The Guardian’s coverage of Clinton’s health

Kit Knightly

OffGuardian has been quiet on the issue of Clinton’s health, about which there has been a whole lot of speculation in the alt-news in recent weeks, and a whole lot of denial in the MSM. Discussing someone’s health can be tricky, you have to tread a fine line between journalism and voyeurism. You have to have a baseline of respect for privacy that, one would hope, would be applied to oneself by others.

However, this isn’t about a private citizen, this is about the physical and mental fitness of the (notionally) most powerful person on the planet…and the absurdity of the current narrative cries out for a response. Stories about Clinton’s health in the Guardian or on CNN simply say “there is no evidence Clinton is sick!” and complain about Trump’s campaign stoking “conspiracy theories” (I was not aware that “Gosh, that old lady doesn’t look well!” was a conspiracy theory…but that’s the media for you).

The problem with the argument that “there’s no evidence Clinton is ill” is, pretty simply, that there’s quite a lot of evidence Clinton is ill.

  • First, there are her coughing fits. Over the past couple of years Hillary has had repeated fits of coughing. See here, here and here.
  • Secondly, there are her bizarre facial movements/spasms, what some people describe as “seizures”. The famous one here, and the odd one at the DNC.
  • Third, there is her memory loss and cognitive problems, see this video, where she appears to freeze up. When she does eventually speak she simply repeats the phrase that was whispered into her ear by a man who appears to be secret service (there has been a lot of speculation as to his identity and/or role).
  • Fourth, blood clots. She has had two major blood clots, one in her brain, and is consequently on blood thinners to prevent a third.
  • Fifth, apparent weakness and unsteadiness. There are many photographs of Clinton seeming to need assistance standing, balancing, or climbing stairs. In many of her public appearances she is propped up on a stool rather than standing up.

The web is rich with speculation and theorising trying to tie these threads of evidence to a solid hypothesis, plenty of doctors have given their opinions, and some of their ideas seem to have merit. But that is not the point of this article. The point of this article is more to ask a simple question: How far will the media go to persuade people they cannot trust their own eyes? How self-evident must something be before it can no longer be dismissed as a “conspiracy theory”?

No mainstream media source has discussed the possibility that Clinton might be sick, no newspaper or network has offered a refutation of the evidence, or an explanation of her bizarre behaviour. They simply do not discuss it.

That is not how a healthy media should work.

For weeks The Guardian has put out opinion pieces such as this, and this, which construct straw-man arguments to dismiss the idea that Clinton might be anything other than perfectly fine.

In her latest in a long line of Clinton-touting nonsense, Jill Abramson repeats that Hillary is “fundamentally honest” (whatever the hell that means), before summing up yesterdays collapse as:

…the candidate appeared to stumble after leaving the 9/11 memorial in New York.”

Which is akin to summarising the plot of Jaws as “Some fishermen appear, from some angles, to get rather too close to a shark”.

At the same time Barack Obama’s biographer, Richard Wolffe, describes the “stumble” in even more benign terms. A “hot wobble” he calls it, before launching into a rather long polemic about how Trump is worse than Hillary in practically every regard (including physically). It was just unfortunate, he says, that Hillary’s perfectly normal “hot wobble” happened to be caught on camera. She is actually totally healthy and fine.

All of which is rather undermined by the presence of an editor’s note which reads:

Editor’s note: shortly after publication of this article, the Clinton campaign revealed she was suffering from pneumonia.”

Friday’s beautifully Orwellian “Facebook Fact-check” (which, for the record, checked no facts) repeated the claim:

Unlike her rival Donald Trump, Clinton has released fairly detailed medical records. There is no evidence to suggest the 68-year-old should be worried about her health.

But Clinton has NOT released “detailed” medical records, rather her doctor – Dr Lisa Bardack – wrote an open letter to the New York Times…over a year ago. Incidentally, this is the same doctor who was shadowing the perfectly healthy candidate all yesterday morning…just in case she got heatstroke allergies pneumonia.

Perhaps the most beautifully timed editorial on the subject was David Ferguson’s, it headlined:

I cough at all the wrong times. Thank God I’m not Hillary Clinton”

Before adding in the sub-head:

Those of us with allergies know only too well what that tickle at the back of the throat feels like. Luckily, no one assumes we’re secretly dying.”

And then finishing on this note:

Sometimes, oh ye right-wing vultures, a cough is just a cough and the female candidate whose health you’ve never cared one iota about before now is probably just fine, suffering from – as her personal physician disclosed in detail – a round of seasonal allergies.

Three hours after this was published, Clinton collapsed in a parking lot. Ten minutes after that, the comments section under Mr Ferguson’s article was closed. It was a farce, and could not have been better timed if it had been deliberate.

Of course, the media’s refusal to deal with the subject of Clinton’s health goes beyond ATL denial, there is also the (now standard) BTL censorship.

In the interest of promoting educated discussion on this subject, I endeavoured to point out the relationship between pneumonia and some neurological diseases, like Parkinson’s, in the CiF comment section:


…Only to find that the Guardian is currently censoring any comment that uses the word “Parkinson’s”, I suggest you try it for yourself.


Interestingly, “Dr Drew” (real name Dr. David Andrew Pinsky), a famous TV doctor in the US, was subject to rather more high-profile censorship when he was fired just a week after airing his totally non-partisan thoughts on Clinton’s health, and the ability of her doctors.

I hope they realise that simply concealing a fact doesn’t change reality. I don’t know whether or not Hillary is ill, but IF Hillary is, in fact, very sick…no amount of censorship or denial is going to keep her alive.


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Categories: Kit, latest, On Guardian