A rumor that Hillary Clinton could be dying — and may not even make it to Election Day — has been spreading online as a number of strange and mostly unsourced reports have claimed that the Democratic Party’s candidate may be suffering from Parkinson’s or even brain damage.
The questions about Clinton’s health have gone viral in the past week as a number of outlets have claimed that Clinton is in frail and failing health and that her campaign is trying to hide just how dire her situation has become. But as news outlets have tracked the rumors about Hillary’s health back to the sources, they have uncovered a mix of complete speculation, some intentionally misleading information, and other outright falsehoods.
Some of the questions about Hillary Clinton’s health have come directly from Donald Trump. Sinking in the polls after a series of severe missteps, Trump this week began openly questioning Clinton’s mental health, calling her “unhinged” and “unbalanced,” New York magazine noted.
“The Washington Post and Politico report that Trump called attention on Saturday to Clinton’s Friday remark that she “may have short-circuited” her recent answer to an interviewer’s question about the investigation into her use of a private email server while Secretary of State — an answer which has has been roundly criticized as false. Incorrectly ridiculing Hillary for this, Trump said that “she took a little short-circuit in the brain — she has problems,” adding that he didn’t think she was “all there,” and that “the people of this country don’t want somebody who’s going to short-circuit up here.”
The “short-circuit in the brain” remark by Donald Trump was echoed by other reports that claim Hillary Clinton is suffering from some serious illnesses, and could even be dying.
InfoWars, a website famous for its conspiracy theories, is leading that charge. The site has run a series of stories claiming that Hillary Clinton could be dying, including one on Tuesday that questioned whether she would be able to make it to Election Day.
The rumors about Hillary Clinton’s health have also migrated from the shadowy conspiracy theorist corners of the internet to some major news outlets, the Daily Beast noted. On Monday night, Fox News host Sean Hannity devoted a segment of his program to the health rumors.
There have been a number of other ailments suggested, including one Return of Kings writer who speculated that Hillary Clinton may have tongue cancer.
The Washington Post noted that many of the questions about Hillary Clinton’s health have come from websites that appear to intentionally misinterpret photos of Clinton. One off the most-shared photos is one of Clinton leaning on two aides to walk up a set of wooden stairs.
The picture itself is six months old, showing Clinton after she reportedly slipped on wet steps while making a campaign visit in South Carolina, but many sites have portrayed it as taking place this week.
“None of the evidence, often shared (or sent to reporters) with the hashtag #HillarysHealth, held up. In every case, a Clinton moment that had been captured by the media was reinterpreted and wrenched out of context. The highest-profile #HillarysHealth discovery came at the American Mirror, an obscure conservative news site with what it packaged as a scoop — “SHOCK PHOTO” — but had been aggregated from Twitter.”
But the questions about Hillary Clinton’s health have still been able to gain traction online, including the reports that Clinton could be dying. The stories have been shared a number of times on social media along with supportive comments. What it’s not doing, as the polls indicate, is helping Donald Trump’s standing. Hillary Clinton has surged to her biggest lead since winning the nomination, ahead of Trump by close to 9 points on the poll aggregator Pollster.
[Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]