(SCROLL to the bottom for an important update)
Yesterday afternoon I blogged about the Michael J. Fox ad running in Missouri in which he passionately called for government funding of stem cell research in a show of support for Senator Jim Talent’s opponent demagogue Claire McCaskill. McCaskill currently has a three point lead over Talent in the latest poll.
In that same post, I talked about the controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh’s comments on yesterday’s program where he said he thought that Fox might have either been off his medication or ‘acting’ in the ad because of the way he looked. I labelled the comment that Fox might have been ‘acting’ disgraceful, but also pointed out that as far as not taking his medication before appearing the ad, that it wasnt’ wrong to speculate on this, because Fox had admitted in his 2002 memoir Lucky Man that he had done just that before his testimony in front of a Senate subcommittee.
Now, people are telling me that they have seen Michael J. Fox in interviews and he does appear the same way in the interviews as he does in this commercial for Claire McCaskill. All right, then I stand corrected. I’ve seen him on Boston Legal. I’ve seen him on a number of stand-up appearances. I know he’s got it; it’s pitiable that he has the disease. It is a debilitating disease, and I understand that fully. Just stick with me on this.
All I’m saying is I’ve never seen him the way he appears in this commercial for Claire McCaskill. So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox, if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act, especially since people are telling me they have seen him this way on other interviews and in other television appearances.
I must share this. I have gotten a plethora of e-mails from people saying Michael J. Fox has admitted in interviews that he goes off his medication for Parkinson’s disease when he appears before Congress or other groups as a means of illustrating the ravages of the disease. So lest there be any misunderstanding, we talked about a half hour ago of the commercial that’s running for Claire McCaskill featuring Michael J. Fox on what appears to be when he’s off his meds. I have never seen him this way and I stated when I was commenting to you about it that he was either off his medication or acting. He is an actor after all, and started hearing from people, “Oh, no, I’ve seen him on TV this way, this is how the disease has affected him when he’s not on his medications.” Then the e-mails started coming in saying he’s admitted not to taking them in certain circumstances so as to illustrate how the disease affects people. All of which I understand, and I’m not even critical of that. Parkinson’s disease is hideous.
So let there be no misunderstanding about this. I stand corrected, did not know and had never seen Michael J. Fox in the way I saw him in this commercial for Claire McCaskill. But people have and have seen him say in interviews that he doesn’t take his medications when he wants to make an impression to show people just how horrible the disease is. And it’s true of all Parkinson’s patients. At some point the medication will not work, and the condition will become permanent, and there’s nothing pleasant about it. It’s one of the most frustrating diseases one can have. Pope had it. It’s not pleasant in any way, shape, manner, or form, nor did I mean to implicate that one could easily act it out for the purposes of a commercial.
While I was diappointed at Rush’s suggestion that Fox would be ‘acting’ out symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (as far as I’m concerned, that type of talk adds nothing to the debate), I’m also disappointed with the Washington Post for failing to do the research they were supposed to do on finding out whether Rush later amended or apologized for what he said. For goodness sake, the man’s website had the transcript so it’s not like they had to do a lot of digging.
To let the WaPo know how you feel about their incomplete reporting, contact them: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Update I – 8:06 PM: I just pulled up the article and see that it now mentions that Rush later “backed away” from his comments. That was not in the article before.