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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Liberals Politicize Death Based on Manipulated Media Reports to Sell a Failing Agenda


Early on Saturday,  a Think Progress report by Victor Zapanta was linked at Memeorandum . The grossly irresponsible headline, "Uninsured 22-Year-Old Boehner Constituent Dies From Swine Flu," betrayed Zapanta's dishonest attempt to draw a causal relationships between Boehner's opposition to the Democratic effort to overhaul health care and the death of young woman.  Several left -wing blogs quickly followed suit, blaming Republican opposition and our broken system for the death of Kimberly Young. 

Unfortunately for the left, the argument is clearly devoid of reason as Rick Moran demonstrates in a masterful take-down of Zapanta's partisan smear attack. Moreover, it is also devoid of factual evidence, relying instead on a cleverly-edited television news report based on an interview with Young's roommate's mother while ignoring first-hand reports from Young's parents themselves.

Jammie Wearing Fool points to the irrational attack on Boehner and connects it with the same lowering of discourse evidenced in the left's politicization of the death of a census worker.  In an interesting update, Jammie Wearing Fool links a recent report confirming Young did not, in fact, die of complications of Swine flu.  Though this report came later than Zapanta's piece as well as the others that followed, there were several other reports available online prior to the 25th that severely undercut the argument Young died because she lacked health care.

A WCPO news report is cited by a TPM Live Wire report to suggest a potential relationship between Young's death and her lack of insurance.  As you will see in the video Young's roommates mother is the source for the speculation Young either did not receive earlier treatment or the treatment was inadequate and Young resisted going to the emergency room for "proper treatment."  This is quite different than  two separate reports by Cathy Young of the events leading to her daughter's death:
“At first she was talkative, we thought she was going to be OK,” Cathy Young said. “The doctor thought she had a pretty good chance because she had gotten there quickly.”

But, the doctor cautioned, H1N1 is viral. Young was given antibiotics, but only to fight off other infections, Cathy Young said.

Her daughter’s immune system was going to have to fight it off.

Doctors determined Young needed to transfer to University Hospital, a trauma hospital better equipped to care for her. Before an ambulance could transfer her, Young’s condition worsened.

Her oxygen levels dropped. She needed a respirator to aid her breathing. Young was flown by medical helicopter to Cincinnati.
In an updated report The Toledo Blade confirms  that Young's family said she died of complications of viral pneumonia.  The fact that she suffered from a asthma would explain why viral pneumonia posed such a serious threat while Kimberly was receiving treatment.  Based on Cathy Young's timeline of events Kimberly got sick on Tuesday the 15th, sought treatment at a care center on Thursday the 17th and was reported to be feeling better Thursday after she was released.  Tuesday her fever returned and Young showed difficulty breathing, this led her roommate to drive her to the hospital.  According to Kimberly's own mother, the doctor treating her daughter thought she had gotten there quickly after showing difficulty breathing.

A careful review of the WCPO news report, which unfortunately will not embed here, shows the father's statement to be cleverly edited to create a false impression that Kimberly's insurance status was to blame.  The reporter suggests Young's death figures prominently in the national debate on health care then cuts to Bryan Young the deceased's father who is shown saying:
"This is not a joke," he said. This is hitting home to average America. I'm just an average guy
A voice over cuts off Mr. Young at this point and leads onto the discussion of the loss of Kimberly Young to swine flu.  The report then dips back in to Mr. Young saying:
"She's going to be missed by lots of people," said her father, Bryan. "I don't want another family to go through what we've gone through."
This leaves the viewer with the distinct impression Mr. Young blames his daughter's lack of health care for her death.  The voice over cuts out a significant statement that makes Mr. Young's position much clearer, however:
"This is not a joke," This is hitting home to average America. I'm just an average guy in a small town who has just lost his 22-year-old daughter to swine flu. This is a serious threat to America. It might sound a little overblown, but it isn't. I just lost my daughter."
Young is clearly stating the swine flu is the serious threat to America, not inadequate health insurance as the news report would have you believe.  

As mentioned above, this entire account of the events leading to Kimberly Young's death was available online September 23rd.  The WCPO news report on the 25th not only distorted the father's position that swine flu was a serious threat, it ignored other reports suggesting Kimberly took a turn for the worse while in treatment and rely instead on a third hand account by the roommates mother her lack of insurance may have led to her death.  TCM Live Wire and Think Progress base their arguments entirely on this same third-hand accounting of events.

It is worth a mention that under the proposed health care reform, Kimberly would have been forced to buy health care insurance at the risk of substantial fines and jail time. There is absolutely no evidence however, the outcome of Kimberly's case would have been bettter. If Democrats expect to be trusted to overhaul 1/5th of our entire economy, they might start by making honest arguments instead of politicizing the unfortunate death of a young woman.  That they do this while they also politicize the death of a census worker, frankly calls to mind the image of vultures circling the dead and dying.    Thus far, the nation seems reluctant to entrust their health care to vultures, perhaps it is time for a new strategy.

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