From the Heart

Imagine what it must feel like to get another chance after a life-threatening health emergency. It has to be pretty amazing.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares has been very open about discussing his heart surgery in 2016 and the way it changed his life. Stories like this one in the Times Union, in which he tells what it was like to face down a disease that could have killed him. It’s inspiring. Honestly.

But I’ve got to ask a question: is it OK for a public official to appear in a TV commercial endorsing a hospital. I’m asking not because I want to be a wiseass (which is often why I ask questions), but because I’m genuinely unsure. Have a look.

Even a not-for-profit entity is still a business — and if you have any doubt that hospitals are a business, just look at all the competition between them that’s expressed in their advertising. And they do a LOT of advertising.

So, it’s something to ponder. Purists will say that an elected official like the DA should avoid anything that can be interpreted as showing favor. But on the flip side, is there really anything wrong with showing a little heart?

2 responses to “From the Heart

  1. I think I’m okay with this in that David Soares isn’t identified with any captions as to who he is or what his job title is. For all intents and purposes, in the commercial he’s just one person of many who has benefited from heart surgery. Those who would notice that it’s David Soares would then think to themselves, “Well, these have to be real people who have heart surgeries through this hospital, it’s not like David Soares would be a paid actor for something like this.”

    • Good point, but the question isn’t merely about whether this promotes David Soares. The bigger question is whether this creates the perception that he might not be completely objective in a criminal matter involving St. Peter’s.

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