Transparent Leaders: The Health of John McCain and Steve Jobs

The New York Times published an article today about the lack of transparency in regards to the presidential candidates’ health. Will people care, giving this the attention that the health of Steve Jobs received? Or will public apathy encourage both campaigns to remain tight-lipped?

The New York Times published an article today about how transparent the candidates are being about their health. The incomplete nature and unanswered questions about John McCain’s history of skin cancer has been a topic of discussion on liberal blogs ever since Sarah Palin was chosen as his running mate, but the subject has finally reached the media.


The McCain campaign has released thousands of pages of medical records, half in 2000 and the rest back in May. But the fact the records only covered part of his history and were only given to a small group of journalists for a few hours, is a clear lack of transparency. And Barack Obama has been less than forthcoming as well, only releasing a letter from his doctor with the simple message that he is in good health.

Earlier this year, many questioned Apple about the health of CEO Steve Jobs, probably contributing to the loss the stock took. Apple eventually explained Steve Jobs apparent weight loss as being from “a common bug” and not a reoccurrence of pancreatic cancer; the company even joked about Jobs’ blood pressure at the last press event it held. Due to the hit the stock took, Apple was forced to respond. Yet, the same sort of pressure isn’t being applied to the presidential campaigns.

Can you blame the candidates for the lack of full transparency? The business media or interested public care about a CEO’s health, but the American public and the entire media (liberal elite or not) can barely mutter about those who may be the future leaders of our country. It doesn’t seem to matter to America that the country may vote in one leader, but then wind up being run by his second-in-command due to cancer treatments. Or that his opponent, who is currently leading in the polls, may have had some ailment in his past, despite his current state of good health.

Until both campaigns feel like they will be hurt because of their secrecy, there is no need for them to embrace a strategy of complete disclosure. All four principles involved in the election should release their entire medical histories — transparency should be the norm, not the exception.

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His work has also been published by Kill Screen, Tom's Guide, Tech Times, MTV Geek, GameSpot, Gamasutra, Laptop Mag, Co.Create, and Co.Labs. Focusing on the creativity and business of gaming, he is always up for a good interview or an intriguing feature.