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CNN and the doctor

Errol Laborde

There are two places where it really bothers me to see CNN: one is in the gate area at airports, and the other is a doctor’s office waiting room. In both cases I’m personally feeling a little bit of tension, a little bit of uneasiness, a little bit of wishing I were somewhere else and a lot of waiting for my number to be called.

In both cases I also find the CNN chatter to be annoying. Who cares about the rest of the world when I’m so miserable? And the Secretary of Commerce, please! Whatever he has to say can wait. Moreover, the CNN people look and sound so perfect – and I’m feeling so imperfect.

And then there are the discussions. While making my first visit to a new doctor, the CNN anchor guy and a reporter gal were talking about health care. “Medicine is an art, not a science,” the reporter tells the anchor. “You mean after all the studying that medical students do,” the anchor replied incredulously, “what they’re doing isn’t science but art?!”

“That right,” the reporter replied. “There are many doctors out there, and each could interpret things differently, each could come up with different solutions.”

Thanks CNN! So what if out of all the available doctors, I had chosen the one who is going to get it wrong? What if the doctor makes a diagnosis that may not be scientific, but at least artful?

Then there are the commercials: CNN advertisers know that the audience is made up of opinionated news junkies (other than those stuck in doctors offices and airports). One commercial rallied against any new federalized health plans. “Don’t let some bureaucrat in Washington decide who your doctor will be,” the commercial warned as I envisioned an evil government clerk on the Potomac cackling with his friends over the hack he had sent me to. Another commercial spoke for the other side: “A new plan would make health care better and less expensive,” an assuring voice said.

Whatever will be the outcome of federal health care, magazine issues such as this one, which reveal the area’s top doctors as selected by an independent firm, will negate the influence of the evil bureaucrat. Selecting a specialist is a decision we all have to make from time to time and we want to make the best choice possible.

My new doctor selection was based on that timeless method, a recommendation of a friend. All went well. The only glitch was that while I was with the doctor a storm moved in so that when I was leaving I was surprised to see a downpour outside. Maybe the TV should have been on The Weather Channel.

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