Our President and His Polyps

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“The president is in good health,” Bush spokesman Tony Snow said Monday, July 23, 2007. “There is no reason for alarm.”


Last Saturday I read that President Bush underwent anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy, whereupon Vice President Cheney officially was in charge of the Executive Branch for a few hours.
I was also informed that during the operation doctors found and removed five growths – known as “polyps” – from Bush’s colon. Doctors would later examine the polyps for signs of cancer, although it appeared that none was present. President Bush would be scheduled to have another routine colonoscopy in three years.
This, believe it or not, was the leading story on CNN’s website last Saturday morning. I read the story not long after I woke up.
Is nothing sacred anymore? Is this not a classic case of “too much information”? Do we have a right to know all this intimate medical information about our president?
I read the story and felt uneasy about this glimpse into George Bush’s colon. I feel akin to how I felt with Bill Clinton when I had to hear about his sex life in the Oval Office (“cigars,” “stains on blue dress”). But at least then Clinton was reckless enough in messing around with a girl-woman young enough to be his daughter behind his wife’s back. Such activity is sensational enough to be newsworthy. But why report in such detail on the status of Bush’s colon during a routine medical exam?
Does the 24 hour media machine just need to feed its insatiable appetite for new and sensational news that can capture viewer’s attention before they skit off to Youtube or some video game?


President Bush and Chief of Staff Josh Bolten walk together with the President’s dog, Barney, at Camp David, Saturday, July 21, 2007 after the president’s colonoscopy.