..and neck problems? What the hell is that thing?
I have tried to find the full video of Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman’s “John Fetterwoman” speech that is supposed to show how bad his speaking problems are post-stroke, but so far I’ve failed. I was going to post one of the edited videos that highlighted his problems, but decided that I couldn’t trust any of them.
Now the mainstream media, and notably NBC News, is (predictably) trying to rescue Fetterman and their clients, the Democratic Party. NBC wrote, “The videos include slight edits, such as cutting out the sound of the audience to make it appear as if he had abruptly stopped speaking (some of the stops occurred when he was pausing during moments of applause and crowd reaction, according to unedited videos seen by NBC News). Other edits cut Fetterman off mid-sentence, to create the perception that what he was saying was nonsensical…. The videos could run afoul of Twitter’s rules against political misinformation, even though they are still available…. Experts have warned that such lightly edited videos, also sometimes called ‘shallow fakes,’ can be particularly effective pieces of misinformation.”
Fair enough….but why isn’t NBC making the whole video available? (And if Fetterman can sing “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General,” why won’t he debate Dr. Oz before voting starts?) Moreover, that network especially is ethically estopped from crying foul over edited videos. NBC deceptively edited video of GM trucks blowing up. It deceptively edited the audio of George Zimmerman 911 call to make him sound like a racist. None of the news networks have metaphorically clean hands on this topic, but NBC has the dirtiest hands of all. I wouldn’t put it past them to deceptively edit video to show that video of Fetterman’s speech was deceptively edited.
Regarding Fetterman, it doesn’t matter whether his stroke has left him significantly impaired and disabled, moderately impaired and disabled, or just a little impaired and disabled. If he’s not completely in top intellectual and cognitive form, then it is unethical for him to be running for the Senate, unethical for the Democratic Party to be putting him forward as a candidate, and unethical for anyone to vote for 1) a cognitively disabled candidate 2) one so irresponsible that he would run for office in that state, and 3) any party that would allow him to do so.
I’m not picking on Fetterman. The modern era Presidents who were elected while hiding serious health problems—FDR, Kennedy, Reagan, Biden—as well as Woodrow Wilson, who remained in office when he had aftereffects of a stroke that make Fetterman seem silver-tongued by comparison, were all irresponsible, dishonest and unethical.
I’ll close with Ann Althouse’s comments on the matter, more to show her state of mind than for anything else. She’s a good liberal, but she has obviously become increasingly disgusted with the flagrant bias of the news media toward Democrats and their politicians. She writes in part of NBC’s complaint [emphasis mine]:
We have to be able to edit video, but where is the line between editing and deception? NBC tells us it has seen the edited and unedited video, but it doesn’t show any of it to us. I can’t take NBC’s word for it, because I must assume that NBC wants the Democratic Party to control the Senate and will run interference for Fetterman.Surely, we’re not required to show the full context of everything. Highlighting the worst lines and the stupidest speech of one’s opponents is a time-honored political tradition — and comedy device. Will Twitter empower the already-powerful to take down whatever is edited to make them look bad? That’s a terrible idea, particularly since there’s no chance Twitter will perform its role with viewpoint neutrality.As for TikTok, I’m guessing what found its way there and gained viewers was funny. It’s unseemly to laugh at a politician if he has brain damage, but it seems unfair to claim to be capable of holding office and, at the same time, to forbid us to laugh because he might lack capacity. If it’s wrong to judge him, he shouldn’t be running for a position of trust.
If Joe Biden really cared about threats to democracy, he would give a speech about how untrustworthy those purporting to practice journalism have become, and explain why democracy can’t function without trustworthy and objective communicators of current events. He doesn’t view this as a problem, though, because those untrustworthy journalists are work hard to making sure that “democracy” doesn’t result in his party losing power….which requires undermining democracy.
I know Ann is smarter than the average bear, but surely this reality is sinking into the brains of non-stroke victims who aren’t law professors. Surely.
5 thoughts on “On John Fetterman’s Speech Problems…”
There is a solution. Show edited video as you like. Then supply the original unedited video as a footnote or whatever. That way those that care can see, there should be enough folks that can check the ordinal for validity to keep them honest.
I Am the Very Model of a Model Major General,
Umm… Might want to fix that.
I think the answer to the “why won’t he debate Oz until after the voting starts” is that he believes he doesn’t have to, and not doing so will benefit his candidacy. He’s leading in the “polls,” so presumably if he were thrashed in a debate (assuming such an unlikely event), it might not cost him the election. If I were a political adviser, especially given the questions surrounding his fitness, I might advise the same assuming my ethics alarms were so well muted or corrupt I could actually accept a job like that.
If he’s not completely in top intellectual and cognitive form, then it is unethical for him to be running for the Senate, unethical for the Democratic Party to be putting him forward as a candidate, and unethical for anyone to vote for 1) a cognitively disabled candidate 2) one so irresponsible that he would run for office in that state, and 3) any party that would allow him to do so.
Agreed. Cognitively impaired people should not be running for any public elected leadership position.
Quite honestly, if someone had a stroke or other brain-damaging event, they should resign their position if in an elected leadership position, or quit the race if in an election campaign. It isn’t bias against the disabled, but a recognition that people with mental infirmities should not be leading this country because we frankly cannot trust their judgement. I know that sounds harsh, but there it is.
An ethical Joe Biden would resign from the presidency, as his capabilities are clearly diminished. So should’ve late 2nd-term Ronald Reagan. Diminished mental capacity is, in my mind, an automatic disqualifier for a public elected position. Fetterman is probably also disqualified given the obvious difference pre- and post-stroke. I am sorry for him, but in my view, running for office after an event that renders one diminished in mental capacity is unethical.
Fixed. That may be my funniest typo ever, for reasons I don’t have the time to go into right now. Remind me to recount my history with that song. It goes back to high school…
I love that song. It always makes me smile.
What are you guys talking about? Our government has been led and staffed by people with impaired cognitive abilities for decades, and everything is going just great…