Gupta has told administration officials that he wants the job, and the final vetting process is under way.
But I do remember his mugging of Michael Moore over Sicko. You don’t have to like Moore or his film; but Gupta specifically claimed that Moore “fudged his facts”
Althouse examines the Gupta-Moore argument,
Krugman’s link — at “mugging” — goes to a USA Today article about the conflict, which mainly dealt with the amount of money spent on medical care per person in the United States compared to Cuba. You can see Gupta and Moore having it out on the Larry King show on video here or read the transcript here. The fact that Gupta actually did get some numbers wrong overshadows the policy dispute: Moore wants the government to pay for all medical care for everyone, and Gupta thinks Moore might be right, but that things are more complex than Moore will admit.
It’s true, as Krugman says, that Moore comes across as an uncouth outsider and that we tend to feel an instinctive aversion to him. And Gupta is couth, an expert at projecting competence, expertise, and level-headedness. And Krugman is right that the uncouth speaker may be right when the couth speaker is wrong. On this occasion, Gupta got some things wrong, and where he was wrong, he quickly and clearly corrected himself and apologized. That’s part of the couth style. So where is this “lack of accountability” that Krugman talks about? Gupta didn’t get away with mistakes by speaking “in a socially acceptable way.” Gupta was immediately called to account, and he stepped up to it.
And what of Moore? Is he accountable? Moore may have not been wrong on this occasion, but he’s been wrong in the past about plenty of things, and his entire filmmaking style is based on a strong point of view — that is, bias — that involves distortion and emotive exaggeration. Does Moore make corrections and apologize? He method involves going doggedly forward toward his predetermined goals — like government-managed health care or opposition to the war or gun control.
On a related subject: As readers of this blog know, the so-called excellent Cuban healthcare is in such shambles that Cubans who have no dollars or access to foreigners-only clinics have to procure and bring their own suture thread to the hospital before they can have surgery.