Fox ad sparks controversy
I saw the ad last night. There was Michael Fox, speaking about stem cell research. He says one candidate supports it, the other opposes it. Then he implies (in my opinion) that if you vote for the one candidate, then certain diseases like his own can be cured. The whole time he is writhing to and fro, clearly having difficulty controlling his own body movements. I saw the ad. And I simply disagree with Fox. I don’t think voting for one candidate will cure disease and I don’t see any scientific evidence that embryonic stem cell research will lead to miracle cures. I’ve seen theory, but no evidence.
Now for the controversy. Rush Limbaugh suggested that Fox may have been intentionally off of his medication to ad drama to the commercial. He is dead wrong and such a suggestion is unfair. As a physician, I’ll say that the medications used for Parkinson’s have some dramatic side effects including inducing writhing movements like those seen on the ad. Further, when Limbaugh says something like that it detracts from the message that many people simply disagree with Fox and, not only that, but also he was a little misleading when he said the Republican senate candidate did not support stem cell research. But that gets lost when Limbaugh makes the comment that Fox "wasn’t on his medication". It makes him look like he’s picking on someone with Parkinson’s Disease. In short, it makes him look mean.
But, there are people who were upset with this ad, and they have a point in contending that it was done in poor taste. Is Fox exploiting Parkinson’s Disease for political purposes? I personally don’t think so. He has a right to support whomever he chooses for whatever reason. The fact that he has money allows him to run ads during the World Series, but he earned that money himself so more power to him. But I can see how some would take offense. For example:
I could place a camera in the delivery room while a partial birth abortion is performed. I could film the process, film the needle puncturing the baby’s skull, film the last minutes of that child’s life. Or I could simply show pictures of dead babies and say "candidate X supports partial birth abortion, candidate Y does not. If you vote for candidate X, then you vote for partial birth abortion."
I wonder what kind of outrage such an ad would generate? Once again, the media double standard would rear its ugly head. But I wouldn’t have a problem with anyone making such an ad, just like I don’t have a problem with Fox’s ad. Limbaugh shouldn’t speak about medical matters that he knows nothing of, and instead of criticizing Fox the right thing to do would be to make a counter ad – which is exactly what’s being done. Democracy at its finest.