Report: Obama offers CNN correspondent Surgeon General job
Published: Tuesday January 6, 2009

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If true, it's the first move Obama has made thus far as President-elect that's sure to give late night comedians plenty of red meat.

The President-elect has offered the job of US Surgeon General to CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reports.

The Associated Press adds, "Two Democrats with knowledge of the discussions over the surgeon general spot said Gupta was under consideration but cautioned a choice has not been made. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media on the matter."

Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore might not be too pleased with the reports. On July 10, 2007, Moore opened a tirade on CNN's Wolf Blitzer after a brief segment narrated by Gupta pointed out what the network claimed to be editorial liberties taken in Moore's film 'Sicko'.

The 4-minute piece concluded that Moore "did fudge the facts," and implied that Sicko was misleading in portraying health care systems in other countries, such as France, the UK, and Canada, as better than the one in the US.

When given a chance to speak, Moore immediately put host Wolf Blitzer on the defensive.

"That report was so biased, I can't imagine what pharmaceutical company's ads are coming up right after our break here," said Moore. "Why don't you tell the truth to the American people? I wish that CNN and the other mainstream media would just for once tell the truth about what's going on in this country."

Moore argued that CNN has such a lousy track record of reporting the truth about the war in Iraq and asking tough questions, that Americans should be skeptical of their reporting on health care.

Gupta backed up Moore's finding that the US healthcare system is No. 37 on the World Health Organization's rankings of healthcare systems around the globe. But Gupta encourages viewers to "hold on" before believing Cuba's healthcare system is better after Moore takes people there to receive treatment because Cuba ranks lower than the US, coming in at No. 39. SiCKO shows the WHO list, including Cuba's placement below the US, so Moore says he's not trying to deceive anyone.

Gupta also said Moore is wrong in asserting the US spends $7,000 per person on healthcare compared to Cuba spending $25 per person, putting the figure for the US at $6,096 per person and Cuba's spending at $229 per person. Moore links to a study from the Department of Health and Human Services that projected health spending for 2006 at $7,092 per capita and $7,498 for 2007.

"As for Cuba," Moore's site says, "Dr. Gupta and CNN need to watch 'SiCKO' first before commenting on it. 'SiCKO' says Cuba spends $251 per person on health care, not $25, as Gupta reports. And the BBC reports that Cuba's per capita health expenditure is... $251!"

The feud spilled over onto Larry King Live several days later, after Moore had already accused CNN, and specifically Dr. Gupta, of "libel." Soon thereafter, Moore and Stephen Colbert "united" against CNN's "web of lies."

"It's no secret, I'm no fan (of you)," Colbert told Moore. "But the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and you really kicked CNN in the Blitzer on this one."

Dr. Gupta first came to fame after CNN heavily promoted his role in an Iraqi boy's impromptu brain surgery in 2003. The boy died later that day.

If nothing else, some liberals may take comfort in the knowledge that no matter what, over the next four to eight years, Michael Moore will not be without new material.


NOTE: The editors wish to apologize to readers for the multiple errors in this article that was rushed to print Tuesday night, and escaped an editor's notice until hours later.