Swift Boat 2.0 Is Now Underway. Where’s the Press?

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As we all know, the loathsome Swift boating of John Kerry in 2004 worked a treat. So this year Trump supporters are engaging in Swift boat 2.0: a surprisingly overt campaign claiming that Hillary Clinton is seriously ill but covering it up. Sean Hannity has been the ringleader, talking it up almost nightly on his show. Rudy Giuliani joined the fun this weekend, and Katrina Pierson, the Baghdad Bob of spokespeople, suggested that Hillary has “dysphasia.” Even the candidate himself has gotten into the act:

Trump has followed this up with references to Hillary not having the “mental and physical stamina” to be president—wink-wink-nudge-nudge.

This is all literally built on nothing. There’s a video of Hillary slipping on an icy step outside a church a few months ago. There’s a video of her making a funny face while talking to some supporters. That’s it. Unlike Trump himself, Hillary has released a detailed statement from her doctor, and there’s nothing wrong with her.

I know how tiresome it is to wonder how the press would treat something like this if it came from the other side, but, um, how would the press treat this if it were coming from the Hillary Clinton campaign? My guess: it would be like World War III. They would be demanding proof, writing endlessly about how this “once again” raised trust issues, and just generally raising front-page hell over it. Which would be perfectly fair! But when Trump does it, it’s just another boys-will-be-boys moment. Yawn.

Trump has done so many disgusting things that I know it’s hard to keep track sometimes. But this ranks right up there, and he deserves brutal coverage over it. He’s not really getting it, though. All the usual liberal suspects are on this, but the mainstream press has treated it like yet another occasional A14 blurb. Where’s the outrage, folks?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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