Patterico Busts TX Grad Student/Obama Delegate Posing As Doctor; Chron Doesn't Credit, Still Disclosure-Challenged

August 13th, 2009 1:14 PM

Topside Update, 2:15 p.m.: Imagine that -- Roxana Mayer was also an Organizing For America "host" during the Texas primary last year.

Anyone visiting here even semi-regularly knows that the establishment media consistently fails to determine the legitimacy of people who "say the right things." Further, when someone else, often a blogger, digs and finds the truth, the reporters and publications involved may sometimes grudgingly acknowledge it, but even then usually incompletely; and more often than not, they won't give credit where due.

This all-too-typical scenario has played out in the past two days in the case of a certain Roxana Mayer. In two posts (here and here), LA-area blogger Patterico, best known for his relentless skewering of the target-rich environment known as the Los Angeles Times, exposed Ms. Mayer, who claimed to be a doctor when she spoke at a town hall meeting held by Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (and who later hugged her, as seen at the top right), as a leftist fraud.

As Patterico noted in the title of his second post, Mayer's mantra ought to be "I’m Not a Doctor But I Play One at Town Hall Meetings." Patterico also showed that Mayer was also a Texas Obama delegate at last year's Democratic Convention.

At first, the Houston Chronicle took Mayer's word that she is a doctor, failed to investigate her bona fides, and reported the following:

Some attendees at the meeting spoke in favor of the plan, go (sic -- going?) so far as to want a system where the government had complete control.

One supporter, Dr. Roxana Mayer, a physician who does not live in Jackson Lee’s district, praised the reform plan for overhauling a broken system.

“I don’t know what there is in the bill that creates such panic,” she said.

Suspicious, Patterico began digging, finding the following in short order: 
  • "The AMA Doctor Finder doesn’t list any physician named Roxana Mayer."
  • "Nor does the Texas Medical Association."
  • "Linked In lists a Roxana Mayer — who, according to LinkedIn, is slated to graduate from the University of Houston with a Masters in Social Work in 2010."
  • "However, the University of Houston lists a student by the name of Roxana Mercedes Mayer."

So Patterico went to the source, e-mailing the LinkedIn Ms. Mayer. Hilarity ensued. By the time the exchange ended, "poor" Ms. Mayer was in full moonbat mode:


1) Are you the person who attended Jackson Lee’s town hall meeting?
2) Are you a doctor?
3) If not, why did you claim to be one?
4) Were you a Texas delegate for Obama?
5) Why did you go to the town hall meeting?
6) Who encouraged you to go?
7) Did Sheila Jackson Lee’s husband have anything to do with your going?


I suspect you don’t need me to answer the first four…but I’ll say for what it’s worth, I went to get a question answered for myself and two other people close to me who are doctors. Too bad she didn’t answer it. I also went to lend support to the reform effort. It’s easier to be against something especially since anger is such a great motivator.

Also, I have never met the Congresslady or her husband–it’s a big school. I do think this is all very funny because I just assume that if my going had been part of a conspiracy, it would have been more seemlessly executed.

While I’m sure I lack your creativity and passion, I have possessed some spontaneity from time to time.


If I understand what’s going on here, you’re not a doctor, but you play one at town hall meetings. Is that about it?


Do you mean play a doctor like you play a journalist? Then the answer is no. But who knows, that was only my first town hall meeting–even though I was a delegate. If I go to another one, which I seriously doubt because my husband is already extremely annoyed, then maybe I’ll play a plumber.

After Patterico did the dirty work, the Chronicle's Cynthia Horswell added the following four paragraphs to the story this morning, while giving Patterico no credit:

In an e-mail to the Chronicle on Thursday morning, Mayer confirmed she is not a licensed physician.

"I have been advised to refrain from making any further statements," she said.

In the initial story about the event, the Chronicle reported that she was a doctor based on her claim at the meeting.

Today, Jackson Lee denied knowing Mayer and said she was not planted as a friendly voice in the crowd.

Horswell's story, time-stamped at of 10:46 a.m. CT as of the time of this post (saved here at my host for future reference) has the same URL to which Patterico linked, meaning that Horswell's current renditon has effectively flushed all previous versions down the Chron's memory hole.

Horswell still hasn't told readers that Mayer was an Obama delegate. Patterico commenter "mike in houston" reports direct e-mail evidence from Horswell that the Chron reporter has known this from the very beginning of this sordid episode and has chosen not to disclose. Mayer's status as a delegate, along with additional "coincidences" reported at, would tend to severely if not fatally dent the credibility of Jackson Lee's claim not to know her -- even beyond the hug picture with Mayer and Lee the Chron has already published.

The caption to that picture is currently on at least its third rendition, currently reading "Sheila Jackson Lee hugs Roxana Mayer at her town hall meeting at Peavy Neighborhood Center. Mayer identified herself as a physician who does not live in Jackson Lee's district. However, her name does not appear in the database maintained by the Texas Medical Board, which licenses all doctors in Texas."

Two previous renditions captured by Patterico read as follows:

  • "Sheila Jackson Lee hugs Dr. Roxana Mayer, a pediatric primary care physician, at her town hall meeting at Peavy Neighborhood Center."
  • "Sheila Jackson Lee hugs Roxana Mayer at her town hall meeting at Peavy Neighborhood Center."

Understatement of the week by Patterico: "Not the greatest vetting by the Chronicle." Not the most honest either. And sadly, also not atypical.

Cross-posted at