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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Reporters, Journalists, bloggers needed for questions

What are some of the reasons why some stories are covered/reported and others are ignored?

Earlier I was discussing this with Dr. Mary Johnson at her blog .

She and I have discussed this along with others for a couple of years now.

She believes that if her story was covered by local papers and blogs that it would make a difference not only for her personal story but also for all the young doctors. (Doc, if I did not say this correctly...please briefly explain.)

Ed and JR seem to catch the bulk of her criticism. There are many other journalists that could choose to cover this story. Simple question--- Why have you not? Others of course can offer opinions. Why does her story not merit some noticeable percentage (20% +/-) like Wray or Nifong?

My understanding ---she saved a young person's life, identified the Doctor that was negligent, had her day in court, important folks did not tell the truth, ruined her local career.....and the press does not seem to care.

Would Nifong still be employed if the press had not made the topic public?

thanks

22 Comments:

Blogger Don said...

Your premise is all wrong and unfortunately it is why we no longer have a community of bloggers. You make the assumption that people blog to cover the news, when in fact they blog about things that they are interested in.

We have been fragmented because of the politics of our blogs and have failed to realize that we still have some things in common - we blog.

March 9, 2008 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger meblogin said...

Don,

I almost left all the word blogger in the title as I was concerned that folks might relate only to blogging.

My question is directed to bloggers as well as mainstream media.

As you can tell from my blog...my primary focus is humor.

thanks

March 9, 2008 at 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Billy The Blogging Poet said...

Meblogin and Don both make very good points here and we in the local blogosphere (myself included) have not lived up to our own expectations. I, for one think it's time we did better and showed some support for Dr Johnson.

March 10, 2008 at 12:45 AM  
Blogger Roch101 said...

Instead of bemoaning that some bloggers aren't advocating for Dr. J, why don't you just dig in and get to work?

Some of us spent a lot of time looking into Dr. J's situation and just decided that we don't see it the way she does. Don't wag fingers at those who have researched this and have concluded that this is not a wrong that needs to be righted through blogs. Do your own research and advocate for her cause if you think there is something there, there.

March 10, 2008 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger meblogin said...

What did you and others find after doing the research? Please share just a few of the ideas that made this story seem at odds with her version.

From a couple of years ago I recall some saying that "she had her day in court...the end.." She says (I think) that her day in court was a sham due to the hospital administrators lying and that the proof of this is easily shown.

My point of this post uses her case as an example but it was not the intent to only focus on her subject. I am interested to hear from those in the industry what some of the guidelines are that make a story worth promoting/publishing.

March 10, 2008 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Roch101 said...

Dr. J settled her claim against the hospital and received financial compensation she considered adequate at the time.

She now complains that she accepted the settlement because her lawyer told her that it would not be taxed (and apparently was) and that hospital administrators hid information that would have revealed an ability for them to pay a higher amount to Dr. J.

If those things are true, Dr J. should have filed suit against her attorney and the hospital before the statute of limitations expired. She didn't do that. Instead, she ignored her lawyer and tried to get criminal perjury charges filed against the hospital administrators (but filed no criminal complaint, that I'm aware of). Prosecutors declined to pursue criminal perjury charges. Heavyweights from John Edwards to Howard Coble have declined to intervene on her behalf.

So, here we are, ten years after the events. The underlying question to ask is what does Dr. J expect? I won't put words in her mouth, but I will note that, ten years after the fact, there are no legal remedies available to Dr. J. That leaves what? The media?

What would a story about this issue look like? It would be a story about a doctor who settled a lawsuit ten years ago, later regretted it and failed to avail herself of the most effective remedies available to her when she began to think that she had settled for less than she could have. Does that sound like it would be of interest to anybody? Does that sound like it would placate Dr. J or right some wrong?

March 10, 2008 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Brenda Bowers said...

Don, I apologize to you for ruining your cozy little "community of bloggers". Gee whiz I should be spanked! But you see I am blogging about a topic that is very dear to me: justice. I want justice for David Wray and will not stop harping on it until something is done.

I don't know you but you sound like Sue and jw and a few more of the old guard. Well listen up: the internet is huge. There is room for all kinds of people and all kinds of "communities". Find yours and stick with it.

Mebloggin, I too would like to hear from Roch and what he found out that makes Mary's case unworthy. Strange that he would throw this statement out and not expect others to call him on it since he is the A#1 champ of questioning every little word let alone broad statements.

I personally bleed for Mary. She is a victim of the "big guys". She didn't get justice and probably never will. I truly wish that I could do more than just offer my friendship to Mary. BB

March 10, 2008 at 4:06 PM  
Blogger meblogin said...

I was not able to post Roch's response until coming home later.
(Brenda, he replied much earlier today)

His response is very interesting and different than what I would have expected. Thanks Roch. Please add more as you see fit.

It would be great if Doc Mary could respond to Roch's comments answering each of his with equally brief thoughts.

If Roch is anywhere near correct (I have no idea...) then it sounds like most all has been done that can be done.

I am a little surprised and sort of bummed out that none of our local journalist bloggers have posted any thoughts.

For those that are interested I have zero problem not posting any responses that are not professional and somewhat friendly in nature.

March 10, 2008 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger DR. MARY JOHNSON said...

Sorry I could not join this conversation earlier . . . but blogs are blocked by the large corporate medical healthcare system for which I currently work. If there are typos, I apologize. For I am FURIOUS with Roch and my fingers are flying.

Don, I and others were INVITED into this blogsphere by prominent local journalists on the premise of "citizen journalism". They were going to tell stories that otherwise would not get told.

JR & company TEAMED with Ed Cone (a well-named oftentime N&R columnist)and other prominent local bloggers to raise the profile of the N&R.

As my very first post on my blog indicated, I had a glimmer of hope. I finally saw light in the bottom of a journalistic black-hole. But all I found was a deeper black hole . . . a very ugly place where people could just POUND those they did not agree with (for mostly poltical reasons) into the ground.

JR/Cone/etc. are WHOLLY RESPONSIBLE for raising expectations that they then FAILED utterly to meet. Now, they've got the unmitigated gall to blame the people who BELIEVED their claptrap. Three years later after falling for the ruse, I've been banned from JR's blog. I'm a "troll" for repeatedly pointing out what a fraud he is.

Roch, I've pretty much had it with you. You spent a few hours perusing my blog (and maybe going through old newspaper reports - which did not begin to tell the whole story - something I have addressed over and over again). Yet you have NEVER offered to LOOK at the actual black and white EVIDENCE I have for perjury, contempt and fraud.

And let me correct some of what you said (without calling you a "liar" or attacking your character - as you have frequently done to me). I did NOT "ignore" my lawyer. He DUMPED me after I reported him to the State Bar . . . in part, for lying to me.

A lot of good that did. For let's be clear. Very much like the Medical Board, the State Bar protects its own.

Howard Coble DID, in fact, intervene on my behalf. His office expressed significant consternation with flip-flopping NHSC officials (for nine months, too lazy to consult their own lawyers - rather than parrot Randolph Hospital's) and at least got my malpractice tail insurance paid. Do I think he/his office could have done more? Sure. But even Congressmen can only get so far in the dance of jurisdiction.

You are correct that John Edwards blew me off. But we have a different definition of what constitutes a "heavy-weight".

And HOW in God's name can you say I did not "file" a criminal complaint? A written complaint was put into the Randolph County DA's hands - not once, but twice. The arrogant SOB has REFSUED to even talk to me! If he won't talk to me, he can't take a sworn complaint can he?

I also went to the local sheriff, and the police and a magistrate and tried to swear something out. NO ONE would do it - everyone kept referring me back to the DA - who to this day has refused to even take a damned phone call.

So WHERE THE HELL do you get off?

Multiple attorneys I have consulted both formally and informally (including a local judge and some outside DA's looking in) have opined that if things were being done in Randolph County the way they're supposed to be done, this case should have been referred to the NC Attorney General's office for an independent investigation when it was first reported in 2003.

The SBI told me that they could not investigate without a referral from Mr. Yates - and in fact, he essentially KILLED an investigation before it could start by making it clear he would not prosecute no matter what the SBI uncovered.

The problem is that Garland Yates is abusing his discretionary powers (in what I like to call a "reverse Nifong"), and short of public outrage forcing him to take action and refer the case on - he's not going to do anything.

That's where the journalists would come in. If we had any.

As we learned with Nifong (maybe Roch was not paying attention), in North Carolina the AG has to be ASKED to intervene by a DA. Now, I think the NCAG has the jurisdiction to take over the case (by virtue of the fact that I honorably fulfilled my end of public service agreements with both NC & US DHHS . . . and Randolph Hospital is a "non-profit" licensed by the state), but so far, our chief legal eagle, law & order Roy Copper, is ducking out.

Let's reiterate the guts of the story. A local doctor, brought to town with state and federal dollars, was driven out of town for standing up to the threats of "non-profit" administrators and saving a newborn baby's life. In the wake of the total destruction of her life & practice, she blew the whistle on a whole lot of badness.

This doctor naively thought "the system" would protect her and turned to our legal system. But our systems of oversight are beyond corrupt (as story after story rolling out of Raleigh these days prove). She has played by every rule - yet has been swatted down/blown off over and over again - by people who do not care about the rules at all - people who think they are better than the rest of us and above the law. I think people could get pretty pissed off over that - if they were only told.

More and more of my neighbors lately are reading my blog (having been kept completely in the dark by the Courier Tribune). And they're pretty P-O'd.

Roch, where public records are concerned, you seem to be of the opinion that the law should only work for YOU.

For instance, YOU want public records (WITHOUT filing a lawsuit . . . and we all know Sam is doing the heavy legal lifting) so they should be available to YOU.

In contrast, as a doctor formerly in state AND federal public service, I actually hired the lawyers and WENT to Court. I asked for information contained in public records. A judge ordered this information to be provided. But "non-profit" officials who fancied themselves above the law lied under Oath that the information was "confidential". They then negotiated a deal on the lie.

That's perjury (no statute of limitations). It's contempt. And it's fraud. These are CRIMINAL issues. Not civil ones. "Non-profit" executives do not get to walk into a court proceeding and lie.

Or is that your learned/no-legal-degree-know-it-all-from-the-comfort-of-a-keyboard position?

Would YOU "avail" yourself of the "opportunity" to file another civil complaint in a Court so corrupted? How much money do you have (to pay the lawyers), Roch? And what, pray tell, are you smoking?

What Randolph Hospital officials did (and have not been held IN ANY WAY accountable for) is IN NO WAY different from what Black and Wright and so many other public officials have been BUSTED and FULLY PROSECUTED for.

The NC Constitution is CLEAR that the victims of a CRIME have a right to fair redress and fair restitution . . . and in my case this can/should have happened LONG AGO through the DA's office.

I have legal options. I may shortly pursue them. Am I going to give them away here? No. Are you, Roch Smith, a self-appointed blogger-big-gun who has treated me worse than pond scum (don't you dare talk to me about "community") worth the considerable time I have spent spoon-feeding this case to you in order to get you to like me? No. Do I care one whit about what Roch Smith thinks anymore? No.

But if you're going to talk about my case, you're the one who needs to get his facts straight. You haven't done any REAL work here.

MeB's blog is about humor. But what you and your blogger pals have done to me (after I came to you for help) IS NOT FUNNY.

Thanks MeB, for putting this one up. And thanks Billy & Brenda.

March 10, 2008 at 8:20 PM  
Blogger Roch101 said...

Dr. J, putting aside your writings on things of which you know nothing, you wrote:

"Yet you have NEVER offered to LOOK at the actual black and white EVIDENCE I have for perjury, contempt and fraud."

I spent half a day reading every single document you had posted on your wed site when your issue first came to my attention. If you have posted additional documents since then, let me know, I'll take a look.

March 11, 2008 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger DR. MARY JOHNSON said...

Roch, I may just be a stupid red-county chick in your eyes, but I know plenty.

You're otherwise schmoozing now, and I will have none of it.

What I said to you here (in your quotes), I've said to you before. You've not paid any attention. As is your MO, you just smear and distort and leave and I have to clean up.

You've been asked some questions here (by others) that you did not answer. What makes me/my case unworthy of justice? I think it's a good question. Pray tell.

You've not been interested in my case before - except as something to dismiss as unimportant and irrelevant. Why now? Because you/Cone/JR have not been able to smear me off your scene? Because I'm getting some traction and traffic - both at home and on the blogs? Because people with hearts and souls are starting to listen?

After three years of being trashed, I've posted what I think about your legal expertise at my own blog.

You're not a journalist. You're not a regulatory agent or a law enforcement official. The criminal complaint which I drafted myself and put in the DA's hands (and which I have yet to be allowed to swear out as a formal complaint) has been online FOREVER. It spells everything out in excuciating legalistic detail. It would have been one helluva project to make all that stuff up. For your purposes it should be enough.

You'll forgive me if, at this late date, I take a pass on posting more documentation just so YOU can read it.

I have other options. I'd prefer to pursue them.

That being said, I will talk to any journalist in person to show the evidence to them. MeB is correct. The proof is easily shown.

Of course, no journalists have shown up on this thread.

March 11, 2008 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger meblogin said...

Hi Doc,

Post the stuff for me and those that may be new please.

I was looking around and found that your struggle is now 10 years old. Is that correct?

Were you able to get any press coverage back when you were in and out of court?

Where is Roch correct and incorrect?

It would be so sad if time has cost you justice.

If you chose to, could you rebuild a practice in Asheboro and practice at the local hospitals or do you prefer to have nothing to do with the locals?

Thanks and I bet you are one great Doc. You certainly do not give up which in my eyes is a huge positive for your medical practice as well as your legal struggle.

March 11, 2008 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger meblogin said...

It is very interesting that the local reporters have not posted.

Are you afraid to answer or just don't have a clue as to why one subject is printed and another not?

March 11, 2008 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger DR. MARY JOHNSON said...

MeB, I really appreciate your interest. I do. But I'm not posting anything else on the website - at least not right now. I have irons in the fire.

The criminal complaint is the second "Housecall" in the sidebar (and is linked frequently in my posts): "Non-profit Perjury and Contempt". Tells you all you need to know.

As for the rest, I've answered these questions over and over again on my blog, but for you, I will offer brief answers here.

I was given a five day "notice" on February 2, 1998 - and forced to sit out six months on the sidelines as an "employee" of RMA. They did not want me to compete. While I sat on the sidelines, they lied to my patients and absorbed my practice. They lost a number of unhappy patients to White Oak FP (whose doctors did not lift any fingers to help me - even though I had helped them on many occasions).

When I was fired, the press ignored it (except for publishing a few very tame "Letters to the Editor" in the Courier Tribune). When I filed my lawsuit - the Courier totally ignored it as a lowly employment matter. But when the hospital sued me, it was front page news - humiliating me and my family. When the cases were settled in my favor, it was played down as a second-page "short-take" (the paper covered Morrison's embarrassing retreat). Many of my patients had no idea I had been vindicated.

I've answered your question about Roch on my blog today. I have legal options. I choose not to discuss them online at this time.

Perjury does not have a statute of limitations in NC.

I want to come home. And I have considered starting an outpatient practice in Randleman - and send all inpatient matters to Cone. But that grates because (1) I do not wish to go into massive debt at this age in order to get something off the ground (where a proper settlement in the first place would have helped), (2) I like inpatient work, and (3) because it rewards Cone (an institution that is not without some guilt in this matter - again, today's post speaks to that).

It is not safe for me to practice at Randolph Hospital while Morrison and Eblin remain employed and unpunished. I have outlined all of the very good reasons for this theory in posts on my blog.

I am not surprised you've been ignored by the "journalists". The silent treatment I've gotten by JR/Cone/etc. is very telling at this point.

Now you know what it's like to be me.

March 11, 2008 at 11:49 PM  
Blogger meblogin said...

"Now you know what it's like to be me."

Nah...you get to save lives and help the little ones...how much better could it get?

It may be that my little blog is not on many "must read" lists and that our local journalists have not read any of this. It could also be that due to my referencing your case they chose the sideline.
I understand why they might but was hopeful that a couple would share a different perspective.

I don't see any of them as mean or unfair...just doing their jobs and trying to earn a living.

When do you predict that you will be able to put your newest plans into action? Many of us hope for the best.

PS... I thought Roch did a great job of adding to the content with a different perspective.

March 12, 2008 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger DR. MARY JOHNSON said...

It would be much better if I were vindicated and could come home to do exactly that - without looking over my shoulder for the next knife in the back.

In some cases, it takes more than "hope". Again, that's what journalists are for. Too bad we don't have any.

I think Roch's "perspective" is blinded by his red-hot and poorly-disguised hatred of me . . . a hatred fueled by our political differences . . . as well as the very qualities you admire (i.e. my preserverance and tenacity in terms of fighting back).

Plainly and simply, he and Cone and JR want me off the scene. I threaten their status quo.

For instance, today, without warning, Roch (as curator) suddenly moved my blog listing on "We101" from Greensboro (where it has been for quite some time) to Asheboro.

It was an act of pure malice (retaliation for my last post - which answered misleading and inaccurate statements he made in this thread).

The sudden move was clearly designed to reduce traffic and hits to my blog . . . now that others in our little blogging "community" are taking a more sympathetic view of my plight.

I, of course, am working on a post about what happened.

Roch's sudden, selective parsing of geography is not just an act of malice.

It is an act of cowardice.

March 12, 2008 at 6:28 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

"It is an act of cowardice."

It's more than that.

It's arrogance, as well as intellectual and academic dishonesty.

I'll have a blog post with all the details tomorrow.

March 12, 2008 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger meblogin said...

I have met Roch and found him to be professional and willing to assist those in need.

I don't have a clue what happened with your blog being Greensboro or Asheboro. Perhaps Roch can explain.

If it requires the DA to start the ball rolling....then how did folks get around Nifong? Can you use the same method?

Maybe an attorney can explain what remedy is available in this special case. It sounds like the DA is friends with those that committed perjury.

March 13, 2008 at 11:42 PM  
Blogger DR. MARY JOHNSON said...

You and I have different experiences with Roch.

Folks "got around" Nifong with (1) money . . .the defendents all came from well-to-do/well-connected families - that's why they were at Duke . . . and (2) the press.

The people who committed perjury in this instance have their fingers in all the pies. And yes, they have friends in high places - I would suspect Raleigh as well - given the stone wall that's been put up.

March 14, 2008 at 8:21 AM  
Anonymous GsoFan said...

Dr. Johnson said ... JR/Cone/etc. are WHOLLY RESPONSIBLE for raising expectations that they then FAILED utterly to meet.

I believe they provided Dr. Johnson with a forum, but it's not within their power to simply provide the result she wants.
What expectation did they fail to meet? It's her story.

March 15, 2008 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger meblogin said...

That is a good question gsofan.

I bet the Doc has answers.

March 15, 2008 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger DR. MARY JOHNSON said...

And, with respect I've already answered that question, many times, on my blog.

Sidebar posts (Housecalls):

"The Courier Tribune and Why I Blog"

"The Greesboro News & Record Through the Eyes of a Burned Citizen Journalist"

And (of course) "SideConed"

Those are long answers.

The short answer is that Randolph Hospital and Cone Healthcare System have strong financial/economic ties - which are played up or played down at the discretion of the hospitals and the newspapers (which live in these hospitals pockets). Advertising dollars affect headlines. It's really very simple.

The "Cone Connection" is strong in this story of woe. And it is probably the biggest reason it has been buried from the beginning . . . by the local MSM and by the GSO blogger elite. It all started when I rescued a critically-ill baby from the "ministrations" of a doctor employed by a Cone affiliate (marketed by Randolph as having special skills in Neonatology he did not possess). I was supposed to look the other way and keep my mouth shut. It was "embarrassing".

Well yeah. Damned straight it was. But the Cone doc is still employed. The doctor who rescued the baby was thrown out on the street.

In this case, a journalistic "forum" means a story in the newspapers. It means public attention and some investigative journalism. It might just be a refreshing break from all the racially-charged garbage from "pulpit forums" we're reading now . . . and something someone could actually fix (as opposed to a thirty-year-old very ugly history lesson that was vetted several times through the courts).

As for the blogs, it's my observation and experience that Ed Cone is very good at dropping and/or trading on his name.

Just not for fellow blogger, Mary Johnson.

Six words: One does not take on Cone.

Again, Nifong would not have gone down without public outrage being generated by the newspapers. I don't rate. And I know I don't rate because I have taken on deeply entrenched, very corrupt systems of healthcare (and legal) oversight. I took on the name brand in healthcare around here. This story is "bad for business". I am an economic threat now - as in the beginning I was a competitive threat to Randolph. I had to be destroyed.

Sue/Roch/Ed/and now even Sam would have me just shut up, get over all of it and move on.

That is so not going to happen. Asheboro is my home.

So, in short. Provding a "forum" is not what I would call what John Robinson and his alliance with some of the GSO blogging elite have provided.

It was more like putting a naked Christian in the lions' den.

Remember, this month I was banned at JR's for the sin of saying on his blog what so many others are saying on theirs - and it was done without so much as a warning or a whimper. Again (like Roch), JR cited "terms of use" which he seems to rather liberally (get it?) and selectively interpret. JR is not an aggregator, so I could barely give a rat's tail.

As for Ed Cone, he delinked me from his list of community voices after I publicly called him on his behavior with "SideConed".

And now we have Roch - who has backtracked from his own "ban" at We101 - because instead of just rolling over into a hole and crying/dying, I put a spotlight on his despicable & cowardly marginalizing tactics.

Does anyone else not think that this community of the blogging elite has gotten a little too slap-happy with the delinking and banning? A "voice at the table"? Please. Maybe as they all sit around plotting who they're going to target and squash/silence next.

Others in the blogosphere have done much better jobs with providing "forums".

And with that, I must thank MeB here.

I'll note we're still getting the silent treatment from Roch. No explanations. No apology to those inconvenienced by the convenient (for him) "glitches" at We101.

March 16, 2008 at 8:49 AM  

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