Yesterday, CNN published one of the most one-sided pieces of journalism I’ve ever seen, headlined: “Clinton’s health is fine, but what about Trump?”
The piece reheats grandiose claims made by Donald Trump’s physician from last December, in order to cast doubts on Trump’s health and therefore his fitness for the presidency.
Donald Trump’s private physician, Harold Bornstein, had published his comically favourable impressions of Trump’s health last year. In it, he claimed Trump’s health was “astonishingly excellent” and posited that Trump “will be the healthiest man ever elected to the presidency.”
Like most of Trump’s representatives, Bornstein wasn’t making any effort to disguise the fact that he’s a bought-and-paid-for part of the real estate mogul’s empire. His article was no different than the effusive praise we’ve heard from other members of Trump’s retinue. It’s just a part of the candidate’s image.
Evidence of Clinton’s poor health, in contrast, has been surfacing for years. Clinton suffered from deep vein thrombosis in 1998 (a potentially deadly condition), and a recurrence of the same in 2009. In 2012, she suffered a life-threatening brain injury. Clinton’s representatives claimed it was a blood clot, but there’s reason to believe that Clinton actually suffered a stroke.
It gets worse.
In an email chain recently published by WikiLeaks, she complained of “decision fatigue,” the deterioration of problem-solving ability after mental stress. Clinton described a colleague’s account of her symptoms as “spooky descriptive,” and may have solicited a stimulant drug to treat the condition: Modafinil, a drug also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
(Say what you like about Donald Trump, but he’s never had any problems with his energy levels…)
Clinton’s personal health disclosure is almost as fact-free as Trump’s. If you remove Trump’s formal language from the equation, her report is much the same. Clinton’s health report is a terse document spanning less than two pages, and contains few real details about her medical condition.
The denouement of the report claims that Hillary is in “excellent physical condition” and fires off a quick list of favourable-sounding health diagnostics about her blood pressure and cardiac health, despite also acknowledging Clinton’s history of blood clots and poor circulatory health.
There’s precedent for candidates with serious prior health issues to make a comprehensive disclosure of their medical history. John McCain, for instance, let journalists sift through nearly a decade of recent medical records when he was running for president in 2008. Why isn’t Clinton willing to do the same?
Of course, neither candidate this year is a spring chicken. At seventy years and seven months old, Trump would be the oldest person to ever assume the presidency. At sixty-nine years and three months, Clinton would be second-oldest. We should take their medical history seriously.
But we’ll never get anywhere if we keep getting fed spin like this.