Newstalk – Capitol Hill shooting, US Government shutdown and Obamacare
Host: Jonathan Healy
Interviewee: Kevin Cullen
Show: Lunchtime on Newstalk
On October 3rd of this year, an unarmed woman was shot and killed by authorities following a car chase in Washington, D.C.
Miriam Carey, a 34 year old dental hygienist, had her one-year old daughter in the back seat when she reportedly tried to breach security barriers using her car at the White House and the Capitol.
In what was an intense and emotionally charged situation, the Secret Service and Capitol Police made critical decisions based on instinct and training.
When the mother of one refused to follow their commands, officers fired 17 shots over several minutes before one round killed the driver on the northeast side of the Capitol.
Of course, the officers couldn’t have known that Casey had been diagnosed with postpartum depression with psychosis and that her understanding of their initial orders may have been clouded by confusion and misjudgment.
Distinguishing people who are defiant because of bad intent from people who don’t understand or aren’t able to process commands is crucial in order to prevent needless deaths. In this radio segment from Newstalk, Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe briefly discusses this tragic incident before talking about the US government shutdown.
There are numerous things wrong with this podcast.
It abruptly opens with the interviewee, Mr Cullen, whose sympathies clearly lie with the trigger-happy police forces.
One of the main issues I had with this discussion is that Cullen claims that Mrs Casey “had run over people”, a detail which is factually incorrect.
Giving false information is simply unacceptable in journalism and for the Newstalk interviewer to remain completely oblivious shows that he too was ill-informed.
As the interview seeps into the issue of the US Government shutdown, Cullen mentions an incident where a member of Congress, Randy Neugebauer, confronted a U.S. Park Service Ranger over access to a closed World War II memorial.
The Republican Congressman’s belligerent comments were caught on camera as he said that she, along with other Park Rangers, “ought to be ashamed”.
Cullen wittily mentions the American flag jutting out of Neugebauer’s pocket, his blatant hypocrisy and the delicious irony of a Congressman telling someone that they should be ashamed of doing their job.
He says how there’s an internal battle within the Republican Party and that, currently, the prevalent voice is of the Tea Party conservatives.
I felt that it was important for him to mention this detail as there appears to be widespread confusion about the contributing factors to the shutdown.
One of the main issues of the shutdown is the provision of Obamacare and the Tea Party politicians’ disregard of the needs of American citizens.
As it stands presently, children are removed from health insurance policies as soon as they turn twenty-one, hence the reason why over 60 million Americans are uninsured.
If Obamacare is fully implemented, right-wing Conservatives and unscrupulous employers will be obliged to provide health care for workers and their families.
Although Cullen’s casual dialogue is easy to listen to, I thought that the topics were too heavy for witticisms and general indifference. Particularly for political analysis, the questions need to be clear and concise and the responses must be factually-based, well-rounded and comprehensible. All in all, I found the podcast to be quite muddled but reasonably interesting.