In case you haven’t noticed, I pay attention to the way media covers certain current events and topical stories.
Many of you out there in “News Consumer Land” may just read, watch or listen to media reports as they break throughout the day without giving a passing thought to why or how the content is constructed, or who decided to construct it in the first place, but not me. If there is anything unusual with the coverage of a certain news event, or the details surrounding it, I am on it like white on rice. Occupational hazard, I suppose.
Thirty-two years in the business can make you cynical to be sure, but more than that, forever curious about “who, where, why, when and how” decided to cover a particular story a particular way.
And so it was that I began to digest all the coverage of the very unusual birth of Augustan Brittany Crafton’s conjoined twin boys. The first local anticipated live birth of conjoined twins in my lifetime. The story fascinates me, and inspires more than just a little concern and fear for the wellbeing of the tiny souls in question. The fact that 26-year-old Brittany was committed to bringing these babies into the world, and loving them no matter their handicaps or afflictions was also inspiring. In a world where so many healthy and normal pregnancies are flushed away like yesterday’s garbage, this is a special glimpse inside the heart of a very brave young woman.
So kudos and God’s blessings to her for that.
Crafton and her babies received awesome coverage from all our local TV stations and the daily paper. Special commendation to Lindsay Tuman at News 12 (WRDW) for her in-depth, almost five-minute-long profile. It was the most complete report on Crafton for TV, by far.
But even that report was missing an important detail. All the other coverage also seemed to be missing the same important information.
Where was the dad?
(Cue the ominous music.)
Over the course of the last decade we have been witness to some inspirational local media coverage involving some heroic, and some tragic, medical interventions.
The incredible life of Daniel Moretz comes to mind. His all too short time on this planet was a profile in courage, rarely seen by men five times his age. We came to know Daniel, and his parents David and Julie, his brother Lee and his sister Morgan, through their years long battle with the young man’s congestive heart failure. Despite his eventual death at the age of 14, the Moretz family gave Daniel an amazing life and, in return, he gave them, and all of us, amazing inspiration.
The recent struggles of the Simkins family is another example. Brennan Simkins has been battling leukemia since his seventh birthday, and the so far successful pursuit of his eventual cure has introduced the world to his wonderful parents Turner and Tara, and his supportive brothers (and golf buddies) Nat and Christopher. Brennan’s dad has even written an incredibly well received and wonderfully reviewed book about the process called “Possibilities.” If you have not read this work, I strongly recommend it. The Simkins’ story is still being written, and it features a vast array of family, friends and physicians, all working for Brennan’s continuing miracle.
And finally I am reminded of the story of Aimee Copeland. This amazing young woman was followed by well wishers world wide as she fought for her life against an insidious flesh eating bacteria, right here in our own Doctor’s Hospital, Joseph Still Burn Center. There were news crews from all over getting updates for weeks as the beautiful college student finally conquered the mysterious illness, but not before it claimed both of her hands and feet.
During her two-month stay in our own backyard, Aimee’s father Andy was a regular guest on my afternoon radio show, and her mother Donna, and beautiful red-headed younger sister Paige, also became minor media celebrities in that time. The whole world wanted to know how the family was doing, and what we could do to help her re-build her life.
So yes, Augusta’s collection of medical wonder tales usually come with supporting casts that remain in your heart and mind long after the story has been shared.
It was with curiosity and genuine concern that I asked the question following all the media coverage of the Crafton babies historic birth this week: “Where is the Dad?”
At the time I pen this column, the Facebook post posing this question (on The Austin Rhodes Show page) has been up about 10 hours. In that time, 540 comments have been posted, and at least 23,000 people have clicked on the post to read or respond further. Way more than half appear to be vehemently opposed to the fact that I asked the question, “Where is the Dad?”
Here are a few of those responses:
Valerie Middleton: Let’s put it out on the table and stop talking in codes….It is ASSUMED that because she is a BLACK WOMAN, she is on welfare and waiting on stamps every month to feed her 8 kids fathered by 8 different daddies….I can respect a person more if they just come out and say what they TRULY mean….I may not like it, but I can respect it. …No matter how ignorant I think they TRULY are….Racism speaks loud and clear on this post in codes that is…..DONE!!
K.K. Bynum: Y’all so MF ignorant.. BTW Austin go play in traffic.. Can’t stand your racist ass.. I hope if you have a daughter she gets with a black man gets her pregnant then leaves.. No I’m not a single mother (married) but my mom was. And she definitely didn’t need any help.. Y’all fail to realize black woman as strong these days and don’t want a man.. Better yet why won’t you ask her punk!!! The nerve of you just to assume the dad isn’t around.. Just because there were no pics of him doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist… BASTARD
Jackie Renee: It’s not a fair question stupid ppl! It would be a fair question to ask to yourself or in your head but it’s RACIST when you go on a media site with it trying to be funny adding that comment at the of your statement that’s much shade NOONE IS STUPID…pretty much common sense what you were implying AND FOR ALL THE PPL DEFENDING HIM RACIST TOO!
So there you have it. Daring to inquire about the rest of the nuclear family in a case such as this is not only unacceptable, it is racist. Or so some people would have you believe.
I am concerned about the expense of the practical care for these children so much that I contributed to the gofundme page set up in their honor, and I ask that you do the same if you are able. It is listed under “2 Smiles 1 Heart.”
And be careful who you ask, “where is the dad.” For some reason, that seems to be a loaded question these days.