As ‘All New Breaking News’ recycles the so-called ‘Manning ‘Situation’, a pattern has emerged. It’s not limited to this case by any means. It’s the on-going practice of reporters deciding what is and isn’t news. There was a day when I’m told that at least there was a senior editor involved. I’m even told that they often brought a semblance of integrity—- or at least some degree of direction. That era, if it ever existed, is long gone.
There are no Edward R. Murrows left. For that matter, there are no Bob Woodwards. Woodward writes on things of substance. Rather than chase down and report on more important things like Presidential privilege and limits, we’re treated to an ongoing game of ‘gotcha’, generally played by minor league reporters.
Major league reporters aren’t immune, either. It was only a few years back that you couldn’t turn on the ‘news’ without being besieged with images, stories and interviews on two of the apparently most important public figures of our time — Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Peter Jennings, Brian Williams, CNN, MSNBC, Larry King and Fox News clamored about them.
The ‘news’ was often limited to following or interviewing flighty young women who were young and foolish. Things like the economy were ignored. After all, it wasn’t like we were facing a war, a major recession or anything.
On New Year’s Eve, 2015, the Denver Post ran multiple articles that mostly rehashed what we already knew about the Manning kerfluffle. Very little was actually news, but news is no longer the purpose of most of the ‘news’ outlets. This quote is representative.
"The allegation in the program is that HGH is being sent out to Ashley Manning (his wife) in Florida," [Deborah] Davies, the narrator of the ‘The Dark Side’ ‘schlock-umentary’ said. "What we are saying is that raises serious questions: How much was sent? What was the duration of those shipments? How much money was spent on it? And what was the purpose of the drug?"
Let’s look at this through the oft-ignored lens of logic. The reporter who created this story is simply defending her own apparently shoddy work. She’s not an unbiased party. She’s trying to make a name and to sell this for a few more news cycles. The question to us is, does her story add up at all?
To begin: "The allegation in the program is that HGH is being sent out to Ashley Manning (his wife) in Florida."
I’m glad that she used proper language here. That is, indeed, an allegation. According to Dictionary.com, the word ‘allegation’ simply means that something was alleged. We can agree there. The second definition of allegation is, “an assertion made with little or no proof.” That’s what Davies is selling: vaporware. The burden of proof is on the reporter. She’s failed.
“...raises serious questions” I have one. Can Davies prove one single allegation she’s made regarding Peyton Manning?
Ashley Manning has a legal right to privacy regarding her medical records. She may or may not have receivef HGH through the mail. I’ve seen no evidence either way. She’s under no burden to prove or disprove anything.
That’s as it should be. Her medical records are none of my, Sly’s or Davies’ business. The idea that they in some way constitute wrongdoing is immaterial — they are legally protected unless subpoenaed. Extraordinary claims - and this is certainly one - require extraordinary proof.
I have not seen insufficient proof of Davies claims — I’ve found no proof whatsoever. Innuendo is not evidence. It’s simply gossip by another name.
What we do know is, by Davies' own admission, is that her claims regarding the Mannings hinge on the testimony of an unpaid pharmacy intern who claims to be a major figure in illicit PEDs. He may have obtained Ashley’s 2011 medical records in 2013. Davies still swears that this intern, Charles Sly, was ‘employed’ by the Guyer Institute in 2011. The Institute denies this. So does Sly.
What interests me is that no records of his employment have ever been produced. Where are his pay stubs? Legally, he has to have tax records. They should show that he was employed there in 2011. Where are they? Are there signatures showing that he sent or delivered packages in 2011?
No. There’s nothing. Moving on:
"What we are saying is that raises serious questions: How much was sent? What was the duration of those shipments? How much money was spent on it? And what was the purpose of the drug?"
Through Davies, Al Jazeera allegedly claims that Ashley Manning’s healthcare “raises serious questions.” Notice that suddenly she’s gone from having ‘serious questions’ to demanding ‘what was the purpose of the drug?’ What drug? Where is any substantiation?
This does raise serious questions as to how an unpaid pharmacy intern could illegally obtain Mrs. Manning’s medical records. Davies is not legally liable, although her comments show her to be prejudiced, unprofessional, and anything but thorough. Sly, though, has broken the law. I hope he receives full justice for it.
“How much was sent?” How about providing proof that anything was sent first?
“What was the duration of those shipments?” What shipments? Where are these shipping records?
‘How much money was spent’, is an equally meaningless question. We have no proof that anything was sent or received. How much nothing is nothing?
The alternate question, “for what diagnosis?” has been callously ignored. There is an assumption of guilt here. That’s legally inappropriate, but common in our rumor-ridden world.
“How much money was spent on it? And what was the purpose of the drug?"
It? Spent on what, exactly? If Davies has a medical record that shows Ashley receiving HGH or PEDs, where is it? That’s important. It will provide evidence at Sly’s trial for violating the HIPAA laws.
As to “How much money”, the question remains “For what?” Equally, ‘...what was the purpose of the drug’, leaves us to speculate on whether anything was ever delivered and how we are to know this/these phantom delivery(s) were for a ‘drug’. Claiming there’s a drug involved is unproven and unprofessional.
Legally, Ashley doesn’t need to answer any of this steaming mess. Morally, she doesn’t either. Neither would you. The key point is that no evidence exists that Peyton Manning ever took anything illicit.
As Edward R. Murrow once said, “We cannot make good news out of bad practice.” The final question on this is this.
How gullible are we?
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