You may have heard that Paul is in need of said surgery after being physically attacked at his home in 2017 by a neighbor. The senator ended up in the hospital for weeks. The neighbor was charged with assault and sentenced to 30 days in prison.
Fast forward to 2019: Paul needs hernia surgery, one of the injuries he suffered in the attack. He chooses a hospital in Canada, leading to the big "gotcha!" moment some in media pounced on.
Lousiville's Courier Journal's lead paragraph: "Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, one of the fiercest political critics of socialized medicine, will travel to Canada later this month to get hernia surgery."
Get it? Paul is against socialized medicine. Yet, when he needs treatment himself, he forfeits his principles.
One has to read down to the sixth paragraph before learning that the hospital performing the surgery, Shouldice Hospital, is privately owned.
The story also appeared in USA Today, since the Courier Journal and USA Today fall under the Gannett Co. umbrella.
So, as long as the paper eventually gets it right deep into the story, who cares, right?
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, one of the fiercest political critics of socialized medicine, will travel to Canada later this month to get hernia surgery. https://t.co/WNxAhH89Za— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) January 14, 2019
Not quite. We live in a world of news consumers increasingly scrolling headlines and short-story blurbs on social media without reading the whole story. It's a fast-food journalist world, making it more crucial than ever for publications to tell the real story in its headlines and blurbs/lead paragraphs.
“This is a private, world renowned hospital separate from any system and people come from around the world to pay cash for their services,” Paul spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper told The Hill.
Then there's the viral world of Twitter that only adds kerosene to the fire by taking the lead graph in the Courier Journal to shape a hypocrisy narrative around Paul.
Per the Democratic Coalition in a tweet to its more than 200,000 followers:
The tweet was retweeted more than 6,700 times and liked more than 8,800 times. And no need for a screen grab, because the tweet hasn't been deleted.
Oh, the irony: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, one of the fiercest political critics of socialized medicine, will travel to Canada later this month to get hernia surgery.— Democratic Coalition (@TheDemCoalition) January 14, 2019
Tell Congress we need #MedicareForAll now: https://t.co/iQQ4yeeBjyhttps://t.co/yqvqcdub8w
Sen. Rand Paul is leaving the U.S. for quality health care in Canada. https://t.co/cfjB8gkmzE— HuffPost (@HuffPost) January 15, 2019
Why is Rand Paul having surgery in the socialist dystopia of Canada? https://t.co/zKwpA8KrfF— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) January 13, 2019
This isn't really a good "gotcha." This hernia clinic, in my hometown of Thornhill, is one of a very small number of private, for-profit clinics that were grandfathered into Ontario's socialized health system. https://t.co/Z6MmI5ojTV— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 14, 2019
"All charges are payable on admission by credit card, bank draft or cash," the hospital notes.
Per Axios and Survey Monkey, 65 percent say fake news is usually reported because “people have an agenda" in the media, while just 3 percent think fake news "makes headlines by accident."