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?

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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