The 24/7 Sneeze Factor

 

by Walter Brasch

Hillary Clinton is recovering from a mild case of pneumonia. However, shortly after she collapsed at Ground Zero while part of the 15th annual memorial of 9/11, her campaign staff said she was just exhausted and suffered heat exhaustion. It took a couple of days for her to reveal the extent of her medical issue.

Donald Trump, who had many times this past year questioned Clinton’s health and suggested she should leave politics, now tweeted he was hoping his Democratic opponent would have a quick recovery. However, the Renegade Republicans, fueled by scandal-makers of the conservative media, think Clinton is a piñata, and are hitting her hard—she has Parkinson’s disease; she suffered from a concussion; the Democratic National Committee is working on how to replace her because she is so ill; she is on her death-bed, and a body double is the one the public is seeing.

Prior to Clinton’s bout with pneumonia, she had released a two page letter from her physician stating medical specifics about her health; he concluded Clinton is in excellent health.

Donald Trump is still bobbing and weaving on releasing his medical records. Long after Clinton provided her medical statement, Trump released four paragraphs of juiced-up superlatives that read more like a campaign PR release than something a physician would write—Trump is “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency . . . [His] strength and physical stamina are extraordinary . . .  [his] laboratory test results are astonishingly excellent . . .  [his] his blood pressure and lab results were astonishingly excellent.” He followed that up with an appearance on the Dr. Oz TV show where he deposited more PR poop.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who had said Clinton’s medical problems should not be an issue, declared, “I will be the fittest president of the United States ever.” Jill Stein, the Green party nominee, isn’t questioning anyone about personal health care problems, but may know more about medical issues than all the candidates—she’s a physician.

All presidents had medical issues, but were still effective. Among the maladies, George Washington had recurring infections and malaria, Thomas Jefferson suffered from severe headaches, Woodrow Wilson had several strokes, Warren G. Harding had congestive heart failure, Franklin D. Roosevelt suffered from polio, John F. Kennedy had severe colitis and back problems, and Ronald Reagan had severe eye and ear problems, colon polyps, and early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease while in office.

However, the 24/7 news media, desperate to fill time and pretending to be investigative journalists, have spent more time in the past decade peeling away layers of presidential candidate health histories than they have spent in asking tough policy questions. No matter who becomes the next president, one thing is clear—the media will be milking every detail for at least a week before finding some other story to report. Here is a scenario of how the media will probably deal with a president’s health issues.
TV Anchor: This is Clyde Sparrow. The President sneezed about 2:45 this afternoon. We understand it lasted about three seconds. We have team coverage for this urgent and breaking news. We now take you live to the emergency room of the Bethesda Naval Hospital. Standing by LIVE with an exclusive you’ll hear only on Eye Witless News is Lance Redux.

Lance Redux: The President hasn’t yet arrived, but in the meantime we’ll be interviewing bystanders, orderlies, and maybe even a nurse or two. Security is extraordinarily tight, and only the 237 accredited reporters have been allowed into the ER at this point. Back to you, Clyde.

Clyde Sparrow: With an exclusive live interview, heard only on our network, we go to Susie Sweetwater with Sen. Porkbelly Pineapple at the Capitol.

Susie Sweetwater: Sen. Pineapple, we just heard that the President’s sneeze was in sympathy with the plight of Americans everywhere. Do you agree?

Sen. Pineapple: While all of us Americans are concerned about the President’s health, this particular sneeze was the result of a President who has disregarded the wishes of the people and the Congress.

Clyde Sparrow: For an opposing view, we turn to Rep. Horace Sludgepump.

Rep. Sludgepump: While I don’t wish to disagree with my esteemed and most distinguished colleague from the other side of the capitol, I should point out that the cretins from the other party filibustered the death of so many of our great and glorious programs which were designed by our party to help the working class, and that’s why the president put a chicken in every pot in this glorious country, sneezed, and—.

Clyde Sparrow (interrupting): The President’s personal physician is about to make an announcement. We now go live to the White House.

Dr. Alfred Chiu: The sneeze was probably caused by a pollutant in the air, but we haven’t identified it as yet.

Reporter 1: Harry Hotlips. ABC News. Doctor, can you identify that pollutant?

Dr. Chiu: As I mentioned, we haven’t yet identified that pollutant.

Reporter 2: Judy Jumpstart, CBS-TV. Just how serious is this pollutant?

Dr. Chiu: We can’t determine how serious the pollutant is until we can identify it, but we’re pretty sure the sneeze poses no problem to the president’s health or threatens anyone near the president. I classify it as insignificant.

Reporter 3: Darla Dazzling, NBC-TV. Doctor, what kind of pollutant could that have been? And does it have long-term effects?

Dr. Chiu: I don’t know, but we will try to find out.

Reporter 4: Sid Serious, CNN. Doctor, could you indicate what you believe would be the world consequences of this particular sneeze, and is the president or the Secretary of State notifying world leaders?

Dr. Chiu: The president doesn’t believe this is important enough to notify anyone.

Reporter 5: Polly Prattle, New York Post. What kind of illegal drugs has the President been taking?

Dr. Chiu: The sneeze doesn’t call for drugs at this time.

Reporter 6: Suzy Tanktop, Fox News. Can you identify the illegal drugs? And, how long has the president been snorting cocaine brought into the White House from the Colombian cartel?

Dr. Chiu: The president is healthy and no drugs are necessary.

Reporter 7: Edie Excrement, TMZ. So, the sneeze is the result of taking too many drugs. Is it because the president is in the process of a divorce or is it because the president is nervous because of preparing for a screen test?

Dr. Chiu: I think I’m becoming ill . . .

Clyde Sparrow: We have breaking news. LIVE from Dubuque, Iowa is Pauly Populist.

Pauly Populist. In an exclusive you’ll only hear on the Eye Witless News Network, we are live from Dubuque, Iowa. Again, we are LIVE in Dubuque with breaking news. With us is Creepshot Commoner, an assistant night shift manager at McDonald’s. The entire world wants to know your opinion of this cataclysmic event.

Creepshot Commoner: I think this latest health crisis is so severe that the president needs to step down for the good of the country. And, whoever the vice-president is should not become president because he’s probably also been infected.

Clyde Sparrow. We temporarily interrupt our own in-depth team coverage to return you to the White House where the president’s physician appears to be babbling incoherently.
[Dr. Brasch isn’t making any guesses about anyone’s health condition. But, he does recommend his latest book: Fracking America: Sacrificing Health and the Environment for Short-Term Economic Benefit.]

 

 

 

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About Walter Brasch

Columnist, author, journalism professor. Latest book is BEFORE THE FIRST SNOW: STORIES FROM THE REVOLUTION, a look at the couterculture from 1964, as seen through the eyes of a "flower child" who is now middle-aged--and of the reporter who covered her story. The book is available through Amazon.com . . . Check out website, www.walterbrasch.com for further info. Or, just write me: walterbrasch@gmail.com
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