Opinion

Clinton Fainting Flap Reveals Media's Liberal Bias

If McCain had a similar scare in 2008, the internet would have exploded

The recent media coverage of Hillary Clinton's health issues is a prime example of the double standard when it comes to covering Democrats versus Republicans, writes Matt Lewis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Talk about shameless.

If anyone doubts that (a) Democratic politicians are just as ridiculous as Republicans or (b) the media is liberally biased toward the Democratic candidate, then they haven't turned on a television or surfed on their smartphone this week.

In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s collapse/faint/swoon (what do we call it?) leaving a 9/11 memorial Sunday, I've encountered lots of spin coming from apologists. Here are a few of the worst examples (I'm paraphrasing):

So what? President George H.W. Bush once threw up on the Japanese Prime Minister. — George Clooney (and others).

The real problem is that she doesn’t drink enough water. Never has. — "A person in [Clinton's] orbit" to Politico (opening the door to what has now been dubbed “Watergate”).

Well, I once had walking pneumonia. — Joe Biden.

That’s nothing: I HAVE pneumonia right now. —  Chuck Schumer.

The most egregious example, however, came from former Hillary Clinton adviser Peter Daou, who tweeted, “To #Hillary haters jabbering about NYC weather, I LIVE HERE. I usually play outdoor summer hoops and today it was too hot even for a stroll.”

In fact, as The Washington Post reported, “Just before noon, it was 82 degrees and humid at ground zero, although it was probably a bit cooler when Clinton had left two hours earlier.” 

Of course, that was when Daou was helping advance the notion that Clinton simply “overheated.” Once the pneumonia diagnosis was presented, he later spun it this way: “Doing events with pneumonia shows how strong Hillary is. Her detractors have now lost another one of their hit jobs. They should be ashamed.” Riiiight. 

In fairness to Daou, politicians, operatives, and loyalists are, almost by necessity, hacks. Their job isn't to tell the public the truth, but instead to recite talking points and spin. And frankly, although Twitter blurs the lines between activists and journalists, it's hard to blame somebody for doing his or her job. 

As such, the least defensible examples of “carrying water” for Clinton come not from operatives or activists, but from media outlets who — rather than encourage transparency on an entirely legitimate issue — instead provided cover for their favorite candidate. 

Journalists who cover up (or dramatically downplay) legitimate news are at least partly to blame for rampant voter distrust of the media. Why did so many voters ignore our warnings about Donald Trump? Here's your answer. If you want to know why people are paranoid and susceptible to conspiracy theories, the following media examples constitute Exhibit A:

Hey, Jimmy Carter collapsed, too! — an editor at USA Today. (In fairness to Carter, he was running a race, not, you know, just trying to walk to his car.)

And more recently, CBS's Charlie Rose interviewed Bill Clinton and asked if his wife's episode was caused by dehydration or a more serious health issue. According to Joe Concha at The Hill, "CBS News edited a video clip and transcript to remove former President Bill Clinton's comment during an interview that Hillary Clinton, now the Democratic presidential nominee, 'frequently' fainted in the past..."

The most shameless examples, however, probably involved people crying sexism. This is troubling on several levels, including the fact that it undermines legitimate examples of sexism. 

Justin Miller, senior editor at The Daily Beast, said attacks on Clinton's health are aided by "the deep sexism that women are physically inferior.” 

Christiane Amanpour went so far as to suggest that since male journalists turned a blind eye to FDR's polio and JFK's Addison's disease, covering Hillary Clinton's public collapse in a transparent fashion was tantamount to a sexist double standard. (The analogy would certainly apply if we were living in a bygone media era before things like camera phones.)

Yes, there is a double standard — just not the one she sees. As Meghan McCain, daughter of the 2008 GOP nominee Sen. John McCain, put it: “How would [The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza] and the media have reacted in '08 if my father had his lifeless body thrown into a van and lost a shoe on camera?”

It’s pretty clear what the media would have done had McCain had a similar health scare in 2008. The internet would have exploded, and he would have been declared dead in the water.

The media really is biased. It's not just a clever slogan.

Roll Call columnist Matt K. Lewis is a Senior Contributor to the Daily Caller and author of the book “Too Dumb to Fail.” Follow him on Twitter @MattKLewis.

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