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Blog accuses media of cover-up over Eni’s health

reporters@samoanews.com

A blog with the acronym ABCDEFG — Anyone But Congressional Delegate Eni Faleomavaega Group — has questioned the actual health condition of the Congressman and accused Samoa News and another local news organization of not doing their job. The blog is seeking to find out what actually happened that sent Faleomavaega to LBJ Medical Center in late October this year.
 
The blog was posted Nov. 18, and on Dec. 1 was republished by the Hawai’i Free Press online, which then distributed it locally and off island. Still others redistributed the same blog write-up to their friends and relatives.
 
According to the group’s blog, “We are dedicated to the proposition that the time has come for the Samoan delegate to Congress, Eni Faleomavaega, to retire. We believe his continued service in the U.S. House does not benefit the territory.”
 
There has long been speculation at Samoa News as to who is the author of the blog and why they choose to remain anonymous since most news organizations usually don’t give credence to sources who won’t reveal themselves. (A notable exception was ‘Deep Throat’ and the Washington Post.)
 
The blog paraphrases Samoa News stories after the Congressman was admitted to the hospital in the last week of October and then medivaced to the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu for further treatment. It also recalls a statement by the Congressman’s office that it was “not a life-threatening situation”.
 
Samoa News has reported that the Congressman’s office has not revealed Faleomavaega’s illness.
 
Last month, the Congressman was to be moved from Tripler to either Utah or Washington DC, “as he undergoes further rehab,” according to a news release from his office. This was published Nov. 16 in Samoa News and the blog alleges that this “suggests that Faleomavaega’s health situation is a lot more serious than his office has acknowledged and from here it could be construed that the local media is participating in a coverup.”
 
The blog further notes, “Neither Samoa News, the only general circulation daily newspaper, where his sister-in-law is an editor and the territory's representative to the Democratic National Committee, nor the only radio station that carries local news, has gone beyond what they have been told about Eni’s situation. All that Samoa News would say in its story over the weekend is that Faleomavaega is suffering from “an illness that his office has yet to make public,” while KHJ-FM said absolutely nothing at all about the nature of his illness.
 
(Eni’s sister-in-law does work for Samoa News as a copy editor.)
 
Additionally, the local media “has not even speculated” on Faleomavaega’s condition and “where the local media seems to be a bit ‘shy,’ we will not be.”
 
“Reading between the lines and looking at the language, we believe Faleomavaega has suffered a stroke,” the blog alleges.
 
It acknowledges that there are “legal safeguards for patient medical information and Samoan culture also honors personal privacy during times of sickness, but the fact remains that he is a public servant and the public has a right to know what medical problems he has and what his prognosis is.”
 
It asked the following questions:  “Will he be convalescing for weeks, months or longer? Will American Samoa be left to fend for itself with no one representing the territory in Congress until his return? Most states have more than one representative and colleagues can pick up the slack. American Samoa does not have such luxury.”
 
Samoa News has asked similar questions of the Congressman’s office, however, there has been no reply.



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