Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

CNN's Dr. Gupta May Be Next Surgeon General


This is Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Ari Shapiro.


And I'm Steve Inskeep. President-elect Barack Obama is seeking a little star power for a position that's sometimes a little anonymous. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the administration in waiting is paging CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Both CNN and a person with the Obama transition team confirmed that Gupta is under close consideration for the job of U.S. surgeon general. It's not a done deal yet, as Gupta is still being scrutinized. Currently, Gupta is a medical correspondent on CNN and a contributing reporter on CBS News. The 39-year-old neurosurgeon is also an assistant professor on the medical faculty of Emory University in Atlanta.

In recent decades, the surgeon general has basically been a cheerleader for good public health practices and above all, a communicator. But Gupta was a White House fellow during the second Clinton administration, and the Washington Post is reporting that Gupta has been offered a voice in developing public-health policy by Obama. His appointment would also depend on confirmation by the full U.S. Senate. Gupta is perhaps best known for reporting on the health-care implications of dangerous events such as Hurricane Katrina and the invasion of Iraq.

In one situation back in 2003, Gupta helped perform emergency brain surgery on a wounded boy in south central Iraq while traveling with a team of U.S. Navy doctors. CNN says it removed Gupta from covering health- care policy and other political matters involving Obama as soon as it learned he was under consideration for the federal job. Gupta did not respond to a request for comment. David Folkenflik, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Folkenflik
David Folkenflik was described by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News as "a really weak-kneed, backstabbing, sweaty-palmed reporter." Others have been kinder. The Columbia Journalism Review, for example, once gave him a "laurel" for reporting that immediately led the U.S. military to institute safety measures for journalists in Baghdad.
Related Stories