UPDATE: EXCLUSIVE: Luis Lang is back...and he's not happy at all with the Charlotte Observer or reporter who told his story
A new update to the ongoing saga of Luis Lang of Fort Mill, South Carolina.
As regular readers will recall, Mr. Lang's story went viral for several weeks back in May and June. Here's a refresher:
- May 12, 2015: See man hate Obamacare. See man refuse to get Obamacare. See man whine that he can't get Obamacare when he needs it.
- May 12, 2015: Generous Progressives Bail Out Hypocrite Conservative
- May 13, 2015: An Open Letter To Mr. Luis Lang of Fort Mill, South Carolina
- May 16, 2015: In which Luis Lang appears to call for Single Payer, and other interview insights
- May 19, 2015: Well I'll Be Damned: Luis Lang quits GOP, openly calls for Single Payer
- May 19, 2015: I wish sincere good luck to Mr. Lang; he's going to need it.
- May 28, 2015: The Luis Lang Saga, Part VI: The Interview
- June 6, 2015: A Quick Update on Luis Lang
I honestly thought that was the end of his story, but back in late August out of curiosity, I did check in on his GoFundMe page and found a link to a rather interesting, if belated correction over at the Charlotte Observer (the newspaper which posted his story in the first place):
CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS
Luis Lang, the subject of a May 13 story centering on his struggle to find someone to pay for eye surgery, did not specifically blame President Obama for his inability to get insurance through the Affordable Care Act. He says he blames Washington and state politicians for gaps in the system.
It is our policy to acknowledge errors promptly. If you see a mistake, call us at 704-358-5040 or email@example.com.
In any event, on September 3rd, Mr. Lang contacted me directly to discuss this latest development...and he's not remotely satisfied with the Observer's belated, partial correction/clarification.
Now, here's the thing: I'm neither a lawyer nor am I an "accredited" journalist. I have no idea about how Lang should or shouldn't proceed. I know very little about libel or slander laws. On top of that, I'm not really any position to know whether the Observer, or Ann Doss Helms (the reporter who wrote both the original story as well as a follow-up a few days later) has done anything inappropriate here.
However, I will say this:
- Issuing a correction some 3 months later is interesting.
The fact that the original story is no longer found on the Observer site at all is interesting.
(It's possible that this is simply due to it being placed behind a pay firewall, although the follow-up just a few days later is still available as of this writing)
UPDATE 9/21/15: OK, I've heard back from Ms. Helms; it looks like the original Charlotte Observer story is still available after all, with several updates added; it's just the actual URL which presumably changed.
In any event, I told Mr. Lang after we spoke that for these reasons and others, I can't really do a full "investigation" into his claims; I'm not an investigative reporter, and really, this part of his story has nothing to do with the ACA itself...it's more about journalistic practices, editorial control and the like.
I did, however, promise him that I'd at least post our conversation online so readers can at least hear what he has to say. Since his eyesight is still very poor these days due to the health problems which led to this becoming a story in the first place, it's difficult for him to type, so it was easier to tell me the whole thing over the phone. It took me a couple of weeks to get around to posting it, which was my fault.
With that, I present my 2nd conversation with Luis Lang of Fort Mill, South Carolina. It runs about 20 minutes total. Again: I have no idea how much or little of what he's saying here is or isn't accurate, but given how much I (and others) tore him apart originally...in large part over the "blaming President Obama" part which the newspaper has now clarified was not the case...I figure I owe him this much: