Ever since alternative media sources made Hillary Clinton’s health a legitimate campaign issue, much of the mainstream media has been comically and instinctively rallying around her, smugly proclaiming that anyone who questions Her Highness’ physical or mental fitness for office to be a deranged rightwing conspiracy theorist.
What’s so amusing about the tactics of these self-important pundits is their willingness to do the exact same thing they demonize “fringe bloggers” of doing: playing doctor. Most of those rushing out to confidently ensure the public that everything is just fine and dandy with Hillary Clinton’s health lack any medical credentials. They’re just journalists and pundits who have decided Hillary is fine based on a two-page letter from internist Dr. Lisa Bardack. Does writing for the Washington Post or CNN make them the authority on Hillary Clinton’s health? Of course not.
To highlight just how unquestioning and extremely biased much of the mainstream media really is, let’s take a look at what comes up as the top story when I search “Hillary health debunked.”
Does this make CNN sound like a legitimate media source or just a Clinton-pandering tabloid? “The new birthers,” “debunk” and “conspiracy” all in one title. Seems a bit over the top doesn’t it? Kinda like something you might find on a fringe blog.
The author of the article, Gregory Krieg, is described by CNN as “a reporter at CNN Politics covering buzzy political news.” Perhaps I’m missing something, but looking at his LinkedIn I don’t see any evidence of medical expertise. So his credentials are more or less in line with fringe bloggers when it comes to medicine, but I suppose he can still brag to his friends about writing for the Clinton News Network. Which means nothing to anyone at this point.
In order to get some semblance of neutrality on the Hillary health story, you have to go to much less mainstream websites. Such as The Hill for example.
Hillary Clinton is 68 years old. She’s been diagnosed with cerebral venous thrombosis; head trauma, pregnancy, cancer, brain infection, autoimmune diseases and inborn clotting abnormalities are all predisposing factors, per The Washington Post. She’s currently taking blood thinners. Four years ago, Clinton fainted, hit her head and suffered a concussion.
She’s also the odds-on favorite to assume one of the most strenuous jobs on the planet as president of the United States.
But lately many in the media have become outraged that Clinton’s health is being broached at all. And what are the primary two words associated when Donald Trump, a Trump surrogate or conservative media bring up Clinton’s medical condition?
A prime example comes in the form from Beth Israel Medical Center’s Dr. Bob Lahita, who is not a fringe medical expert or one who engages in political advocacy.
Dr. Lahita’s resume is impressive: Currently chairman of the department of medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. His opinion is so respected, he’s been tapped as a medical expert by “CBS This Morning,” MSNBC, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Fox Business Network and “Health on 12” in New Jersey.
He has also written numerous books, including “Lupus: Everything You Want to Know” and “Women and Autoimmune Disease, The Mysterious Ways Your Body Betrays Itself,” via Harper Collins. He serves as the editor of the Yearbook of Rheumatology.
So with that kind of reputation and resume, it’s notable that on the Fox Business Network recently, Dr. Lahita made a compelling argument regarding both concerns around Clinton’s health and the need for more transparency regarding health records of any presidential candidate.
“This is a very unusual story with Hillary,” said Lahita, pointing to the two blood clots she’s been diagnosed with in the past. “The very fact that she’s having these clots and she’s had two bouts of thrombosis is disconcerting to say the least.”
When asked if questions about Clinton’s health are legitimate and not part of a political conspiracy, Lahita said without hesitation, “I don’t think it’s a conspiracy.”
“It had dire effects for our country, going from Kennedy to Roosevelt, to Woodrow Wilson, whose wife ran the White House for some time,” he continued, “So we have issues here and I think both candidates should be very forthcoming and perhaps have an impartial panel of physicians review the data and make that kind of decision before Americans go to the polls.”
Interestingly enough, Woodrow Wilson is the guy who signed the Federal Reserve Act into law, on the day before Christmas Eve in 1913.
Clinton’s last release was a two-page letter from Mount Kisco, N.Y., internist Dr. Lisa Bardack more than one year ago simply stating she was “as a healthy 67-year-old female whose current medical conditions include hypothyroidism and seasonal pollen allergies.”
So here’s a respected medical doctor who is publicly saying that questioning Hillary’s health is not a conspiracy theory, and that it’s a legitimate campaign issue. He also says that both candidates should be subject to an independent medical review, which is something I agree with given the age of both Trump and Clinton.
So you’d think Dr. Lahita’s statements would be big news that would be covered by America’s so-called independent, competent media, but you’d be wrong. Here are the Google search results for “Dr. Bob Lahita Hillary.”
Crickets from mainstream media, and I’d note there was no mention of Dr. Lahita in the CNN article by Gregory Krieg, despite it being published today and highlighting the opinions of other doctors. Which brings me to another point…
Some in the mainstream media are so freaked out about Hillary’s health becoming a campaign issue, they are publicly begging Google to hide results deemed to be conspiracy theory by New York Times columnists.
What I am referring to is this, now famous, tweet by Farhad Manjoo:
He proceeds to explain what’s really bothering him, the fact that Infowars appears at the top of Google search results on the issue.
This is particularly interesting because as I demonstrated above, when you search the very non-conspiracy theory sounding “”Dr. Bob Lahita Hillary,” you also get Infowars at the top of search.
How is this Google’s fault? Either the mainstream media isn’t covering the issue at all, or it is doing so in such a non interesting way that no one is reading their articles. As such, alternative media sites end up driving all traffic on these issues, which leads to mainstream media columnists whining to Google for help.
They now demand that Google rely on the “facts” (determined by the geniuses at the New York Times of course), and work to separate all conspiracy theory from non-conspriacy theory in global news. Good luck with that.
Meanwhile, perhaps I missed it since I don’t follow him, but I failed to see the outraged tweet from Mr. Manjoo demanding that Google hide the ubiquitous “Trump is a Russian agent” conspiracy theories from search, which mainstream media gatekeepers have no problem propagating liberally.
Of course, the New York Times rendering judgment on those pushing conspiracy theories would be downright hilarious if it weren’t so sad. For example, the paper itself exhibited no such restraint when it came to peddling U.S. government conspiracies about Iraq in the run up to one of the most inhumane, unnecessary and destructive foreign policy blunders in American history. In fact, the paper was ultimately so embarrassed by its own behavior, it issued a statement in 2004 titled, FROM THE EDITORS; The Times and Iraq. Here are a few excerpts:
We have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged — or failed to emerge.
The problematic articles varied in authorship and subject matter, but many shared a common feature. They depended at least in part on information from a circle of Iraqi informants, defectors and exiles bent on ”regime change” in Iraq, people whose credibility has come under increasing public debate in recent weeks. (The most prominent of the anti-Saddam campaigners, Ahmad Chalabi, has been named as an occasional source in Times articles since at least 1991, and has introduced reporters to other exiles. He became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles, until his payments were cut off last week.) Complicating matters for journalists, the accounts of these exiles were often eagerly confirmed by United States officials convinced of the need to intervene in Iraq. Administration officials now acknowledge that they sometimes fell for misinformation from these exile sources. So did many news organizations — in particular, this one.
Some critics of our coverage during that time have focused blame on individual reporters. Our examination, however, indicates that the problem was more complicated. Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops into the paper. Accounts of Iraqi defectors were not always weighed against their strong desire to have Saddam Hussein ousted. Articles based on dire claims about Iraq tended to get prominent display, while follow-up articles that called the original ones into question were sometimes buried. In some cases, there was no follow-up at all.
So because we failed to do our job, millions of lives were ruined, ISIS emerged out the resultant power vacuum and over $2 trillion in U.S. taxpayer money was squandered. Sorry everyone!
But look, we all make mistakes. Unfortunately, cheerleading a nation into a disastrous unprovoked war in the Middle East seems just slightly more damaging than asking questions about Hillary Clinton’s health. So what’s really going on?
I am of the opinion that the mainstream media is not freaking out about the popularity of Hillary’s health as a campaign issue just because they are biased in her favor (which they are). My contention is that this goes a lot deeper than that.
As I look at the landscape in 2016 to-date, I observe emergent signs that alternative media is finally beginning to take over from the legacy mainstream media when it comes to impact and influence. The mainstream media (unlike with John McCain in 2008), had decided that Hillary Clinton’s health was not an issue and chose not to pursue it. Many in the alternative media world took a different position, and due to mainstream media’s failure to inform the American public for decades, the alternative media drove that issue to the top of the news cycle. That’s power.
This is an incredibly big deal, and the mainstream media intuitively knows what it means. It means a total loss of legitimately, prestige and power. All of which is well deserved of course.
Two tweets I sent out yesterday perfectly summarize what I think of the situation (excuse my typos):
Moreover, truly insane conspiracy theories thrive in an environment where with no trust in media.
Who's to blame for this? The media itself.
So here’s the bottom line. 2016 represents the true beginning of what I would call the Media Wars. Alternative media is now capable of driving the news cycle. Mainstream media now has no choice but to fight back, and fight back it will. It will fight back dirty. This is going to get very ugly, but by the time the dust has settled, I think much of the mainstream media will be left as a shell of its former self.