The left has gone from criticizing Mitt Romney on his views of FEMA to blaming him for a meningitis outbreak. Salon.writer Craig Unger pinned the recent spike in meningitis, which resulted in the deaths of 29 people, on Mitt Romney, in an article entitled “Romney’s lax regulation may have fueled meningitis outbreak.”
Unger cited the attorney representing the victims of the outbreak, who blamed the meningitis on poor regulations against pharmaceutical companies while Romney was governor or Massachusetts in 2004. However, the regulation of such companies was not overseen directly by Romney.
The article also attributed a problem in a drug today, which even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said was unprecedented, to an unrelated decision made by a committee that reported to Romney eight years ago.
The Food and Drug Administration and the CDC had linked a rash of meningitis infections to a fungal contaminant in steroid shots manufactured by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) of Framingham, Mass. According to the CDC, the type of fungus involved was “not a recognized cause of meningitis prior to this outbreak.” That makes it difficult for the problem to have been anticipated.
Another problem with Unger’s argument was that it blamed a current flaw in a pharmaceutical drug to insufficient regulations eight years ago against the NECC. However, according to a USA Today article from Oct. 26, 2012, an attorney for the NECC said that state inspectors had full access to NECC facilities “as recently as last summer.” Romney was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.
The Salon article depicted the decision to not impose stricter regulations against the NECC as Romney’s decision, but that was the decision of a regulatory committee, which would have reported to the governor.
Salon quoted Alyson Oliver, a lawyer paid by victims of the outbreak, as saying that this “goes all the way up to Mitt Romney.” Oliver blamed the outbreak on Romney’s economic policies. “It goes directly to the heart of what Romney says about regulation. ‘Hands off. Let the companies do their thing.’” Of course, he never mentioned how Salon and Oliver weren’t just trying to hype their case in a way that would get the most attention.
Unger has written a number of pieces of Salon, most of which bashed Karl Rove or George W Bush. Unger was also featured in Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11”, and his book “House of Bush: House of Saud” further elaborated on Moore’s conspiracy theories.