be an independent arbiter of the truth to get the health message out there in an even independent way. Being subject to governmental or business controls would dilute important messages and potentially put peoples lives at risk.
In NZ the equivalent person is the Director of Public Health. This person (and office) has on more than one occassion been called to criticise government health policy for its failings, this is even though ultimately this person is a government appointee. Even though they may be appointed by the government they are independent reporting to parliament as a whole and the general populace.
Perhaps the US should consider this model. Making the SG responsible to the whole House and Senate and not just at the behest of the governing party.