January 07, 2009

Why? Because I Gupta!

From Newsvine: CNN: Gupta approached about surgeon general post
WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama's reported choice for surgeon general, CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, could bring a dose of star power to a job that hasn't had that much clout in decades.

Gupta doesn't just play a doctor on TV, he's a neurosurgeon who still scrubs in part-time in one of the nation's toughest hospitals when he's not on CNN assignments that have taken him from Hurricane Katrina to Iraq. . . .

People magazine named the then-single Gupta one of the sexiest men of 2003.
Obama's selection process for deciding on the new surgeon general was extremely rigorous:
OBAMA: Okay, so what about Surgeon General?

STAFF: [blank stares all round]

OBAMA: No suggestions?

STAFF: Ummmm....

OBAMA: Can anyone name a doctor?

STAFF: Doug Ross!

OBAMA: Wasn't that George Clooney's character from E.R.?

STAFF: Oh.

[long silence]

OBAMA: I'm waiting.

STAFF: Dr Strangelove! Dr Moreau! Dr Frankenstein!

OBAMA: What are you, a film student? Can anyone name an actual doctor?

STAFF: There's that guy on CNN who gets sponsored by the drug companies.

OBAMA: Sold! Okay, now, who do we have for the Hairdresser General?
I mean, apart from the whole "I won't put lobbyists in my cabinet" thing, are we really at the point where a recurring five-minute segment on a morning news show is a valid route into government? What's next, Wolf Blitzer for Secretary of Defense? He does have all that experience in the situation room!

(And yes, I realise that Gupta is not technically a lobbyist, but I think there might be just a few tiny conflicts of interest there, nevertheless.)

Am I justified in finding this really depressing/alarming? Or is it just gratuitous cynicism?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's even worse is Obama's appointment of Panetta to the CIA... someone who has absolutely no intelligence experience. (pun definitely intended.) If Gupta does an ok job, I don't have a problem with him... At least it's not some crazy diet creator.

Anonymous said...

Q: Can you name any previous surgeon generals?

It's possible Gupta could raise the positions profile.

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