Calm before storm? Pressure mounts as MSM admits Clinton’s health is ‘campaign issue’
While Republican candidate Donald Trump’s Twitter account was silent following the news of Clinton’s diagnosis, the revelation coincided with a political “ceasefire” that the two campaigns had agreed upon so that the 15th anniversary of the tragic September 11 terrorist attacks could be observed in peace. Trump was “not planning to tweet,” Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported, citing two Trump advisers, but he and his aides were still “closely monitoring HRC news.”
With Hillary’s health problems, both confirmed and perceived, one of Trump’s recurrent arguments as to why his rival is “unfit and incapable” of being the next US president, it took only a matter of hours for things to get “pretty aggressive on the campaign trail,” RT America’s host and political commentator Ed Schultz noted.
It is not just the physical capability of the candidate that has been called into question amid a rigorous campaign tour schedule, but the fact that Clinton’s illness remained undisclosed up until the moment that she had to be evacuated from the 9/11 remembrance ceremony.
“The question begs had she not had the fainting spell today in New York, when was she going to tell the country that she had pneumonia, if she was going to tell the country,” Schultz explains, noting that Clinton will come under “an enormous amount of scrutiny” during the final stretch of the campaign.
This disclosure problem has even become the focus of some major US media outlets that had previously dismissed the Hillary health-talk as un-newsworthy.
“Mainstream media hasn’t liked discussing this topic… Now, suddenly, this is a national debate, whereas before it was more done by the ‘fringe’ people associated with supporters of Donald Trump,” Dr. Max Abrahms, an assistant professor of political science at Northeastern University, told RT.
Indeed, when #HackingHillary was making the headlines last week, the liberal media appeared not to notice, or downplay the then-alleged health problems. However, since Clinton’s apparent fainting spell due to what was initially explained as “overheating,” and then pneumonia-linked dehydration, some outlets have seemingly made a U-turn in their coverage.
Notably, the Washington Post, which ran an apologetic piece criticizing the Republicans and conservative media for taking on the “totally ridiculous issue” of Hillary’s marathon coughing fit in Cleveland, seems to have completely changed its tune. Columnist Chris Cillizza, who last week blamed the media buzz on “Clinton conspiracy theorists” and argued that there was “zero evidence that anything is seriously wrong with Clinton,” has now written that the candidate’s state of health has become “a real issue in the presidential campaign.”
“Whereas Clinton and her campaign could laugh off questions about her health before today, the ‘overheating’ episode makes it almost impossible for them to do so,” Cillizza wrote.
The New York Times’s Adam Nagourney has also joined the choir of those demanding the immediate release of Clinton’s medical records. In speculation on social media, amateur video-based “diagnoses” widely range from thyroid disease to an early onset of Parkinson’s.
“Feels like a good day for Clinton to release her medical records and call on Trump to do same,” he wrote on Twitter.
Other mainstream media outlets, such as MSNBC and CNN, have been reporting on the story, while the AP ran it as breaking news.
CNN ran an article by Stephen Collinson titled “Hillary Clinton stumbles – will her campaign follow?” that raised questions about the future of her nomination.
Not everyone has found the HRC campaign’s delay in reporting the pneumonia surprising. Abrahms explained that Clinton’s modus operandi “has to do with less sharing, not more sharing,” noting that recent events have only been “reinforcing” this notion.
“Hillary Clinton likes to keep her cards close to her chest. She’s not big on transparency. She’s infamous, really, notorious for not giving press conferences, and she of course didn’t share the contents of her speeches, which is the main way that she’s made tens of millions of dollars, the information about the Clinton Foundation, in terms of who those donors were… She’s unwilling to state whether her daughter will take over the Clinton Foundation, assuming she becomes president,” Abrahms summed up.
However, the professor expects that the “health scare” will pressure the Clinton campaign to provide more statements – at least on this issue – as “a lot of Americans [are] now rather skeptical.”
It should be noted that Clinton is not unique in keeping some information to herself. Clinton supporters have long criticized 70-year-old Trump for refusing to disclose his tax returns, and his own health record remains largely unknown, despite a brief release from Trump’s doctor, who dubbed him “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
“This is the question both candidates are going to have to answer,” Schultz says, pointing out that “we’ve gotten less information health wise between these two candidates than any other candidates in the past.”
The Clinton campaign announced on Sunday night that she was cancelling her trip to California, where she was supposed to appear at fundraisers on Monday and Tuesday. Her busy tour schedule is not the only demanding activity the recovering candidate will have to worry about, however, as the pre-election debates are also fast approaching.
“We’re quite close to the election now, and so the American public is really tuned in. Later this month, Hillary Clinton begins a grueling set of debates against Donald Trump, and she’s going to need to be healthy, just physically, to withstand those debates – something like 90 minutes of debating,” Abrahms notes, wondering if Clinton will be able to go the distance.