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Thursday, September 15, 2016

 
Internalization of wingnuttia

by digby












I wrote about the origins of the malicious health rumors and how they play into Trump's sexist dogwhistle ("she doesn't have the strength and stamina to be president ") for Salon a couple of weeks ago. The point is to paint her as a weak woman who cannot handle the manly burden of being commander in chief. Her catching pneumonia on the trail lent validation to that primal notion, (which she knew would happen and is why she decided to try to work through it.)

The press has been reading the right wing's relentless charge that she's too physically and mentally weak to be president every day when they click on their favorite website, Drudge. They have been saying she has brain damage ever since she fell in 2012. When she got a cough, they knew very well that the right wingers were flogging the idea that it's a Parkinsons symptom. When she got dizzy on 9/11 Hannity and the Fox doctors all kept running with the Parkinsons/brain damage story even after the diagnosis of pneumonia. The mainstream media tried to justify their own breathless coverage it as if it were a process story about her failing to keep them informed of her diagnosis. But that was always weird and never made much sense. Anyone watching he story unfold that day could see the febrile excitement in the media over the possibility of her being truly disabled, as Drudge and company had been pushing for months.

I don't think they wanted her to be ill. But they had internalized the meme that she's physically compromised in some fundamental way and when she became dizzy, all the stuff they'd seen about the brain damage came to mind. If you didn't know all that you would just assume she got sick like people do every day and accept the doctor's explanation and move on to other campaign issues. Instead it was a gigantic story, with repeated showings of her wobbling in slow motion and endless speculation about what she must be hiding in her medical records.

The Republicans are always good at this sort of unfounded smear and Trump is downright gifted at finding the underlying trait about his opponents that he can use to discredit them. With Clinton it's not just "crooked Hillary" although the press has internalized that one too. The primitive lizard brain target is "she doesn't have the stamina or the strength to be president."  And it's working.