March 8, 2009

Tea Parties? What Tea Parties? Predictably, Established Media Coverage of Tea Party Protests Is Sparse

None of this will surprise readers here, but it should go on the record nonetheless.

Coverage of “tea party” protests in various cities around the country (this March 4 Pajamas Media press release, HT to FreeRepublic, cited 22 locations on February 27 and seven this weekend) has been sparse to non-existent, especially at major establishment media outlets.

There was no coverage of this weekend’s or last weekend’s protests by the Associated Press, the self-described “essential global news network,” based on a seach on “tea party” (not in quotes) at its ap.org home page at about 10:00 a.m.:

APsearchTeaParty030809

What’s more, even though over 20 of the protests had already taken place, the AP’s David Bauder, in his coverage of a dispute over the prominent use of CNBC’s Rick (“Rant Hear ‘Round the world“) Santelli’s name at a protest web site (the March 2, 8:06 p.m. item above), either did not know that the protests had occurred, or didn’t care to inform his readers that they had.

Looking at this weekend’s coverage thus far, a 10:15 a.m. Google News search on “tea party” for March 7-8 (in quotes, sorted by date with duplicates included), returned only 47 items (the over 1,500 results claim at the top of the first page of the results is wrong; scroll to the bottom to see that there are only 5 pages of results). Roughly a quarter of them are unrelated to the protests; most of the rest are from local publications and TV stations results. One exception is Michelle Malkin’s column (“The Wealth Battlefield”) in the Washington Times.

As if you didn’t know already: With the exception of a one-paragraph blog post at the New York Times, searches at the Washington Post and the Times on “tea party” (not in quotes) indicate that there was no coverage of the protest events.

Maybe the tea partiers should have told the press that they were holding Iraq War protests.

UPDATE: Patrik Jonsson at the Christian Science Monitor did an even-handed report on the tea party movement on February 27 (“Budget debate launches new tea party”). I appreciate his e-mail calling his work to my attention.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: Austin doctors help Haitian boy with heart defect

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:37 am

From Austin Texas:

Mar 7, 2009 / 02:31 pm

Luidgy Virgile is a beautiful 2-year-old boy from Haiti. His dark curly hair, ready smile and rambunctious, energetic spirit make people warm to him immediately.  However, just six months ago, Luidgy’s parents were terrified of losing him because he had a congenital heart defect. But, thanks to the grace of God, a local nonprofit organization, and physicians in Central Texas, Luidgy’s heart has been successfully treated, and he can look forward to a long and healthy life.

In March 2008, Luidgy was diagnosed with an atrial septal defect, a hole between the upper chambers of his heart. The oxygenated blood and non-oxygenated blood were blending inside his heart. He also had an atrial flutter –– an irregular heartbeat. His symptoms included fatigue and trouble breathing.

Luidgy needed surgical procedures to fix these problems, but this type of surgery is not done in Haiti. In addition, Luidgy’s parents could not afford to travel to another country and pay the high medical fees for their son. Elika, Luidgy’s mother, is a law student, and his father is a policeman.

“When the doctors in Haiti said Luidgy had to be operated on, we didn’t have the money to have an operation,” Elika said. “We thought we would lose him.”

And then a marvelous series of occurrences took place.

Elika’s sister, Nathalie Jacques, works at the Sacre Coeur Hospital in Milot, Haiti, where she met Sister Martha Barlai-Kovach.

Twenty years ago, Sister Barlai-Kovach was in the novitiate for the Daughters of Charity with Sister Teresa George, the vice president and chief operating officer of Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin.

Sister Barlai-Kovach e-mailed Sister George asking if there was any way she could help Luidgy.

Sister George knew about Heartgift, a nonprofit organization in Austin and San Antonio, which provides life-saving heart surgery to disadvantaged children in developing countries where this type of surgery is not available, at no cost to the children and their families. Sister George contacted Heartgift.

In January, Elika and Luidgy flew to Austin. Heartgift arranged for transportation, medical treatment and a French-speaking host family.

Initially, everyone involved expected Luidgy would need open-heart surgery, which requires about a week’s stay in the hospital and then several weeks of recovery.

But it was discovered that Luidgy’s medical condition could be treated in the cardiac catheterization lab at Dell Children’s Medical Center, with surgical instruments threaded to his heart via catheterization.

Dr. Arnold Fenrich, pediatric electrophysiologist with Children’s Cardiology Associates in Austin, was able to find the cause of Luidgy’s atrial flutter and treat it.

“I identified an area of tissue on the top chamber that would allow me to deliver energy to that tissue to cause a scar and block the path (in order to make his heartbeat normal.) I treated it with radio-frequency energy,” Dr. Fenrich said.

Lisa Rodman, the executive director of Heartgift, said Dr. Fenrich’s presence in Austin made it possible for Heartgift to bring Luidgy here. Dr. Fenrich is the only pediatric electrophysiologist in Austin and he just recently began practicing in Austin.

“Until Dr. Fenrich came here, the problem wasn’t treatable here. If we had heard about Luidgy’s problem even six months earlier, we probably couldn’t have treated it,” Rodman said.

The second part of Luidgy’s treatment was closing the hole –– the atrial septal defect –– between the upper chambers of his heart. Dr. Karen Wright, a pediatric cardiologist with Children’s Cardiology Associates, successfully closed the hole.

Amazingly, because both of these procedures were done via catheterization, Luidgy never had to undergo open-heart surgery, which would have been more extensive and would have required a longer, more complicated recovery.

Luidgy’s mother said her heart is full of gratitude for everyone who helped her son get well. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.