By ANNETTE REID
Last Friday Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attended a 9/11 memorial in New York. Everything seemed to be okay with her until she left the ceremony before it ended. In a video taken by a bystander, Clinton is seen having difficulty walking and then fainting just before getting into an SUV. People around her had to assist her getting into the vehicle.
This video has been shown across all forms of news media and has been analyzed by not only journalists but also health professionals. It was even a treading topic on Twitter.
It is no secret that Hillary has struggled with health issues as of late. Along the campaign trail she has experienced a few coughing fits and was diagnosed with pneumonia on the two days prior to the 9/11 ceremony incident. However it was not publicly known that she had been diagnosed until Sunday night.
Some news outlets have been criticizing Clinton for not being forthcoming with her current health status even going so far as to lessen her credibility as a politician by saying that she is not transparent with the general public. Due to the pressure being put on her by the media, Clinton revealed even more medical information by releasing a letter written by her doctor on Wednesday.
Her opposition, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, has questioned her health over the course of the election season as well. But this incident has made Trump reveal more about his own health as to not appear that he is hiding anything. He even went on the “Dr. Oz” show today and had Dr. Mehmet Oz analyze his doctor’s notes on TV.
The real question here is why some news organizations are pushing for presidential candidates to reveal such personal information instead of focusing on a nominee’s political views and how different today’s coverage of presidential elections have changed from those of the past. In the past, presidential nominees were not required to reveal their health status. Some of our most memorable presidents ran for office while suffering with serious health issues.
Franklin Roosevelt became ill with polio in 1921. Due to this he lost the ability to move his legs and then became paralyzed. In spite of that, he was elected as president in 1932 and ran for re-election in 1936, 1940 and 1944. However, his declining health during the re-election was never mentioned and after his doctor released a statement to the press saying that his health was okay reporters did not question it. Nevertheless, he died in office in 1945.
Another president who was elected to office while suffering health problems was John F. Kennedy. He had Addison’s disease and when confronted by his opponent over the matter, Kennedy simply had his doctors publicly declare that he was in good health. After that he was never questioned again.
As these examples show, former presidential candidates were not forced by the news media to reveal their health history so why is the press making such a big deal about it now?
A lot of it has to do with the news media’s tendency to attack politicians and want to show the public every presidential candidate’s weaknesses. However, forcing nominees to reveal every aspect of their health history might not be the right way to go about gathering information on them.
If the media wants to gather information on them they should focus on things that matter to public like where the candidates stand on issues. Instead of showing Hillary Clinton fainting multiple times per hour and over analyzing every second of the video, the focus should be about where she stands on issues so that come Election Day people can be well informed.