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The Rogue Doctors Spreading Right-Wing Rumors About Hillary’s Health

‘When Hillary Clinton seemed to collapse while getting helped into the back of a black van earlier this month, Jane Orient, a physician in Tucson, Arizona, says it felt like a vindication. In early August, she’d published an op-ed on the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons’ website questioning whether Clinton has a traumatic brain injury that would make her unfit for the presidency. And this month, the Association—of which Orient is the executive director—published a survey apparently showing that other physicians believe much the same thing. Almost instantly, that survey made it to Facebook’s coveted Trending Topics section.

For Orient—and the many media organizations that have recently been circulating her work—Clinton’s stumble looked like proof that they were right.There’s just one thing: Orient and the Association are not just the broad-based coalition of dispassionate, unbiased medical spectators that the conservative media makes them out to be. Instead, Orient and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, or AAPS, have been unabashedly anti-Clinton for decades. Contrary to its official-sounding name, the AAPS does not represent hundreds of thousands of physicians like, say, the American Medical Association does. Instead, the small non-profit based out of a medical park in Tucson represents a niche group of fewer than 5,000 members, not all of whom are doctors. While it claims to be non-partisan, even Orient admits the group has a guiding “philosophy,” one that just so happens to correlate with conservative politics on every issue from vaccine mandates to abortion rights to immigration.Now, Clinton’s health is the association’s favorite talking point. Orient and others have chimed in on Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis and her persistent cough. “We’re not diagnosing her,” Orient says. “We’re just saying questions have been raised.”This isn’t the first time the AAPS has emerged as conservative conspiracy theorists’ favorite signal booster; the organization has existed for nearly three-quarters of a century. But today, thanks to algorithms that decide whether stories are newsworthy, a burgeoning conservative media industry that includes the likes of Breitbart and Infowars, and rampant distrust of mainstream media, the AAPS now has a network ready and willing to broadcast its ideas to millions of readers.

Now, Clinton’s health is the association’s favorite talking point. Orient and others have chimed in on Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis and her persistent cough. “We’re not diagnosing her,” Orient says. “We’re just saying questions have been raised.”This isn’t the first time the AAPS has emerged as conservative conspiracy theorists’ favorite signal booster; the organization has existed for nearly three-quarters of a century. But today, thanks to algorithms that decide whether stories are newsworthy, a burgeoning conservative media industry that includes the likes of Breitbart and Infowars, and rampant distrust of mainstream media, the AAPS now has a network ready and willing to broadcast its ideas to millions of readers….’

Source: WIRED