Gupta Misled CNN Viewers in Report: Nonprofit

Group says claims he saved 8-year-old's life after Nepal quake aren't accurate
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2015 9:24 AM CDT
Gupta Misled CNN Viewers in Report: Nonprofit
Dr. Sanjay Gupta attends the Clinton Global Initiative on Sept. 22, 2010, in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

He didn't use the word "conflate," but Sanjay Gupta used many other words to try and clarify why a report he filed from Nepal after the April earthquake there was apparently filled with inaccuracies, the Guardian reports. The Global Press Institute, a journalist-training nonprofit, reports not only that Gupta didn't save the life of an 8-year-old girl he claimed to have operated on—it says he actually helped with a surgery on a 14-year-old—but that after Gupta's segment aired, CNN took down a story that accurately reported on the 14-year-old's injuries and put in its place a story that swapped in the 8-year-old's name to match Gupta's report. Gupta tried to clear things up yesterday on CNN, admitting he may have mixed details up during the chaos. "There were many children, many people in the hospital," he said, per the Guardian. "When you report on these kinds of situations, you take lots of different bits of information and you consolidate it and in the end you tell the story."

The neurosurgeon who performed the surgery on the older girl also tells the paper that Gupta wasn't asked to help, as Gupta claims, but that he harangued staff until they conceded; the surgeon also says he never gave permission for Gupta's team to film the operation. His statements underscore what some ethics experts are saying is a conflict of interest: being a physician and a journalist and filming your interventions. Meanwhile, the director of the GPI isn't buying Gupta's "things were so crazy" excuse. "A pretty grave mistake was made," she tells the Guardian. "The excuse that things were chaotic shouldn't hold up for any journalist, especially when that journalist is also performing a medical operation." CNN notes it's investigating, adding, "Journalism is not brain surgery. But brain surgery is brain surgery. … Sanjay spent a week in Nepal, helped save a young life in the operating room, and we couldn't be prouder of him. He has our full and unequivocal support." (Read the Global Press Institute's entire damning report.)

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