Fetterman, 52, suffered a stroke in May that he later blamed on heart blockage. The stroke struck him at the absolute worst time, during the last weekend before the Democratic Party primary election, but he went on to handily defeat U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb 58%-26% despite the serious health scare days before the primary.
Still recovering from the stroke on Election Day, Fetterman could not attend his own election victory party that night where his wife, Gisele, assured supporters the lieutenant governor and Senate nominee “is going to be back on his feet in no time.”
Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee, is currently trailing Fetterman by single digits in a race considered a toss-up by the election analysts at RealClearPolitics.
Over the summer, Fetterman’s stroke-related challenges went ignored by the national media even though campaign speeches suggested the candidate was struggling to speak and to recall words and phrases.
“I’m running a perfectly normal campaign,” Fetterman told The New York Times in a mid-September interview that published four months after his stroke. “I keep getting better and better, and I’m living a perfectly normal life.”
That story by the Times, which matter-of-factly stated the interview was conducted by video, also acknowledged Fetterman “has not tended to take questions from the news media at his events, in contrast to his approach right before his stroke.”
Then came a worrisome first-hand report this week from – of all places – NBC News, when correspondent Dasha Burns described her sit-down interview with Fetterman. For that interview, she said, Fetterman required closed captioning technology so he could read her questions even though she was sitting just feet away from him.
Before the taped interview began, during small talk with the candidate, Burns also disclosed “it wasn’t clear he was understanding our conversation.”
Diane Gramley, who leads American Family Association of Pennsylvania, says people should be concerned about Fetterman's ability to handle the duties of a U.S. senator.
“He does keep saying he’s fit,” she says, “but the more he talks, the less that appears to be truthful.”
'Disability advocates' speak out
After that first-hand account from Burns hit the air waves, the NBC correspondent witnessed what it’s like to veer from the approved narrative. On CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta held up a model of the human brain and insisted Fetterman is “responding pretty quickly” to written words so he can communicate.
The Washington Post tracked down medical experts and “disability advocates” to defend using close captioning, which has “nothing to do with intelligence,” the newspaper said.
On the daytime TV show “The View,” the show’s panel of liberal women complained about Burns and said they use closed captioning to watch TV shows.
On social media, the word “ableism” is now trending in an obvious attempt to shame people into staying quiet and to stop discussing Fetterman’s condition.
Burns, now buried under an avalanche of criticism, pushed back by reminding her critics what a journalist is supposed to do. She stated in a Twitter post the NBC News crew was “in the room” with Fetterman and simply reported what happened “as journalists do.”
Gary Bauer, chairman of Campaign for Working Families, commends Burns for actually being a journalist. "That's what journalists are supposed to do," he tells AFN. "They're supposed to ask members of both parties tough questions, on point – and she did that."
According to Gramley, it appears the media can’t hide the truth anymore despite its best efforts.
“It's very encouraging,” she says, “that the mainstream media is finally realizing this guy is not really fit for the job of United States senator."
But Bauer says what bothers him more than Fetterman's fitness for office is what the Democrat will do if elected to the Senate.
"He'll vote for abortion, he'll vote for bigger government, he'll vote for higher taxes – he'll vote down the list on all the things on the Left's agenda," the conservative activist emphasizes. "So, in that sense he's perfectly competent for the job. [But] he's not competent to legitimately represent the people of Pennsylvania – nor are his values in line with the people of Pennsylvania."
10/14/2022 - Comments from Gary Bauer added.