Conservative media are circulating two pictures from February showing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton slipping on stairs to claim that her “health could be taking a nose-dive.” The fake controversy fits into right-wing media’s long history of baselessly questioning Clinton’s physical health.
The fringe right-wing blog American Mirror published the pictures, which show aides helping Clinton up the stairs, in an August 7 blog post, claiming they’re the “latest evidence” that the “questionable health condition of Hillary Clinton should be a major issue of the 2016 campaign.” The post concluded, “At what point is the mainstream media going to question Clinton’s health status?”
Mainstream media quickly dismissed the charge that the pictures are evidence of a health issue as a “conspiracy theory,” with CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter tweeting, “The photo is from February 24. She slipped,” and writing on CNN.com that the reports show “how easily photos can be distorted to take on a new and more sinister meaning.” He added that the “blog post failed to note that the photos were six months old, or that the Getty caption indicated that Clinton simply slipped while walking up the stairs.” The Daily Mail explained that the photo “is falsely being presented as some form of proof” that Clinton “is in poor health.”
The photo quickly made its way from American Mirror to other right-wing blogs, includings Drudge Report, WorldNetDaily, and Breitbart News. According to Breitbart News, the photos show Clinton “struggling to make it up the stairs, either as a result of her fragile body or perhaps because her well-documented brain injuries make it harder for her to transport herself through daily life activities.” The website RT also claimed that the “worrying photographs” have people “speculating” that “Clinton’s health could be taking a nose-dive.”
The invented controversy fits into right-wing media’s never-ending freakout over Clinton’s health and bodily functions. Conservative outlets and pundits have claimed that an instance of Clinton coughing raised “further questions about her health and stamina,” and they have repeatedly mocked her for looking “sick” and “unenergetic.”