Hammer: Fetterman Debate Disaster Reveals Democratic Hypocrisy and Media's Shame


It is difficult to describe just how disastrous Tuesday evening’s Pennsylvania Senate debate performance was for Democratic candidate John Fetterman.

In the course of one incredibly revealing and frankly painful hourlong debate, Fetterman — who suffered a stroke on May 13, just four days before his primary win over Rep. Conor Lamb — was exposed as still struggling mightily to regain his full cognitive abilities, and thus wholly unfit to serve Pennsylvanians in what was once considered the world’s greatest deliberative body.

It should go without saying that, like every decent American, I wish Fetterman the swiftest convalescence possible under his difficult circumstances. But it is also true that Fetterman’s stroke befell him before the primary — just a few days before, but before the primary date nonetheless. Fetterman’s inner circle, including his ambitious social activist wife, thus had a few days to consult trusted — that is, not Democratic Party donor — doctors to soberly gauge his continued candidacy.

While we should all feel bad for Fetterman, then, it must be said that a more altruistic and less cynical political candidate would have likely dropped out after a debilitating stroke. Democrats had a reasonable alternative ready to go in Lamb.

But now the Pennsylvania Senate race, which was already a nail-biter, is Dr. Mehmet Oz’s race to lose.

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In addition to Fetterman’s glaring cognitive deficiencies, two other things were exposed for the whole nation to see in the course of that cringe-worthy hour of television on Tuesday night: the Democrats’ hypocrisy on how mental and cognitive fitness ought to impact the viability of a candidacy, and how shameful and loathsome the establishment media’s monthslong cover-up of Fetterman’s health woes is. In fact, the two aspects of this scandalous story fit together quite neatly.

The Democrats’ stances on the Pennsylvania and Georgia Senate races are impossible to reconcile with each other.

In Georgia, Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, a former football star with a checkered personal past, has been very open about his past struggles with mental illness. In fact, Walker literally a wrote book about it over a decade ago, titled “Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder.”

Walker’s past struggles, about which he has been fully transparent, have often come up during the course of his close race against incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock. The Democrats’ basic stance on Walker — which, notably, runs entirely contrary to their general pro-“forgiveness” stance on “criminal justice reform” — is not to forgive, not to show grace and to tarnish him as an irredeemable candidate.

Is Fetterman fit to serve in the Senate?

Suffice it to say that is not how Democrats and their myriad apologists in the media have approached the Pennsylvania Senate contest, which, like the Georgia race, may well determine which party controls the Senate come January. In the Keystone State, the Fetterman campaign, Democrats more broadly, and the establishment media’s blue-checked Twitterati have been the opposite of transparent about Fetterman’s health issues; they have been outright deceitful.

The campaign, Democrats and the media have taken pains to assure Americans of Fetterman’s health and cognition, often even going so far as to dismiss entirely reasonable health-related questions and concerns as reflecting “ableist” privilege. More generally, journalists — at least prior to Tuesday’s debate — have gone above and beyond to spew bile at anyone daring to question the regime-approved narrative that Fetterman is entirely competent to be a U.S. senator.

The only notable journalist who reported the truth about Fetterman in the lead-up to Tuesday’s debate was NBC News’ Dasha Burns, who tweeted, “In small talk before the [NBC] interview without captioning, it wasn’t clear he was understanding our conversation.” Burns was promptly excoriated by the blue-checked mafia. She is now owed a big apology. Indeed, if anything, Burns’ mild tweet dramatically understated the severe extent of Fetterman’s cognitive problems.

The Fetterman debate debacle is yet another “mask off” moment for America’s hyperpartisan media, which time and again demonstrates its eagerness to provide cover for its overlords in the Democratic Party rather than do what it is supposed to do: report accurately, and opine intelligently, on the news of the day and why it matters to the American people. The extent of the media cover-up for Fetterman in particular represents the media scandal of the year. And there is a large sample size from which to choose that honor.

The media, sadly, is unlikely to learn the right lessons anytime soon and adjust its behavior accordingly. Groupthink is a hell of a drug. But it would be a fitting comeuppance and a rebuke of the media’s vile handling of Fetterman’s candidacy if, as is now widely predicted, Oz prevails on Nov. 8.

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Josh Hammer is the opinion editor of Newsweek, a research fellow with the Edmund Burke Foundation, counsel and policy advisor for the Internet Accountability Project ad a contributing writer for American Compass.