Cancer Expert Discusses Dangers of McCain's Health Record Secrecy

11/04/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"If there's limitation to the transparency of anybody's medical records, it always raises the suspicion, 'What are they hiding?'..."  Those were the words of Dr. Richard Sagebiel, co-director of the UCSF Melanoma Clinic and Friday's special guest on Meet the Bloggers.  Dr. Sagebiel is one of over 2,750 doctors who signed the open letter urging John McCain to provide full disclosure of his medical records.  And really, "What are they hiding?" is the question we need to be asking ourselves again and again as this story unfolds.

What is McCain hiding?  He released a portion of his medical records back in May under extremely restricted circumstances, allowing a handful of hand-picked reporters to view nearly 1,200 pages for just three hours, without the use of the Internet, cell phones, or copying equipment.  As The Nation's Ari Melber pointed out during Friday's show, most of these journalists were not medical experts.  But even if they were, this was an insufficient amount of time to examine so many pages of McCain's health history.  That's why CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta--one of the journalists who got to see this portion of medical records--told Sam Stein at The Huffington Post that McCain's lack of candor amounted to "cloak and dagger" secrecy. 

And why is the corporate press censoring any discussion about McCain's medical records?  Friday's Meet the Bloggers came in part because both CNN and MSNBC refused to air Brave New PAC's ad about McCain's record secrecy.  Both complained about the graphic images in the ad--images that both networks aired earlier this year.  Even more amazingly, MSNBC actually banned the ad after shock jocks Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh self-righteously ranted about it

McCain is the most public of public figures right now.  We have the right to know about his health history because it could interfere with his ability to lead and become a national security issue.  Particularly given his bouts of invasive cancer like melanoma.  Particularly when actuarial math indicates McCain stands a 1-in-4 chance of NOT surviving a second term.  As HuffPo's Charles Karel Bouley said during the show,  You want to know if your airline pilot has blackouts.  You want to know if your doctor has a drug problem.  And you need to know if your president is going to drop dead in office or has a higher chance than most."

With a month to go until the election, it seems unlikely McCain will come clean about his records unless there is public outcry loud enough to bypass McCain's evasiveness and corporate media censorship.  We must raise political pressure on McCain and we're running out of time to do it.  That's why Brave New PAC took out a full-page ad in Friday's NY Times, and that's why Meet the Bloggers dedicated a full show to McCain's health records.  Now it falls to you to continue spreading Brave New PAC's censored ad and the open letter so that we can force full disclosure.  

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