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Sanjay Gupta’s Playboy interview

CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta was interviewed by Playboy “during a week when Ebola was briefly back in the news.”

Playboy asked which of his jobs was harder — brain surgery or the news biz:

It’s funny. When I did my residency in neurosurgery, I couldn’t imagine anything more demanding or physically exhausting. But now I have weeks at CNN when I’ll go five days on three and a half hours of sleep a night if there’s breaking health news. They’re both extremely busy, intense jobs. Some weeks I practically live in the newsroom, and I still see patients and do surgery on Mondays, many Fridays and often on Thursdays too. But I like the balance. My job at the hospital gives meaning to my job on TV and vice versa. They’re similar challenges in many ways. They both have the element of surprise. You need to stay sharp and on your game, on top of the latest information, and both get your adrenaline going in a serious way.

Asked about fear mongering:

That’s a fair question. I think it’s a tough balance to strike. Remember avian flu? It killed 70 percent of the people who got it in Southeast Asia. As with Ebola, we worried that people would get on planes and bring that flu virus back to the United States. There was no reason to believe it wouldn’t be as lethal here as it was in Asia. People were worried, so we reported on it. It didn’t come to the States and spread.

CNN’s Weed man (he’s produced three documentaries on the subject) doesn’t really like pot:

I tried pot. I didn’t really like it. It wasn’t medicinal quality. Someone offered it to me, and it definitely had an effect. Mostly it made me anxious, and I didn’t like that feeling. I’m an in-control sort of guy, so I honestly wouldn’t do it again.

And he admits he’s pretty liberal:

I’m a pretty liberal guy. Being journalists, we work our whole careers predicated on freedom of speech. I value humanitarian causes that are liberal, so I probably lean more liberal, though not as liberal as all my colleagues within CNN.

And then the Hillary Clinton question (he worked for her as a White House fellow in her office when she was First Lady):

She was a really good boss. I ended up writing a lot of speeches, so I spent a significant amount of time briefing her and collaborating. She’s very knowledgeable. You don’t want to walk into a room with Hillary Clinton without knowing every detail about what you’re discussing. She’ll call you on it. That was good for me and it fit my personality. I think we got along pretty well.

As far as being president, that’s a good question. I’m a little biased because I know health care is an important issue to her. She certainly has a better pedigree than she had as first lady. She’s been a senator, she’s been secretary of state. She has good relationships with world leaders. But it raises the question of what makes a good president. Being very smart is important, and she is, but some of the best presidents weren’t necessarily the smartest people in their class. You have to be very strategic, and I think she is. You have to have clear positions on issues like ISIS, which she’s very engaged with. I think the least important factor is that she’s a woman. She downplays that and even said to me that there are countries with women in power that also have a strong history of oppression against women—Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Indira Gandhi in India. The fact that Hillary’s a woman shouldn’t make a difference.

(H/t Dylan Byers)


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