Sunday, February 28, 2010

VERITAS: FUMBLE - DANNY WILLIAMS REDUX

A few weeks back, when the whole controversy about Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams’ decision to seek cardiac surgery in the U.S. first surfaced, I gave his office a Fumble for not coming clean right out of the gate with details on where he was going, what the nature of the procedure was, and why he went stateside for it in the first place. Regardless of the reasons, the cat-and-mouse act with the information was only going to keep the story rolling … and it did. Now that he has had the procedure and is recovering and giving some interviews, I have to call a second Fumble on Premier Williams himself. Not for saying “it’s my heart, it’s my choice,” or any of the other political aspects which swirl around this story, but rather for the fact that Williams has either been inaccurate or worse with the facts of the matter. Being inaccurate with the media – deliberately or otherwise – is at best an honest error or at worst scandalous, but in any case it’s something to be avoided at all costs. The true facts will always emerge in the end, and those proffering inaccuracies will suffer. Williams told NTV in a post-op interview that “the surgery I eventually got … was not offered to me in Canada.” This was quickly countered by prominent cardiologists across the country in both live quotes and released statements. Again, let me be clear: the communications play isn’t about where and how he got his surgery, it’s about the way it was positioned. By suggesting he could only get what he was after south of the border – a statement quickly proven untrue by leading health care voices – it became a Fumble.

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