Radio host Rush Limbaugh cited an “informal internet survey” by a fringe right-wing medical group to baselessly claim that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s “health problems” mean she is unqualified to be president.
The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) released a press release on September 8 after conducting an “informal internet survey” of 250 physicians about Clinton’s medical fitness. Seventy-one percent of respondents claimed Clinton’s health concerns “could be disqualifying for the position of the president of the U.S.,” while 20 percent responded that the concerns are “likely overblown, but should be addressed as by full release of medical records.” Almost all respondents said there has not been “enough emphasis” on Clinton’s “health concerns” by the media.
The results of this “informal internet survey” were reported in notoriously right-wing fringe websites including WorldNetDaily, Infowars, Drudge Report, Zero Hedge and Western Journalism, which linked the results to Clinton’s overly hyped “coughing fit” on September 5. Limbaugh also picked up the survey, claiming it provided a “scientific consensus” that Clinton “is not qualified” to be president.
From the September 9 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:
RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): Have you heard about these doctors? These concerned doctors, these, I guess they’re neurologists, who think that Hillary has serious health concerns? Did you see this? I’ll read you an upshot of this, and it’s a press release but it has been reported as news. Concerns about Hillary Clinton’s health as serious. And they could be disqualifying for the position of president. Saying nearly 71 percent of 250 physicians responding to an informal internet survey by the Americans Association of Physicians and Surgeons, otherwise known as the AAPS. So what happened here? The AAPS sent out an informal survey to their membership. Two hundred fifty doctors. Seventy-one percent percent of them responded that Hillary Clinton’s health concerns could be disqualifying for president of the United States. Twenty percent said that the concerns for her health are likely overblown but they should be addressed by a full release of her medical records. Only 2.7 percent responded that they were just a political attack. Now, folks, it seems to me here that we have a scientific consensus here. Just as we have in climate change and global warming, we have a consensus of scientists here. These happen to be doctors. But they wear white coats and they work in labs, which makes them scientists. And 71 percent of them think that Hillary’s health concerns are so bad that she may not be qualified to hold office and an even greater number think that it's so bad that she needs to release her health records. So it's settled. A consensus of scientists have suggested Hillary’s not qualified. That settles it. She is not qualified.
The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons is a far-right medical group with a history of espousing fringe views. It has advised doctors to quit participating in Medicare, advocated against vaccines for children, and defended doctors who provided massive amounts of painkillers to patients who then abused them. The group also promulgated conspiracy theories about the death of former Clinton deputy counsel Vincent Foster, calling for the release of “ten photographs of Foster’s fully clothed body” in an effort to cast doubt over the death, which has been widely ruled a suicide. In 2005, the AAPS' Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons attacked illegal immigrants, claiming that leprosy “was so rare in America that in 40 years only 900 people were afflicted. Suddenly, in the past three years [2002-2005], America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy.” In fact, there had been just 431 reported cases of Hansen's disease, or leprosy, over the “past three years” in question.