For anyone who endured the first scandal-ridden Clinton era of mendacity and opacity, the response of Hillary Clinton’s campaign to her loss of bodily control on Sunday is familiar.
David Harsanyi went through some of the stages of Clintonian response, from the preemptive smearing of critics to the gaslighting to the historical revisionism.
Yesterday the campaign tried to distract discussion of the gravity of Clinton’s health collapse by turning the conversation to water consumption.
Clinton’s pneumonia isn’t severe, according to two people with direct knowledge of the candidate’s condition, and she is expected to return to the campaign trail as early as this week. The real issue is chronic dehydration, exacerbated by her lung problem and Clinton’s reluctance to drink water, which has become a source of tension with her staff.
‘She won’t drink water, and you try telling Hillary Clinton she has to drink water,’ said a person in her orbit—who described a frenzied rehydration mission that included multiple bottles of water and Gatorade.
The pliant media being who they are, this worked moderately well.
The media also could have considered whether, if this ridiculous claim were true, it would indicate seriously bad judgment to not do something as easy as drink water even if it meant putting your life and career in complete jeopardy.
But it was Slate’s Jeremy Stahl who noted that this directly contradicted earlier statements from Clinton and her staff. Here she is in a hard-hitting 2008 interview with fraudulent documentary filmmaker Katie Couric:
I take—I take vitamins. I—I drink tea, not coffee anymore. I have really stopped drinking diet drinks. Because I found that they gave you a jolt, but they weren’t good over the long run. I used to drink a lot of them. I drink tons of water. Just as much water as I can possibly drink.
If you can’t even get your story straight about water consumption, you might exist in a culture of deception. And it’s the 10,000th reminder for the media that they should dial their credulity meters down a notch when dealing with politicians named Clinton.
The media have simply got to stop reporting everything the Clinton campaign says as a fact, instead of “Clinton claims” or similar. They need to stop pretending that the latest version of events claimed by a Clinton affiliate should be given the benefit of the doubt or uncritically treated as the answer to what is obviously ailing Clinton.