Stone indictment shows coordinated campaign to speculate about Hillary Clinton's health. Here's how right-wing media obliged.
On January 25, federal authorities arrested Trump confidant Roger Stone, charging him with obstruction of an official proceeding, false statements, and witness tampering. In the indictment, prosecutors revealed that Stone had been in contact with former Infowars colleague and fellow conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, who discussed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with Stone and suggested he begin to attack the health of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by saying she is “old,” that she has a “bad memory,” and that she has had a “stroke.”
Shortly after Corsi sent that email to Stone, Trump’s allies in the right-wing fever swamps began pushing conspiracy theories regarding Clinton’s health, suggesting that she suffered from “seizures” or had “brain damage,” among other absurd claims.
Stone indictment reveals confidant Corsi suggested Stone start attacking Clinton’s health
Corsi contacted Stone to inform him of “very damaging” information coming about the Clinton campaign, adding that it “would not hurt to start suggesting [Clinton is] old, memory bad, has stroke.” According to the indictment against Stone, “Person 1” -- known to be Corsi, according to Corsi’s own legal team -- contacted Stone via email to suggest attacking Clinton's health as a campaign issue, adding that Stone should “start suggesting [Clinton is] old, memory bad, has stroke.” From United States of America v. Roger Jason Stone, Jr.:
[United States of America v. Roger Jason Stone, Jr., accessed 1/25/19; Twitter, 1/25/19]
Daily Beast: “Jerome Corsi Told Roger Stone WikiLeaks Had Dirt on Hillary’s Health. Then the Attacks Started.” The Daily Beast’s Kelly Weill reported, “Weeks before WikiLeaks released emails in 2016 implying Hillary Clinton’s health was failing, conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi emailed Trump associate Roger Stone about the forthcoming leak.” She also documented how Infowars’ promotion of conspiracy theories about Clinton's health eventually spurred other far-right media figures, including Fox’s Sean Hannity, to do the same. [The Daily Beast, 11/28/18]
Days after Corsi sent his private advice to Stone, right-wing media boosted claims that Clinton had “brain damage”
Mike Cernovich claims to offer “Expert Analysis of Hillary Clinton’s Physical and Mental Breakdown.” On August 6, conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich claimed in his now-defunct blog Danger & Play that “Hillary’s health problems are well-known among the Secret Service.” Referring to a video of her speaking, he wrote, “While still FROZEN, Hillary is rescued by a male Secret Service agent, who reassures her, ‘You’ll be OK.’ Notice how Hillary’s lips are pursed? She has completely frozen, and has lost control of her executive functions/pre-frontal cortex.” From his August 6, 2016, blog post:
Hillary Clinton recently had a breakdown on TV. The media is of course covering this up rather than having an expert medical panel on to discuss her health. Yet what happened to Hillary was obviously a sign of a head injury and stroke.
When a protester appears, Hillary freezes. In psychology you learn that the flight-or-fight response is a myth. A stressful situation trigger a fight, flight, or freeze response.
“Freeze” is what we mean by saying someone has a “deer in the head lights look.” A prey animal freezes when it senses danger it cannot overcome and thus does not risk running away from. By freezing the deer hopes to not be seen. [Danger & Play, 8/6/16]
Gateway Pundit: “Expert Analysis finds Hillary Clinton’s Recent Seizures a Sign of Brain Damage.” On August 6, 2016, The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft wrote that “THE PRESSURE IS TOO MUCH” and that “recent videos call Hillary Clinton’s physical and mental stability is in question.” He then quoted from Cernovich’s blog post. [The Gateway Pundit, 8/6/16]
Cernovich: Clinton had a “seizure” and “suffered a brain injury during a fall.” From a August 7, 2016, post on Danger & Play:
Michael Jackson, Prince, and Elvis would travel with a personal doctor who could administer needed life-saving drugs and attention during a crisis. Remember when you thought famous people like Michael Jackson and Elvis had good medical care? What’s Clinton on?
Hillary appears to travel with her own Michael Jackson/Elvis style doctor. Who is he?
We saw this first “doctor” or handler during Hillary’s recent freeze-up. You can see Hillary’s handler, who at first glance would not be considered the alpha male of the group, reassure Hillary, speak to her using hypnotic language, and then move the Secret Service Agents out of the way. This handler is not an ordinary SS agent.
Hillary tries playing off the seizure by acting as if she had a “brain freeze.” As my medical experts explained to me, patients who suffer seizures become experts at playing it off.
Hillary has suffered a brain injury during a fall. She either had a stroke, causing her to fall, or the fall caused her stroke. (Doctors were unsure whether the fall was the cause or effect of the stroke.) [Danger & Play, 8/7/16]
Gateway Pundit: “IT’S WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT=> Photos of Hillary’s Handler Lead to More Questions about her Health – UPDATE: More Pics!” On August 7, 2016, Joe Hoft claimed that Clinton was accompanied by a “handler,” writing, “This man is still unknown although the web has now reported pictures of him at several outings with Hillary – assisting the weak and tired candidate. The fact that the man gets on stage, touches Hillary and then tells her what to do next, is very questionable.” [The Gateway Pundit, 8/7/16]
Gateway Pundit: “PHOTOS=> Hillary’s Handler Carries DIAZEPAM Pen for Patients Who Experience Recurrent Seizures!” [The Gateway Pundit, 8/7/16]
Breitbart: “Internet Melts Down over Photos of Hillary Clinton Getting Helped Up the Stairs.” In an August 7 blog post for Breitbart.com, Patrick Howley wrote that “Hillary Clinton needed to be physically helped up a moderate flight of stairs by her team of staffers and handlers” and that “Reuters and Getty photographs captured Hillary Clinton, 68, 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.” [Breitbart, 8/7/16]
Hannity hosts doctors to speculate on Clinton’s health, claims, “Some said it's like a mini-seizure. … Is there a possibility she had a mini-stroke, a TIA?” From the August 8, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Welcome back to Hannity. So an image of Hillary Clinton recently posted to the website The American Mirror is sparking new controversy for the Clinton campaign. Now, the picture, which shows Hillary Clinton apparently needing assistance to climb a flight of stairs at a campaign stop back in February, was picked up by The Drudge Report, which posted this headline over the weekend detailing Hillary Clinton's history with falls and speculating that the former secretary of state could be experiencing a serious undisclosed medical condition.
Joining us now with analysis, from the Fox News medical A-team we have Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel, and Dr. David Samadi is with us. All right. By the way, it's in The Daily Mail, “Are Hillary Clinton's health problems more severe than thought?” A new book is coming out that claims that. The Gateway Pundit had today, "Hillary's handler carrying a Diazepam pen for patients who experience recurrent seizures.” When you look at her history, Dr. Siegel, of falling, concussions, the blood clots, et cetera, and then this other video that has emerged, what are your thoughts?
HANNITY: Just out of fairness, I don't want to show the video, but I've asked both of you to look at the video where she seems to, like -- some have said it's like a mini-seizure. What does it look like to you?
HANNITY: Is there a possibility she had a mini-stroke, a TIA? [Fox News, Hannity, 8/8/16]
National Enquirer photo gallery of “Hillary Clinton’s Secret Health Crisis” suggests she had multiple sclerosis and had “endured a series of strokes.” In a series of captioned photos, the National Enquirer claimed that a “political insider” said, “Hillary’s past health problems are down to MS,” and that “other sources claimed that Hillary’s also suffered three secret strokes.” The captions also suggested that Clinton was fatigued, confused, incontinent, had a history of blackouts and memory loss, and that she had a traumatic brain injury. [National Enquirer, 8/8/16]
Gateway Pundit: “New Questions on Hillary’s Health=> What is She Hiding Under Her Duster Jacket?” In an August 9, 2016, blog post, Jim Hoft wrote, “The Drudge Report highlighted poor Hillary’s health issues this weekend. This all started after Mike Cernovich’s post on Hillary’s delicate condition.” [Gateway Pundit, 8/9/16]
Hannity: “I’ve talked to more doctors [who tell me that] by all appearances, she has a major, major health issue.” From the August 9, 2016, edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Now, she hasn't had a press conference, maybe because of health issues. I don't know if you watched the Fox medical A-team last night analyzing all these issues involving Clinton's health. I've talked to more doctors that have gotten in contact with me and tell me, you know, by all appearances, she has a major, major health issue. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/9/16]
Hannity: “One doctor friend of mine was really convinced she had a stroke,” and “a mini-stroke or a TIA may not show up the same way on an MRI.” From the August 9, 2016, edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We had our Fox medical A-team on last night and I got to tell you, they're saying we really need to see the real records. We need to see her Wall Street speeches where she got $250 grand from all the big insurance companies, all the big banks, all the people that are buying her influence. Let's see the speeches and let's see the medical records. She keeps talking about Donald Trump's tax returns; let's talk about that.
You know the one thing that one doctor friend of mine was really convinced she had a stroke. And that some of her reactions are indicative that that’s coming from the part of the brain where some damage happened. Now as I understand it, a mini-stroke or a TIA may not show up the same way on an MRI. I remember my brother-in-law, a radiologist, would literally -- he was at home, and they'd send him pictures -- we'd be at family dinners and he would have to go in and look at pictures, and he'd say, “See this is where the stroke took place, right here.” And I'd say, “What does it means for this person?” And with perfect pinpoint accuracy and detail, he would describe what impact it would have on that portion of the brain in terms of the people's function.
So, I don’t think it’s unfair to ask for her medical records. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/9/16]
Hannity: “Is it possible she had a stroke, or do you really believe it was a head injury, traumatic brain injury?” From the August 9, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Should Hillary have to reveal her medical condition as well as give us maybe those Wall Street speeches and big bank speeches? And joining us now with reaction is board-certified neurologist and headache specialist Dr. Daniel Kassicieh and from the Fox News Medical A-team is Dr. Mark Seigel. Dr. Siegel, good to see you again.
All right, Daniel, let me start with you. Doctor, let me ask you, what do you see in her condition and some of these images where she keeps getting flustered or the coughing fits or you hear about the blood clots. What is your interpretation?
HANNITY: Is it possible she had a stroke, or do you really believe it was a head injury, traumatic brain injury?
HANNITY: What about some of the weird pauses she has, the coughing fits she has? There are moments when I'm literally watching her and I'm thinking, OK, the facial expressions are odd. They seem off.
HANNITY: Could that be impacted by a stroke or a TIA? [Fox News, Hannity, 8/9/16]
Breitbart: “Physician: Mainstream Media ‘Strangely Silent’ About Hillary Clinton’s Health” On August 10, Breitbart’s Dr. Susan Berry wrote, “The executive director of a physicians’ organization questions how the mainstream media can ignore signs of what could be a traumatic brain injury in the Democrat nominee for president.” She added that Dr. Jane “Orient explains that serious concussions can often cause traumatic brain injury that is not always detected on standard medical tests such as a CT or MRI.” [Breitbart, 8/10/16]
Hannity: “Hillary had another mental brain fart,” and they are “happening a lot lately.” From the August 10, 2016, edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): It’s been the lead most of the day on the Drudge Report, actually fairly interesting story, I don’t think it’s going to impact the election a whole lot, but this whole comment of Julian Assange, actually raising questions about why this DNC staffer died and other things as well. So, we’ll get to all of that.
Now, before we get to that -- all right, so, Hillary had another mental brain fart, hiccup, whatever you want to call it today. And these seem to be happening with more and more -- I don’t know, just happened more and more frequently. Listen to this one.
Happening a lot lately, between that and coughing fits. So, I’m just thinking -- now what -- if I were to imagine what was actually going through Hillary’s mind at that moment, this would probably be what we would hear. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/10/16]
Hannity: Clinton’s reaction to a question from a reporter was “seizure-esque.” From the August 10, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): What’s your take?
FIONA GATA: It's just so hard to speculate based on snippets of the clips that, you know, what is going on without having a full examination and workup.
HANNITY: Look at this video right here -- watch her reaction. Because it’s -- I'm not -- it almost seems seizure-esque to me. Is that?
GATA: I mean, there are types of seizures, like focal seizures, that sometimes can cause just one body part, but it would be very rare. I mean, typically seizures will generalize, so I can't say that's a seizure. It could be distress.
HANNITY: Are there many seizures like that, Dr. Siegel?
MARC SIEGEL: Well I’m not a neurologist, and I don't think that that necessarily looks like a seizure, but I will say this --
HANNITY: Let's rerack that. What do you think this is?
SIEGEL: I’ll tell you what I think it is. I think that we've seen enough there, especially in someone who has a long medical history and who's approaching 70 years old, for me to be able to say here that both of our candidates need to release their medical information. Sean, the whole idea --
HANNITY: This looks like violent, out-of-control movements on her part.
SIEGEL: And it could be, and I say could be, related to previous head trauma she had. It's possible. That's why I need to see the records. That's why a neurologist needs to come forward and give a press conference and say this is what is going on with her. She may very well be completely fit, but we want to know. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/10/16]
Breitbart: “Bizarre Behavior, Seizure Allegations Raise Doubts About Hillary Clinton’s Health.” On August 11, 2016, Breitbart linked to the conspiratorial website Zero Hedge’s claim that “as the presidential campaign enters its final stages, probing questions have emerged about the health condition of Hillary Clinton.” [Breitbart, 8/11/16]
Breitbart: “Hated Pharma Exec Martin Shkreli: ‘I Believe Hillary Clinton Has Parkinson’s Disease.’” In an August 11, 2016, piece, Breitbart’s Charlie Nash promoted Martin Shkreli’s claim that Hillary Clinton may have “early onset Parkinson’s disease,” and linked to a Periscope livestream video in which Shkreli speculated on the status of Clinton’s physical health. [Breitbart, 8/11/16]
Hannity: “What’s wrong with her? … Was there a neurological event of some kind?” From the August 11, 2016, edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): So, all of these questions are now coming up about Hillary Clinton, what happened when she was having these blood clots, the many times she’s falling. She seemed to go into, like, a mini-seizure the other day, when answering a reporter’s question. We showed you the video last night -- it’s very bizarre.
And the fact that she continues to have these coughing fits, now ... and it goes on forever. These are not just like -- “OK, I need a second, let me get my breath.” This goes on forever.
So, the question is -- OK, what’s wrong with her? What -- what actually happened? Was there a neurological event of some kind? What is causing all of this? Do the American people have a right to know her health issues before she were ever to be elected president of the United States?
What do you think of the issues involving the falls, the blood clot, the many instances where she’s -- appears to be propped up by other people?
Have you seen the video where she kind of is twitching and twitching and twitching? [Premiere Radio Network, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/11/16]
Hannity: “What do you make of this twitching thing that she keeps doing? … Is that video we're showing a seizure, maybe?” From the August 11, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Dr. Carson, I'll show you the different examples. She's falling, you've got this sort of twitching thing that she does in front of reporters that was really bad. There's been a number of incidents and reports that she fell, and then she had this really long incident where she was out of commission for quite a while, recovering, her husband said. She's on anticoagulants. Number one, do we have a right to know? And, number two, what do you make of this twitching thing that she keeps doing? I'll run it again.
BEN CARSON: Well, you know --
HANNITY: Why are you laughing? You're the brain surgeon here. I'm just a humble little host.
CARSON: It just looks funny. You know, certainly as a person gets older, you know, the number of medical conditions that we have to watch for increases, which is one of the reasons that we strongly suggest, as you get older, that you have at least a annual examination. If you're going into a very important position like this, it's critical.
HANNITY: Let me go back to this video, Dr. Siegel, that's on the screen now. We'll put it up again. I mean, it's a violent, violent, repetitive jerking of the head here. Now, you know -- you can see it's uncontrollable, watch the reporter, like, pull back as she -- the reporter got scared, and she keeps doing it. What is that?
HANNITY: Is that video we're showing a seizure, maybe?
DR. DAVID SAMADI: Well, it certainly could be --
HANNITY: Watch it right here. Let's just -- watch it closely here, watch the reporter back, right there -- the -- you see the -- look, and it goes on and on and on. That is, to me, bizarre.
SAMADI: There is certainly some neurologic issue going on, depending on when this tape was taken.
HANNITY: Let me show one of the brain freezes so I can --
HANNITY: I don't think we're getting the Wall Street speeches, the speeches, copies of the speeches that she gave to big investors and insurance companies, and I don't think we're getting this either. I think she's going to keep it undercover, which is probably by design. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/11/16]