Accuracy in Media

The media showed a major interest in whether Howard Dean’s wife, a medical doctor with a private practice, would campaign for him. The media interest and attack on her husband forced her to campaign and give media interviews. Journalists should have left her alone. She is a private person concerned about her patients and her family and didn’t want the media to ruin their lives. Some journalists may have been offended when she said that the Deans didn’t have cable television in their home and that she didn’t turn on the TV very often because it was a distraction. Obviously, she is not a cable news junkie.

The major media should have been spending some time probing the political influence of Senator John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz, who runs the $1-billion Heinz Endowments, named after her deceased husband, Republican Senator John Heinz. A humanitarian who has contributed to many worthwhile causes, she is not shy about the public spotlight and has been playing a major role in policy issues for many years. Like Hillary Clinton, however, she takes a major interest in feminism, health care and global environmentalism. She received a “World Ecology Award” and serves on the board of several environmental and liberal groups.

Heinz says she married Senator Kerry in part because he recognized what it means to be a “world citizen.” She attended the 1992 U.N.-sponsored Earth Summit, which spawned the theory that higher taxes and restrictions on energy use were necessary in the U.S. and other industrialized countries to curb “global warming.” Kerry was also there, and they married three years later. Heinz, reported to be “disgusted” with the Bush administration for rejecting the pact, has used the Heinz fortune to fund the environmental movement.

One of her Heinz Awards was given in 2001 to James Hansen, regarded as the father of the global warming theory. Heinz continues to promote the theory despite evidence showing little if any rise in mean temperature, and no hard evidence that it is linked to the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Conservatives believe the theory is being pushed by liberals simply as a back-door attempt to promote more government regulation of industry and control of the economy and higher taxes. She insists, in the face of the evidence, that more government won’t stifle economic development. Senator Kerry shares that liberal view.

Similar fuzzy thinking is evident in their apparent acceptance of the theory that DDT was causing environmental damage and had to be banned. Heinz, whose father was a doctor, was born and raised in Mozambique, where she says she grew up with people who faced dangers such as malaria. Today, according to one report, “she talks about the frustration of trying to stop the spread of AIDS and malaria in Africa?”

Like his wife, Senator Kerry has been concerned about the spread of malaria, which is killing one child every twelve seconds. But there is no record of either of them supporting the return of the spraying of DDT to deal with the problem. Even the New York Times, however, has recognized that the banning of this insecticide in countries where malaria is prevalent has been a huge mistake, costing millions of lives.

To her credit, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren recently preceded interviews with Kerry and Heinz by noting that her husband, controversial trial lawyer John P. Coale, had contributed to the Kerry for President campaign. In a message to viewers in advance of the Kerry interview, she said her husband “has raised money for his candidacy” and that she was disclosing this information so viewers “can make a decision whether I ‘pull my punches’ in the interview, or not.”

Only time will tell whether she and other media personalities “pull their punches” with the rich, powerful and influential Teresa Heinz, who should come under heightened media scrutiny in the weeks ahead. The questions should go beyond whether her husband will be a good president to whether Heinz would copy Hillary Clinton by playing the role of co-president in a Kerry administration.

It is significant that former CNN correspondent Chris Black was hired to serve as a Heinz spokesperson, or “handler,” before the presidential campaign. Over the course of his political career, according to the Center for Public Integrity, Kerry has received $140,710 in political contributions from CNN parent company Time Warner.

Is the Clinton News Network becoming the Kerry News Network? Stay tuned.

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