The above Fox News clip shows the network’s early break-in coverage of the moments when Hillary Clinton abruptly left a Ground Zero ceremony on the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Her official campaign statement later revealed how, after about 90 minutes of the event, she reportedly felt “overheated” and was whisked away to her daughter’s apartment. A short while later, Clinton emerged with smiles and waves, but earlier footage of Clinton struggling and almost being lifted into her vehicle is raising eyebrows everywhere. Something was amiss, and it wasn’t good, but what?
What could have been a straightforward story was muddled by early rumors on the internet. Also a factor? A lack of communication by Clinton’s campaign as events unfolded. Only much later did her spokesman provide a statement. Meanwhile, the Alt-Right movement — which Clinton has slammed on many occasions — fueled the story and seized upon Fox News’ reporting of the incident when confirmation was sketchy. They described the event as “what appeared to be a medical episode” and told viewers that Clinton had “appeared to faint” and was taken “presumably to a hospital.” Although Fox News prefaced that statement with a “presumably,” there’s the reality that Clinton never went to the hospital this morning.
CNN’s Brian Stelter explained his network’s waiting game in the below clip. He led a panel of guests, all of whom slammed Fox News for what they deemed to be irresponsible coverage. Most prominently, the Baltimore Sun‘s David Zurawik denounced Fox News’ quick characterization of the event as a “medical episode.” Indeed, that term immediately started trending on social media following the Fox News report. Zurawik described his reaction to hearing the term used by a mainstream outlet like Fox News:
“When I found out about this and it was only Fox reporting it, and it looked like it was one source then it was a little fuzzy about the second source, but I thought, ‘Wow, they better be right about this. If they’re wrong, this is awful. On something like this, you wait until you have at least two sources you’re comfortable with. I was surprised to see anyone reporting this without confirmation”
Ultimately, Stelter affirmed that Clinton’s overheating episode could have an effect on her campaign’s success in the general election. However, he stressed that there is a difference between conspiracy theories and reporting on the facts of the case. Over the next few days, this story shall continue, but it’s certainly notable that CNN took one of their main competitors to task during a live broadcast.