Setting the Record Straight: Kathleen Whitney and CNN

I am acquainted with an excellent ER nurse, who was recently made mildly famous in a CNN profile for being recalled to active duty.  However, while she knew she was being interviewed for an article about the difficulties of family separation, she expressed to me that the article was edited in a way that made her sound less than committed  (‘sandbagged by the editor’ is how it was put to me), and wants to set the record straight.

I asked her to write whatever she wished regarding the CNN piece, and here’s what she has to say:

My name is Kathleen Whitney and I am an emergency room nurse and a 1st Lieutenant in the Army reserve.  A few weeks ago I was featured in a story on CNN.com.  Let me start out by saying that the author of that article was my aunt, and I don’t believe she would ever intentionally misrepresent me.  However by the time the story got through the editors there was a definite liberal slant to it.

It is true that my plan when I became an officer was to remain in an army reserve unit until I became pregnant and then transfer to the IRR – (Inactive ready reserve) until my children were old enough to understand if I had to be deployed.  So when I got the letter calling me out of the IRR it was quite a shock and I was a little angry.  However what the article does not go on to say is that after much worrying and soul searching I came to this conclusion.  It’s a war.  It wasn’t meant to be easy on anyone.  Many, countless people have already sacrificed more than I have even begun to.  So right now my family and I just focus on ways to make things easier on my little boy, Matthew, if I do have to deploy somewhere.  I feel no animosity towards the military or President Bush for recalling me and others out of the IRR. The needs of the country have to come first.  And part of being a good parent, I think, means helping to make the world a better place for our children.  I remember Sept. 11.  I hope Matthew never lives to  see another day like that – where Americans are attacked on our own soil. 
 
One other thing that they neglected to mention in the article which I talked about in my interview was the guilt I already feel for not having been deployed.  When I was eight months pregnant my unit deployed to Baghdad, Iraq.  Of course there was no way I could have gone with them at eight months pregnant.  So I kept in touch with them as best I could via e-mail and care packages.  It never slipped my mind that while I was sitting in my air conditioned house rocking my new baby, my unit- the people I trained with, some of my best friends- were baking in the hot desert, enduring untold hardships.  It is hard to describe the feeling I had then, and still have now.  If I don’t deploy I am abandoning my country and my unit.  If I do deploy I am abandoning my family.  I am truly torn.  In the end if I am called to go, I will go and be happy to serve.  But I can not volunteer.  Because me volunteering would also mean volunteering my mother to take care of my child full time.  It would also mean volunteering my child to do without one of his parents for a year a more. 
   
I hope that this rebuttal or addendum to the CNN article will clear up any questions of my loyalty that may have been brought up.  Only time can tell what will happen from here.

emphasis mine

Good to hear from the source, we never questioned your patriotism.  And, thank you for your service to our country.


Comments

  1. Kathleen: THANK YOU for your service and your insight. If you are deployed, I wish you the best and a speedy, safe return home.

    GruntDoc: THANK YOU for providing Kathleen with a forum to set the record straight.

    *salute*

  2. This is, unfortunately, typical of the media today. Whoever still believes the media is unbiased is living in a fantasy world.

    The journalist was looking to create “an angle” on the story, and decided to leave some important bits out…

    We thank you for your service…

  3. Willysnout says:

    Get a grip! The article didn’t portray Kathleen Whitney as unpatriotic. Quite the contrary. It portrayed her as someone willing to do her job even if it meant enduring the hardship of being separated from her son. What is it with you people, anyway?

  4. Umm, the subject of the article felt it did.

    By the way, who are ‘you people’?

  5. Willysnout says:

    The subject of the article is wrong. And “you people” are the typical rightwingers in this country who are demanding that every single mention of the Iraq War in the media be constructed as a full-throated rah-rah session.

    I’m against the war because I think Bush entered on a pretext and has lied throughout. But I am still impressed by the dedication of the U.S. soldiers who are there. (Yes, it’s possible to hold those two attitudes.) I read the CNN story and I really can’t see how anyone could object to it or somehow think that it portrays Whitney in anything other than a positive light.

  6. Aah, ‘Right Wingers’. People who’d rather CNN not inject their biases on their lives.

    Got it.

  7. Willysnout says:

    Hey you’ve already got the wingnut FauxNews. They’re happy to do the rah-rah thing on cue.

  8. Sweetie says:

    “The subject of the article is wrong”

    Yes indeed. Why would we expect the subject of the article to be able to discern if it accurately reflected her beliefs? And for that matter when are we going to get new voters in this country so we can get Bush out of the Whitehouse! The voters in this country suck! The people can’t be trusted (but you can trust us, your Democratic Party betters).

  9. Actually, Willy, the only one going on about being “rah rah” on the war is you. Nothing in this article, the one CNN got wrong by impugning a nurse, was rah rah about the war.

    Just because you see everything through your bias doesn’t mean we have to agree with you, or appreciate sneering at people who don’t want to be used as tools against the ‘evil’ war.

  10. Sweetie says:

    Damnit, Willysnout, my Rovian Mindray Protector kit says Halliburton comes after Bush Lied, not Faux News! Faux News comes after ‘Republicans don’t know what real work is’. Did you miss your Kool Aid this morning?

  11. Subsunk says:

    Gee Doc,

    I guess some people won’t believe the truth when it comes right out of the horse’s (or the nurse’s) mouth. Purty obvious us stupid right wing people need to hear what somebody else thinks the Truth ought to be instead of what the subject of the article actually said.

    And, oh, by the way, thanks to LT Whitney for setting the record straight: I sympathize with your quandary, ma’am, but it sounds to me like you have your game face on, if required by the Army. I admire that. Many of my sailors (females and single mothers included) were up to the task of deploying for several months away from their children. Mothers, fathers, grandparents all had to pitch in and take care of the youngsters. It hurts us all to have to do that.

    But my kids understand that now. They are almost adults and when the subject comes up of travel or previous deployments (I am retired Navy now), they say the same thing: “It was your duty Dad”. And although you will miss some things, you will also be able to follow their progress and communicate with them relatively frequently. My shipmates and I sometimes did not get to communicate with our families for over 75 days at a time (My longest was 110 days). It takes a special kind of parent to stay behind and make sure that the absent parent gets updates and pictures. But it can be done. And those things, and your commitment to do your duty, will reap bushels of character in your children, later in life.

    Some suggestions follow:
    Pay a florist to send a flower to your kids with some pre-written notes periodically, just so they know you are thinking about them.
    Tape yourself reading bedtime stories for the younger ones, and then let Dad play the tapes periodically to put them to sleep.
    Email as frequently as you can. Take a digital camera and send lots of photos. Pre-write letters to husband, kids, parents and have a neighbor deliver them on a schedule. Personalized services and the florists on post usually had this service.

    I hope you won’t get called up, ma’am. But if you do, remember that your example will mean a lot to your children later in life. Good Luck, press on.

    Subsunk

  12. Willysnout says:

    Actually, Willy, the only one going on about being “rah rah” on the war is you. Nothing in this article, the one CNN got wrong by impugning a nurse, was rah rah about the war.

    And that’s why the rightwingnuts object to the article. Anything other than a rah-rah job is insufficient for you people.

  13. Bob in Cobb says:

    If you stand across the street in Centenial Olympic Park in Atlanta, you begin to notice the whole CNN building leans to the left.

    Bob in Cobb

  14. And Willy, single-minded agenda-bender, you object to the record being set straight by the person the article was supposedly about, why? Oh, because it exposes CNN for adding their agenda to a human interest story. Any you liked the one that slanted the story but don’t like the real version.

    The real story is the one that needs to be told, and now it has.

    Oh, and since you’re a troll, you’re outtahere.

  15. Aerospace Genius says:

    Rah Rah!

  16. Gruntdoc, pass along my sincere appreciation to Kathleen for being willing to serve us all. Also, I enjoy your blog, I’ve been reading for about a year now…good stuff. I’m hopefully going to med school in a couple of years, so its fun to see what I’m in for once I’m ever finished with school.

  17. Kate's Mom says:

    I didn’t see any bias in the article. Lt Whitney came off as a normal military woman with all the good and bad that comes with it. I served in the army for 20 years and am the mother of four children, all born while I was on active duty. Trust me, I understand the conflict a soldier/parent feels juggling comrades and family. As Americans we’re allowed to have conflicting feelings and to express those feeling. It doesn’t make Lt Whitney less patriotic or less a mother. Just because the article doesn’t put in the caveat “But Lt Whitney doesn’t want anyone to think she’s whining or complaining,” doesn’t make it ‘biased’. So the editors didn’t print every single thing Lt Whitney said, she is to be admired.

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