The “media” hates a vacuum. It spells chaos and disaster for their industry-think dead air. They have to “feed that beast”- that twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week of air time. And they have to “feed” it whether they have content or not. Network news runs 30 minutes Monday through Friday, and for 30 minutes, Monday through Friday, they have to come up with something to report. If not, you get that 30 seconds to a minute at the end of a broadcast where the anchors are babbling about nothing. Imagine if that had to happen for the entire 30 mintues.
I would not break the law and, more importantly, violate my patient’s confidentiality by sharing privileged information with them; and so the press began to create stories on their own to fill that hour, or complete that column. They developed their own “angle” to the story and then went out to find things to support their take (many times to the detriment of the facts or the issue at hand).
The story got increasingly away from the the death of Dr. West and more and more malicious concerning me, in an attempt to draw me out. Imagine a bully drawing a line in the sand and daring the little kid to step over it.
The media has the “bully pulpit”. They use it to put their take on stories all the time, but their words carry no iron unless someone else is talking. And worse yet, if they get it wrong we end up fighting a war over a ten year period where thousands of people loose their lives. In this case no one, not one of them, had gotten the definitive story with the ultimate source, me. They therefore made it up on their own, without me.
Even his peers had started to recognize that Harvey had nothing, and had been lying all along. Larry King himself was the one most troubled. The word from CNN, who by the way invited me back on two occasions, was that Harvey will never be on their show again.” (Great… but I have to say, from my perspective, “way too late”.)
Sadly, there were plenty stories out there to tell. They just were ignored. People with a chance to research the story and get the facts correct simply took the easy way out and chose to follow Harvey and sling mud, rather than define the issues, and inform the public. They could have investigated a number of issues surrounding plastic surgery: the nature of informed consent, unrealistic expectations on the part of a patient, the inherent risk of surgery or anesthesia, and many others, including malpractice suits and the training of doctors.
(Keep in mind that “cosmetic surgery” isn’t a discipline. It simply refers to the “vanity surgery” that a number of specialties, trained differently, are engaged. Plastic surgeons do not have a monopoly on cosmetic surgery. Ophthamologists, otolaryngologists, dermatologists, general surgeons, and even gynecologists all perform cosmetic procedures.)
Instead, the media chose to follow Harvey’s lead. They chose to ignore the facts of the case, and focus gossip, issues that, in addition to having nothing to do with the death of Donda West, were already public record. But even then – and this is what’s important to understand –guided by false statements from Stephan Scoggins, HarveyLevin, and possibly the “litigation attorneys for the estate of Donda West and the surviving family members” they presented only half the story.
Here’s an example: Harvey Levin, again as lead dog, began by displaying the particulars of my divorce. I’m not sure this had anything to do with Dr. West -she wasn’t my ex-wife- but I am sure of his motive. He was trying to hurt the black guy on television-pure and simple.
TMZ reported that there had been a restraining order filed against me by my ex-wife’s attorney in a divorce preceeding. That is fair game since I chose to be on television, but I find this particularly disturbing because, if TMZ obtained that data from court filings, then they got the whole report and therefore, to present half the story is criminal. I support them saying whatever they wish to say, but I demand that they be accurate, not fair; just accurate.
Item 27 of that court document, which refers to personal conduct restraining orders, states very clearly in the first paragraph that “both parties shall be subject to personal conduct restraining orders, with both parties restrained and protected from the other party”. That seems to be pretty much clear as far as I can tell. It does not specifically speak to me, it applies to both parties.
There was also a letter from my ex-wife’s attorney, filed with the court, which clearly pointed out that “as of tomorrow, January 29, 2007, I will appear in court and “continue and re-issue the temporary orders one last time to allow you and Ms. Field time to complete your preliminary declarations of disclosure”. Her attorney further goes on to say, “Once the above is completed, I will dismiss the entire domestic violence action as previously discussed”.
It appears that restraining orders are reflexly filed by attorneys in divorce cases. No lawyer wants a couple to reconcile before they have received a check (and I don’t blame them). But it is a bit dishonest for reporters telling a story to mislead the reader as to the context of the document.
For the record though, I did speak with my ex-wife’s attorney. He was willing to dismiss the restraining orders. He knew the allegations in it not to be true. Nonetheless, their game is to win, not engage in the truth and I understood his posture (though I angry at him for it). Oddly enough, I had explained to him that it was wrong to file it because it was untrue, but worst yet, I knew as a public figure, it would one day come back to haunt me. He had suggested that I petition the court to have the file sealed. I didn’t. I had nothing to hide. I was perhaps naïve.
Harvey and TMZ then dug up an ex-girlfriend, or in all fairness, perhaps she dug them up. I will not go into details because I think that’s silly. It had nothing to do with the matter at hand. Let it suffice to say that everyone supports a woman trying to distance herself from a man she doesn’t want, but sometimes a man doesn’t want that woman. And I didn’t. But I do think it’s important to point out once again that Harvey only told half the story. He didn’t report that that same woman wrote in an e-mail documented in court papers that “if you do not come back to me within 24 hours, you will wish you were never born.”
For the record, at this point, I wish she was never born.
Think of it. Is that a person who you would want to have a relationship with? The puzzling part for me is trying to understand exactly what her goal was. If in fact she wanted a relationship, then threatening me with abuse if I don’t participate is clearly not the way to do it. And if you are a reporter telling a story, what has that got to do with Donda West’s surgery?
For the record, if you want a relationship with someone, be the person they want and need, and not the person they don’t. But, if you are Harvey Levin, a professional no less, is this where you go to validate your story. I don’t think so (unless your motive was to defame).