Apparently, it's impolitic to have questions about a presidential candidate's health.
Not any presidential candidate, mind. If people have questions about 70-year-old Donald Trump's health, that's fair game and totally understandable. He wants to be leader of the free world, after all.
But even bringing up questions about Hillary Clinton's health is apparently sexist, unpatriotic, age-ist, and part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to attack the Democratic candidate. Just like every question about anything she does is indicative of the ongoing, three-decades-long "vast right wing conspiracy" that's dogged her since the days when she was calling black teenagers "superpredators."
Consider this passage from an Aug. 24 story on CNN that is supposed to pass for a balanced news story: "From Donald Trump and his top surrogates to the right-wing media and its engine rooms of outrage in the blogosphere, Hillary Clinton's opponents are ramping up efforts to sow doubt over the candidate's health."
Got that? That means Dr. David Scheiner, who was Barack Obama's physician for more than two decades, is a conspiracy theorist for saying Clinton should be more forthcoming about her history with thrombosis, her regimen with the blood-thinning medication Coumadin, and her neurological health after suffering a concussion.
Dr. Bob Lahita of Newark's Beth Israel Medical Center is also a conspiracy theorist, apparently.
"This is a very unusual story with Hillary," Lahita told Fox News. "The very fact that she's having these clots and she's had two bouts of thrombosis is disconcerting, to say the least."
For context, let's sample some of the headlines surrounding Republican John McCain's health when he ran against Obama for the presidency in 2008:
- "McCain's Age and Past Health Problems Could Be An Issue in the Presidential Race," US News & World Report, May 9, 2008
- "McCain's Age and Health, and the 2008 Election," National Public Radio, May 23, 2008
- "A Look At McCain's Medical Records," CBS News, May 23, 2008
- "McCain faces questions on age, health," CNN, October 8, 2008
- "How Healthy Is John McCain?" Time magazine, May 14, 2008
Looking into a presidential candidate's health is fair game, but one could certainly argue the press was obsessed with McCain's health in 2008 and weren't circumspect about it, even though most of the Republican senator's health concerns stemmed from injuries he'd gotten as a prisoner of the Vietcong in the Vietnam War.
Voters also heard the common refrain that McCain, at 70, was too old to be president, especially compared to the youthful 43-year-old then-Sen. Barack Obama who was still sneaking clandestine smokes in between campaign stops.
So McCain was too old to be president, and it was acceptable for questions about his health to dominate news cycles, but question a 68-year-old Hillary Clinton's health and you could find yourself out in the cold.
Just ask The Huffington Post's David Seamon, who is no longer permitted to contribute to the publication -- and had his last two articles deleted from HuffPo -- for the crime of asking some basic questions about Clinton's health in a column, The Hill's Joe Concha noted.
"People are talking about it, that hashtag has been quite popular," Seamon said, per Western Journalism, "and whenever a video concerning a presidential candidate’s health is viewed more than 3.5 million times, somebody who is under contract to The Huffington Post and to AOL should be able to link out to that, especially as a journalist ... without having their account revoked without any notice ... late on a Sunday night."
Or The New York Times' Farhad Manjoo, who publicly asked Google to censor reports about Clinton's health, arguing that the search engine "shouldn't give quarter to conspiracy theorists," freedom of speech be damned.
It's shades of Vladimir Putin under Russia, with the American press acting like a state-sponsored organ already loyal to the chosen president. November is just a formality, in the eyes of Clinton's media lapdogs. Nothing to see here, move along -- just like there was nothing to see with Clinton's State Department emails, or her pay-for-play schemes at state, or the foreign leaders with horrendous human rights records donating to her campaign.
It's all part of the same all-encompassing vast right-wing conspiracy, which is probably the reason Clinton hasn't deigned to hold a press conference in more than 260 days. (You'd think Clinton's press minions would be disturbed that she won't even allow them to ask her questions, but I suppose they eagerly await any crumbs Clinton allows them, just like the Russian journalists covering Putin. You forget yourselves, lapdogs -- Dear Leader will answer questions when she sees fit.)
In the end, it's the voters who lose out, Concha points out. Neither candidate seems likely to offer more than vague letters from their personal physicians, unlike McCain, who released more than 1,000 pages of his medical records for the 2008 race.
"If things were relatively normal, somewhat civil, reasonable people would agree on this simple request," he wrote. "But this election is anything but normal, anything but civil. And in the process, both candidates will skate from what should be a mandatory requirement before holding arguably one of the most stressful and powerful jobs in the world."