Charisma News Dishonest on Physicians and Hillary Clinton’s Health

From Charisma News:

Poll: 71 Percent of Doctors Say Hillary’s Health Issues Are Serious

Hillary Clinton’s health concerns are “serious” and could be potentially disqualifying, more than 70 percent of doctors surveyed in a recent poll said.

A new poll conducted on behalf of a a non-partisan professional association of physicians in all types of practices and specialties may perhaps put the “conspiracy theory” explanation for Hillary Clinton’s overall health to rest.

The survey conducted among members of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a group that advocates for private-practice physicians, found that 71 percent of respondents believe the Democratic presidential nominee’s health issues are “serious.” Not only that, but that those health issues—if more was known about them—could be disqualifying for the position of president of the United States.”

The article goes on to refer to Clinton’s documented past concussion and thrombosis, although we’re not told whether the doctors also gave credence to claims that Clinton joking around with journalists was actually an epileptic fit; that a photo of her being assisted on steps is evidence of secret fragility; that a video captured evidence of tongue cancer (caused by the arts of Sappho, according to some sites); and that a coughing fit denoted Parkinson’s Disease. The reason why such claims are being seized on by conservative activists was recently discussed by Michelle Goldberg at Slate.

The Charisma article, by one Bob Eschliman, is mostly a churned-over press release, although two details are his own: that the AAPS is “non-partisan” and that the poll puts “to rest” claims that stories about Clinton’s health are conspiracy theories. This confirms that Eschliman is dishonest rather than lazy: to call the AAPS “non-partisan” without also noting that it is a fringe right-libertarian alternative to the American Medical Association can only be deliberately misleading. As Mother Jones noted in a 2009 profile of “The Tea Party’s Favorite Doctors“:

Think Glenn Beck with an MD. The group (which did not return calls for comment for this story) has been around since 1943. Some of its former leaders were John Birchers, and its political philosophy comes straight out of Ayn Rand. Its general counsel is Andrew Schlafly, son of the legendary conservative activist Phyllis. The AAPS statement of principles declares that it is “evil” and “immoral” for physicians to participate in Medicare and Medicaid, and its journal is a repository for quackery. Its website features claims that tobacco taxes harm public health and electronic medical records are a form of “data control” like that employed by the East German secret police. An article on the AAPS website speculated that Barack Obama may have won the presidency by hypnotizing voters, especially cohorts known to be susceptible to “neurolinguistic programming”—that is, according to the writer, young people, educated people, and possibly Jews.

There was renewed interest the following year, when the Courier-Journal noted Rand Paul’s association with the group. One AAPS member, Dr Jane Orient, has opined on Clinton’s health for Breitbart; in 2014, Dr Orient published a book via the birther website WND on how to survive the Ebola epidemic, warning that infected West Africans were “streaming” into the USA via the southern border.

Returning to the poll itself, the AAPS describes it as having been an “informal internet poll”. The results page does not include any methodical information, or any details about the respondents.

Charisma News is an outlet of the Evangelical/Pentecostal Charisma media empire, headed by Stephen Strang. The site is undiscerning in the anti-Clinton material it publishes, and last month it published a claim by a conspiracy theorist named Michael Snyder that the Democratic candidate may even have expired by November. This reckless disregard for truthful discourse in the quest to get Trump elected is a symptom of a general debauchment of the Christian Right.

The article’s author, Bob Eschliman, was himself previously in the news when he was fired from his job at the Newton Daily News over his personal blog, on which he railed against the “Gaystapo”. Eschliman alleged that his termination was religious discrimination, and with the assistance of the Liberty Foundation he reached a confidential settlement last year. Judging from the quality of the above, the Newton Daily News can regard that as money well spent.

UPDATE: The above was written shortly before Clinton’s faint at the 9/11 memorial event; as expected, this has now been seized on as evidence that conspiricists were right all along. At WND, Trump’s birther-guru Joseph Farah writes:

In the blink of an eye Sunday, the attitude about Hillary Clinton’s health among the nation’s “mainstream” media went from dismissing them as nutty “conspiracy theories” to genuine concern, if not panic.

A series of uncontrollable coughing fits during public speeches didn’t do it.

Compelling video of apparent, inexplicable seizures didn’t do it.

The opinion of nationally recognized medical authorities didn’t do it.

Presumably these “nationally recognized medical authorities” are the AAPS, unfairly dismissed just because they promoted the claim that Obama uses hand gestures to hypnotise Jews.

One of the advantages of being a conspiracy theorist or demagogue is that one can make all kinds of wild extrapolations, often in bad faith, and then in due course cherrypick particular details that are found to have coincided with reality. Those who take a more reasonably cautious approach to the evidence at any given time will always be at a disadvantage.

And in any case, it remains untrue that “71 percent of doctors” have confirmed that Clinton has a “serious” and “potentially disqualifying” health condition.

One Response

  1. ’70 percent of doctors surveyed in a recent poll said they could diagnose any illness by seeing a short video of the person walking along the street’.
    well medical science has gone a long way, no need for x-rays, blood tests, psychic doctors can tell if your illness is serious simply by seeing you on film, no need to question the patient!

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