Seemingly desperate to score another point against President Donald Trump’s administration, The New York Times ran a piece last week that linked a non-recent spate of cancer diagnoses in a Trump-supporting Indiana county to the president’s allegedly harmful environmental policies.
Never mind that the majority of the diagnoses happened before Trump stepped into office, and never mind that the industrial facility that allegedly triggered the outbreak has been out of use for decades.
“The children fell ill, one by one, with cancers that few families in this suburban Indianapolis community had ever heard of,” the Times wrote ominously. “An avid swimmer struck down by glioblastoma, which grew a tumor in her brain. Four children with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Fifteen children with acute lymphocytic leukemia, including three cases diagnosed in the past year.”
As the diagnoses began piling up, local families started researching possible causes and discovered an old industrial site nearby that was supposed to have been cleaned up decades ago, but that has been leaking carcinogenic plume into the ground and causing dangerous fumes to be emitted into homes.
What do these events in Johnston County have to do with Trump? Everything, according to the Times.
When children fell ill, one by one, with cancers few families in Franklin had ever heard of, they put it down to misfortune. But recent tests have identified a carcinogenic plume spreading underground, releasing vapor into homes. My latest, via @NYTimes https://t.co/VvObtL5FM7
— Hiroko Tabuchi (@HirokoTabuchi) January 2, 2019
“Now, families in a county that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump are making demands of his administration that collide directly with one of his main agendas: the rolling back of health and environmental regulations,” the left-wing publisher opined.
But these alleged rollbacks clearly had nothing to do with what happened in Franklin. And there is no evidence to suggest that another Franklin would occur because of these alleged rollbacks.
Nevertheless, the Times claimed that the Trump administration wants to “weaken restrictions” on trichloroethylene (TCE), a harmful chemical used in “aerosol spray degreasers, spot-cleaning agents in dry cleaning, and vapor degreasing.”
That’s false. Though the Obama administration announced plans in early 2017 to ban TCE, when the Trump administration took over it discarded those plans. Instead of just letting the issue rest, however, the admin did place the chemical on a “long term action” list.
“At 21.7 cases of pediatric cancer per 100,000 children, Johnson County’s rate puts it in the 80th percentile among counties nationwide, according to data for 2011-2015 from the National Cancer Institute,” the Times continued. “Both the national and Indiana average are fewer than 18 pediatric cancers per 100,000 children.”
Not only is that not a notable outlier, but this anecdotal anomaly doesn’t prove anything. In fact, Dr. Paolo Boffetta, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine New York, even admitted as much to the Times.
While he conceded that “[y]ou don’t expect to see so many cancers in a relatively small community,” he reportedly stressed that there’s little research linking childhood cancers to TCE.
“Motria Caudill, a scientist at the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which investigates environmental hazards, said at a community meeting in Franklin in November that it was still too early to draw conclusions,” the Times added.
This raises the question, what was the point of this piece? And why did it contain 20 references to the president, when the known facts show that the outbreak has little to nothing to do with him?
The point of the piece may perhaps be discovered in responses it’s spurred on social media:
This story is an absolutely horrifying example of the contempt Trump has for the very people that elected him President https://t.co/jvZc8qHVb0
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) January 3, 2019
I have personally stood in the street to collect donations for a child who died due to cancer. When will we stop locking up addicts and start locking up the real criminals in this country who are poisoning our people? #lockhimup https://t.co/IhtZ5mx6m4
— Richard N. Ojeda, II (@VoteOjeda2020) January 3, 2019
You’re right bacteria person, but there are plenty of environmental disasters we can squarely blame Trump for encouraging. Here’s one for you: https://t.co/rV2LcnNSu5
— Debra (@drdeblk) January 5, 2019
A @realDonaldTrump PIG DOG 2016 County Confronts the Administration Amid a Rash of Child Cancers – The New York Times
Wake Up, @GOP.
You are getting CONNED by the MOST CORRUPT President in US History. https://t.co/lBQSuBeC04
— Wick Beavers (@WickBeavers) January 4, 2019
Wake up people, Donald Trump does not care about you or your children. He is NOT surrounding himself with people who are knowledgeable or care!https://t.co/jN6aMhioA0
— Colleen Schulz (@ColleenSchulz) January 4, 2019
Worth your time. This one will stay with you. I’m about a year over the ‘Trump supporters still support Trump’ articles, but this one shows how low those people go (spoiler alert: there is no bottom). https://t.co/K6wztdAX5N
— Jason Reineke (@jasonreinekephd) January 4, 2019
A Trump County laments that trump admin is weakening, not strengthening restrictions against chemicals traced to anomalous rates of cancers in their community but not so much that they don’t still support them. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?? https://t.co/R1H0dr8eQ8
— No time for the ignorant (@boxsterman77) January 6, 2019
It’s like a meeting of the “I Hate Trump” club. Coincidence? Probably not.
The latter tweeter was correct to note that some citizens of Johnston County still support the president, despite the Times’ attempt to link him to the cancer spate.
“I see good things that Trump has done,” Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett said. “The economy’s good. There’s been a lot of investment into our city.”
Mind you, he had some criticism as well.
“When it comes to public health, we can go against party lines,”he continued. “And I don’t agree with trying to roll back the E.P.A.’s role. Back in the day, there weren’t any rules. That’s why there was so much contamination.”
Except Trump’s not trying to roll back the agency’s roll. He’s just trying to roll back former President Barack Hussein Obama’s disastrous influence on it. And despite the belief otherwise, by hardcore leftists, it may just be for the best.
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