My first reaction was that the media would raise concerns that he “jumped the line” and got his heart before others who were waiting longer. Also, I was waiting for reports that someone his age should not receive a new heart when others, much younger, were waiting in line.
My expectations were proven correct when several networks raised these questions and almost all liberal cable talking heads frothed at the mouth with outright allegations of favoritism.
However, the allegations and feigned concerns about fairness were immediately hamstrung because:
- It was discovered that Mr. Cheney waited over three times longer—20 months as opposed to the standard 6 months—than other recipients do for a heart transplant.
- Other than his heart, Cheney is in good health and he has proven over many years that he is a fighter with a survivor’s mindset.
- Medical advances have given older people a much greater chance of survival after a heart transplant.
Major media dropped the aggressive stance on the fairness issue by the Monday following the transplant. They immediately saw that the allegations were totally baseless and any attempt to cast the story in a negative light would be transparent. Dan Rather taught the media years ago that misrepresenting the facts has consequences.
They also quickly realized that telling the millions of elderly viewers, readers and listeners who frequented their shows and newspapers and bought their advertisers products, that they shouldn’t be allowed to live, was a poor strategy.
Anyway, something nice happened and as a result, a conversation was borne regarding the advances in heart treatment and how age—regarding a heart transplant—is not a factor in many cases. Much of the media participated in a factual and positive manner.