A CNN contributor and former Clinton White House fellow, who primarily worked with then-first lady Hillary Clinton, has been caught doing something the Clintons have turned into an art form — playing fast and loose with the truth.
CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has apparently been afflicted with Brian Williams Syndrome, an ailment characterized by an irresistible impulse to exaggerate one’s exploits and, consequently, one’s worth.
But he wasn’t infected by Williams. Williams is NBC; Gupta is CNN.
No, he had to have picked it up from his association with the Clinton administration.
Who can forget Hillary Clinton’s moment of braggadocio during her first presidential campaign, when she described in vivid detail landing in Bosnia as first lady under sniper fire and running for her life?
Except it never happened.
Like Clinton, like Gupta.
Gupta, a neurosurgeon, boasted that he went to Nepal after its devastating April earthquake and performed a lifesaving brain operation on a girl who’d suffered injuries to her skull, the New York Post reported, citing the Global Press Journal.
“She has a fractured skull, a blood clot, and her brain is swelling,” Gupta said in footage CNN had later aired.
He’s shown standing next to a girl identified as Salina Dahal, 8, who is lying on a stretcher.
“Without emergency surgery, she’ll have permanent damage,” Gupta announces in the clip. “Or, like so many other earthquake victims, she’ll die.”
The following scene depicts the doctor dressed in scrubs in the operating room, where he proclaims, “Salina will live.”
Thank heavens for Dr. Gupta, right? Not according to the Post, which reported:
But Salina never had brain surgery — or surgery of any kind — and was treated only for a broken wrist and some minor head wounds, the website said.
Gupta did assist in a brain operation on another girl, Sandhya Chalise, 14 — and now the network and Gupta are scrambling to explain how its report went wrong.
After the truth came out, Gupta appeared on CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday to walk back his previous assertions.
“What has been flagged for us is the patient that I operated on may not have been this 8-year-old girl, but rather, separately, a 14-year-old girl in that same hospital during that immediate aftermath of the earthquake,” he explained to anchor Chris Cuomo.
The network also tried to smooth things over. The Post reported:
A CNN spokeswoman released a statement indicating that Gupta might not have been fully aware of who was on his operating table, the Global Press Journal said.
Gupta was asked to assist in a craniotomy on a “young girl,” the spokeswoman says, but adds, “All the patient information including name and age was provided to Dr. Gupta by the hospital,” the website reported.
Although he’s now know as a CNN personality, from 1997 to 1998 Gupta was one of fifteen White House Fellows, working primarily as an advisor to then-first lady Hillary Clinton.
As the world knows, Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have been known to bend the truth when it suited their needs.
The former president was impeached for lying to the press; the former first lady has been caught in a series of falsehoods and exaggerations, and was even fired from a congressional staff position for lying when she was a young lawyer.
Apparently this affliction is contagious.
When the Post asked folks on social media if Gupta was the next Brian Williams, they had plenty to say:
— MR (@MrMreardon23) July 9, 2015
@nypost Yes, I hope so! Can’t stand the smug jerk!
— Craig (@craig10470) July 9, 2015
@nypost “I was there” 2.0
— Kyla Nikole (@bpitohb) July 9, 2015
@nypost Don’t leave out Hillary and her “under fire” in Bosnia.
— mike smith (@msmith586777) July 9, 2015
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