Friday, July 22, 2011

Bachmann's Migraines

Campaign Headache: Story or no story? Issue or not an issue? Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann prolonged the story about a former aide claiming she suffers from debilitating migraines. Wednesday during her backyard chat at a Norwalk couple's home, Bachmann could have stopped to talk to reporters to fully explain the concerns over whether her migraines can knock her out of commission for days at a time. Instead, she mostly ignored reporters' questions. And her staff tried to form a human wall around her as she made her way from the crowd to inside the home. Later, she emerged from the house arm in arm with the homeowner and walked into her campaign bus. She again ignored reporters' questions, boarded the bus, thanked the homeowners again for their hospitality and then encouraged people to go swimming to stay cool in the oppressive heat. Later in the day, we heard from her brother, her son and her doctor. But why didn't Bachmann herself just give more background on this issue? If the headaches don't affect her work performance, then why not explain that and let everyone move on? Is it more serious than that?

Tim Pawlenty is the only candidate who tried to make an issue of the migraines. We talked to him right after the Bachmann event. We asked whether Bachmann's condition should be an issue for voters. He could have said, "That's a question for her doctors about how severe this is. I've known her for years and have never seen anything that questions her ability to serve as president. I think the bigger question is the health of our economy right now and the president's failure to find the right prescription to fix it." Instead, he told us about three versions of a phrase that candidates need to be president "all of the time".

How do those comments not seek to cast doubt on Bachmann's health? Cain, Romney and Gingrich all said the migraines aren't an issue. Now, it looks like Pawlenty is changing his response. He now calls the matter "a sideshow". So what part has be played in this sideshow?

I received a handful of emails after we ran our story on the migraines. I thought our story would look at the bigger question of whether the headaches are an issue for voters or just a campaign distraction. I didn't realize the reaction it would get from some people. Here are a few emails:

Are you kidding me? You lead with a story about a candidates headaches? Why the hell haven’t you investigated Mr. Obama’s admitted cocaine use? You want even ask why he hasn’t released his medical records. You sycophantic hypocrites. Do some real investigative reporting and ask Barak. He did say he was going to be transparent.

I can hardly make my self watch your liberal so called news. If it wasn’t for the good looking dames on the set I just couldn’t take it.

Also tell Andy he buggs me.

Sincerely: Chris Dover

Thanks for your INVESTIGATIVE journalism on Mechelle Bachman. I was undecided on who I would support. Your attack peice on her "migrains" told me which to support. I will be supporting her 100 percent.
What is next for you liberals? Maybe a story on Obama's memory porblems when he told Jay Leno last week he was cellabrating his 50 th birthday during that week, while his "REAL" birth certificate says he was born on August 4th.
You are just evil. Pure evil.


King of SNARK said...

Hey "Just Evil", or do your prefer "Pure Evil"?, isn't it nice when family keeps in touch?

Did you hear from Chris' brother Ben?

I consider myself fairly Conservative and even when I don't agree with you, I find you to be a very pleasant person.

Definitely,one of the nicer media types.

Give 'em Hell, Evil!

Shane Vander Hart said...

I bet you kick puppies too.

Time for some folks to switch to decaf.

Mick Hackbarth said...

There is no way that migraines are a valid concern.

That said, I think so much of journalism is done for the sake of viewership/readership. For example, if all of the press vowed to not cover congress until they get a bill passed regarding cut/cap/balance, and only then give them mic time, I'll bet the war of words would end very quickly.

Dave, I like your integrity as a journalist, but sometimes the story isn't the salacious bits. People are people. The migraines were a non-story.

Dave Price said...


I must say I struggled on whether the migraines were even worth mentioning as a story. Bachmann's reaction seemed to make it one for me, as well as how Pawlenty responded. Having said that, I agree the media can get side-tracked into "horse race" coverage and follow the name-caller. We need to stay focused on the issues that will help people decide whether Barack Obama should remain as president or whether the country needs a different leader. And I hope people will keep us on task.