Posted by: jbunn | July 20, 2009

current events – mental health issues

Why is it that the media feels the need to portray senators as mentally unstable? Are they mental health professionals? As we discussed in class, the criteria for mental health stability is full of grey areas and diagnoses should only be made by professionals.

NYT reports on “Republicans Looking for a Reliever in Kentucky” while discussing the re-election of Sen. Jim Bunning for 2010. The NYT reports of his “behavior issues” calling him “a bit of a screwball,” after saying that they are sticking with a baseball theme (Sen. Jim Bunning was a hall of fame pitcher before entering a career in politics). They then go on to say that he prefers to limit references to his hall of fame baseball career in concern of being pigeonholed as just “a great baseball man”. The later refer of a TIME magazine report in 2006 which named him one of the five worst senators in the country.

TIME also ran a story titled “Why Senate Republicans Want to Bench Jim Bunning”, also a play on his baseball career. They too refer to thier prior study naming him one of the five worst senators in thier article with a link to the article.

Newbusters wrote an article about the NYT article titled “NYT Says GOP Sen. Bunning ‘Bit of Screwball,’ May Be Mentally Unfit”. They say, “Why go after Bunning so harshly? It’s not like the House and Senate are free of cantankerous Democrats who make inflammatory comments. Rep. Pete Stark and senior Democrat and former Klansman Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia would seem to be prime, pompous targets for a Leibovich cutdown. But he hasn’t profiled them.”

To set the record straight, Jim Bunning is not suffering from mental problems. He is certainly a far-right republican, and occasionally makes remarks that are not condusive to his political career, but he is definately not mentally unstable in any way. Why does the media enjoy portraying politicians as mentally unstable with little to know solid proof?

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