US Election Conspiracy theorists in overdrive over Hillary Clinton's health

Americans are whipping themselves into a conspiracy-theory induced frenzy over presidential candidate Hillary Clinton falling ill over the weekend.

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play ( Gage Skidmore )
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Americans are whipping themselves into a conspiracy-theory induced frenzy over presidential candidate Hillary Clinton falling ill over the weekend.

Clinton became unwell at Sunday’s 9/11 anniversary ceremony in New York, where it was later revealed she suffered from mild pneumonia.

She went to her daughter's apartment to recover.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said Clinton attended the September 11th Commemoration Ceremony for just one hour and 30 minutes to pay her respects and greet some of the families of the fallen.

“During the ceremony, she felt overheated so departed to go to her daughter’s apartment, and is feeling much better.”

Clinton emerged from her daughter's apartment later, waving to onlookers and posing for photos.

“I’m feeling great,” she told reporters as she left. “It’s a beautiful day in New York.”

Later, the campaign said Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia.

Since the Sunday incident, Clinton’s campaign has said she is fine, and is just taking a couple of days off for rest, and her doctor has given her an appropriate prescription of antibiotics.

 

 

There have been criticism of the Clinton campaign for hiding the diagnosis, which has played well into the hands of the conspiracy-theorists who have gone into over-drive with their scrutiny over her health.

The fans of Republication presidential candidate Donald Trump have been able to run wild with their Clinton theories.

 

One theory is that Clinton has a body double – and it was that double who was seen leaving the apartment.

The Democratic nominee has also been plagued by allergies in recent weeks, and last Monday suffered a coughing fit while addressing a crowd in Cleveland. “Every time I think of Trump, I get allergic,” she joked.

Her detractors have argued this all adds up to her being physically unfit to be president, including Trump who has previously insinuated Clinton is in poor health — too weak and mentally "unstable" to fight ISIS and too "low-energy" to rally crowds, VOX reports.

His campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson suggested (without any basis) that Clinton has "dysphasia."

There are conspiracy theorist who have alleged Clinton has a brain tumor or some type of life-threatening heart disease.

There are threads on Reddit dedicated to these musings; one commentator said there has been a health cover up all along . Another alleged Clinton has signs of alcohol and/or drug abuse.

 

 

A piece on CNN.com written last month, outlines the conspiracy theories over Clinton, noting the claims of ill-health seek to undermine her candidacy.

CNN notes the "healthers" are using junk science and conspiracy theories to argue that Clinton is suffering from a series of debilitating brain injuries.

Clinton's physician -- the only person to speak on the record who has actually examined her -- has repeatedly said Clinton's health and fitness is fine.

CNN notes the roots of the health conspiracy theory date back to 2012, when she suffered a concussion after becoming dehydrated and fainting. She was later hospitalized and prescribed blood thinners to dissolve a blood clot located in a vein behind her right ear. The diagnosis was made during a follow-up exam related to her concussion. The clot did not, per Clinton's doctors, result in a stroke or any other neurological complications.

Then in May 2014 Republican strategist Karl Rove made headlines by suggesting Clinton had suffered brain damage in 2012. This year, she was accused of having a seizure in a muffin shop, when she was filmed just shaking her head vigorously. This was blown up on the net by a pro-Trump blogger.

 

 

As CNN reports, this then lead the conservative media and the Trump campaign itself began to pick up the pace.

And then there was a photo that circulated on the net of Clinton being helped up stairs. It was snapped in February and was used to argue she is too frail for leading the USA.

Right wing media outlet Fox News has also made its shared of unfounded claims –last month popular presenter Sean Hannity jumped on the seizure bandwagon, showing a photo of Clinton making a face and suggested that she was having a seizure.

Hannity dedicated a week of coverage to "investigating" Clinton’s health, bringing on a panel of medical experts —the "Fox News Medical A-Team"— to diagnose Clinton’s possible ailments. None of these experts had ever examined Clinton personally and were going off photos and allegations surfaced on the web – VOX reports.

Earlier this year, Clinton publicly hit back at those who question her heath, putting it down to a “wacky strategy, just say all these crazy things and maybe you can get some people to believe you," she said on a late night US talkshow.

In a piece on Salon.com. Amanda Marcotte argues Clinton's health is Obama's birth certificate all over again: "A barely disguised way for conservatives to wallow in bigotry".

The reaction to her ill health was sexist, Marcotte wrote – stating if it was a man who fell ill at a 9/11 memorial service because he was battling a minor case of pneumonia he would be considered a tough, patriotic hero.

Trump is older than Clinton, but the emphasis seems to be on her age, and her age equates to her not being healthy.

Marcotte quotes Ann Friedman writing in the Los Angeles Times that "Historically, women’s physical weakness relative to men has been used as an excuse to prevent us competing for everything from corporate promotions to Olympic medals...A similar fallacy about female fragility crops up in politics.”

But there is no evidence-based reason to think Clinton is fragile, considering the facts at hand, she's robust.

“A 68-year-old woman, with pneumonia, still kept a schedule that most of us wouldn’t make it through, flying here and there, holding multiple events and briefings a day,” Eric Schmeltzer wrote in the Huffington Post. “That’s not weak. That’s actually strong and tough as hell.”

While she takes time out, Clinton’s campaign has cancelled multiple appearances in California early this week, the Los Angeles Times reported, and to set minds at ease her campaign is also expected to release more medical records in the wake of her illness.



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