Have we reached a point where a positive story about a political candidate whose views are considered unacceptable by the media elites won't get widely covered even when it's virtually dropped in their laps?
One can't help but suspect that's the case with Rick Santorum. February 13, the Detroit Free Press carried a moving story by Kathleen Gray about how the parents of a Michigan girl with Trisomy 18, the same disease from which his Santorum's daughter Bella suffers, credit the former senator's detailed and determined suggestions in the midst of their daughter's fight with saving her life. Read the whole thing; what follows are selected excerpts, starting with a downplaying headline:
Rick Santorum's advice helps metro Detroit family with Trisomy 18 child
Brad Smith was a desperate man.
His 22-month-old daughter, Faith, was in the hospital in the fall of 2010. Again. She was ashen, unresponsive and, he feared, close to death.
While his wife, Jesi Smith, kept vigil at Faith's bedside, Brad Smith was at work trying to split his concentration between his radio station sales manager job and the crisis at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
Seven months (after having first met Santorum at a Republican dinner) Brad Smith was in a panic at work. His wife had called to tell him the situation was dire with their daughter at Mott.
He was at a loss. Then, to his surprise Santorum -- in town for an unrelated fund-raiser -- walked into the NewsTalk 1400 radio station in Ferndale where Smith worked, to tape a syndicated show.
After the taping, Brad Smith approached Santorum and told him about Faith's latest decline, hoping he might be able to offer some advice, or at least an empathetic ear.
... But Smith was distracted and acknowledges he was almost dismissive of Santorum's advice, even though the politician had stopped to help on a busy morning when he was already running late.
"He sensed that I wasn't really listening, and he got really stern with me," Smith said. "He said, 'Look, you need to do this. If you don't, you're going to lose your daughter.'"
... "I can honestly say that if not for Rick Santorum, she would not be alive today," Brad Smith said. "We wouldn't have known what to ask for."
The story has gone almost nowhere. A Google News search on "Santorum Faith Brad Smith" (not in quotes) returns all of seven results. Only four are relevant. One is from the Free Press. A second is from the UK Daily Mail, which placed the Smiths' belief that Santorum helpd save their daughter's life into its headline. There is also a local-angle story out of Lima, Ohio (Brad Smith graduated from nearby Elida High school), and another story at a pro-life web site.
That's it. In other words, this isn't a mainstream story. Excuse me for doubting that it would be so lightly treated if it related to someone with whom the press philsophically agrees.
There's another far more potentially troubling angle to this. The sad fact is that a large majority of pre-born babies diagnosed with Down's syndrome (an estimated 80%), Trisomy 18, and other disorders are killed in utero (i.e., aborted). Perhaps the non-coverage ties into a belief on the part of many that Faith Smith should never have been born, and that what the Smiths are doing for their daughter with Santorum's timely help really isn't noble at all. Sadly, I believe that some would take it further, asserting that the Smiths are unfairly burdening society by taking up valuable medical resources which should be used on others.
Is it any wonder that a centerpiece of Santorum's campaign speeches is a firm assertion that unless this country changes direction in this and so many other areas, we are on a path toward leaving "a very cold dangerous, frightening America to our children"?
An excerpt of the Lima, Ohio story went up at BizzyBlog this morning.