Last week, Mr. Callahan published an article in this newspaper discussing media bias, specifically focusing on how the Cable News Network (CNN) and Fox News covered the issue of the “Right to Try Act” that was recently signed into law as of May 30 of this year. However, I feel as though there are some glaring flaws in both his framework in how the act itself was presented, but also in his implied argument of bias on the part of CNN. I would like, however, to preface myself. I consider Darby to be a good friend and a proud American with opinions that merely differ from my own. That being said, I consider it of the utmost importance that I respond to his article as not only does it fail to establish factual inaccuracies on the part of CNN, but it also fails to back up the benefits of the so-called “Right to Try” Act.
Right off the bat, Mr. Callahan points to the legislation and how it is the last resort for people to seek medication not tested by the FDA and indeed, this is true. The “Right to Try Act” does allow patients who are in dire states to bypass FDA regulations to seek out medication in the event they believe it will help said patients. However, he goes further than just that, arguing that Democrats were critical of the legislation, failing to mention that some anti-Trump legislators actively supported the act. Congressman Ted Lieu actively supported the move by Trump, tweeting: “Pleased [President Trump] signed the right to try bill. I voted for it because the current status quo is unacceptable. A close friend of mine was prescribed experimental medication but couldn’t get it because of the messed-up incentives for drug companies. She died of cancer” (Josh Hamblin, The Atlantic). I don’t in anyway think that Mr. Callahan intentionally omitted such things, but it is of the utmost importance to remember this law was just as much a medical and humane issue, as it is a political one. Making it solely political unjustly paints one side as biased and the other side as having the moral high ground.
Later in his article, he argues that the benefits of the act could save thousands of lives and goes so far as to quote the President’s statement on the issue. However, nowhere in his article does he provide evidence to support this assertion. In fact, he makes no attempt at explaining why he believes so firmly that this act will save lives rather than do the opposite. What he fails to address is the concerns of the opposition and summarizes their concerns as being liberal CNN going for the liberal agenda. One only need look at the ravaging and destructive nature of the opioid crisis to see how deregulating the medical industry has impacted the nation. Of the 200,000 people who died in 2016 from opioid abuse, 40 percent of them involved prescription medication and in that same year, death by prescription was five times more common than they were in 1999 as reported by the Center for Disease Control. From this framework, it becomes understandable as to why some would be concerned about such deregulated responses, especially for those in such a desperate. That being said, 40 different medical organizations have sent a letter to Congress condemning the move. (Josh Hamblin, the Atlantic). These organizations include the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and many more. (The link for their letter will be presented on the digital version of this article on MyDuhawk.com along with all other sources). This issue is far grayer than people would like to think and while Mr. Callahan may feel differently, I respectfully disagree with the move by the President as it is far too often presented as a simple act of human dignity rather than a complicated policy that affects countless lives and that simplifying it to “liberal CNN vs. Fox News” is damaging to the dialogue that surrounds the issue itself.
Are there biases in News? Absolutely! It is in human nature, but pretending like the concerns surrounding a public health issue are inherently political is not indicative of bias on the part of your opposition, but rather is indicative of how far American dialogue has fallen into conspiracy theories and distrust. If we are to ever come together as Mr. Callahan has stated he wants, then we need to address the points that are forced before us in their full context, not the context politicians demand us to see.