Friday, February 21, 2014

Is keynoter Laura Ingraham ever 'not political'?

Akron General Health System's centennial celebration this week produced, if nothing else, an odd public relations failure with a remarkably poor antidote  for whatever ails health care today.

In short, it invited a widely known right-wing TV commentator to be its keynote speaker and paid her well.   Yep.  Laura Ingraham, she of Fox News and all of the journalistic darkness that such employment portends.

No fool to blow such a festive opportunity, Ingraham struck her sword at Obamacare.  According to the Beacon Journal, she asserted:  "I would say that Obamacare is the most glaring example of government overreach [read: President Obama] that I've seen probably in my lifetime."

In a city with a long progressive health care tradition, I'd say her invitation was the sort of overreach that served only the partisan speaker and her hosts.  There was nothing in her attack mode for the Democratic leaders in the audience or the new health insurance applicants around town. Talk  about public relations! (I did today with two former veteran PR guys from the rubber companies.  Both said they were astonished by  the choice of Ingraham).   Is anybody having any fun yet?

The hospital's president and chief executive, Dr. Thomas "Tim"  Stover, described Ingraham as "dynamic", but made the situation worse with a strategic retreat by saying:
"It wasn't anything political".  Even when you stand at the podium  blasting President Obama's calling-card  initiative?

 It wouldn't  have been more political had Ingraham been led to the podium arm-in-arm with  Mitch McConnell and  John Boehner.

Time for some triage called Damage Control 101.


Anonymous said...

Abe, I’m so glad you wrote about this debacle. I was baffled & outraged when I read about Stover’s completely inappropriate choice. Seems that the good doc showed his true colors when he pulled this one. Talk about being politically inept & just plain brain dead. How could he think that inviting her wouldn’t be political? Nice job on offending Akron’s 2 top elected officials. It’s not like AGMC will ever need help from the Mayor or County Executive, huh? I don’t think this was some na├»ve choice on his part. It’ll be a long time before I ever go to AGMC for medical care.

Dan Flowers said...

Thanks for writing this. Glad I found your blog. Will definitely be following it from here...

Enjoyed talk w you today.

Dan Flowers