NY Mag writer blasts media questioning Fetterman’s fitness as ‘right-wing carnival barkers’

New York Magazine dismissed media concerns about Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s health in a glossy profile post that argued the Democratic Senate candidate’s “vulnerability” is actually a strength.

Fetterman has come under scrutiny over his fitness for office after suffering a stroke last May and had several verbal stumbles on the campaign trail. He has agreed to just one debate with his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, on Oct. 25, where he will use a closed captioning system to help with his stroke-related auditory processing problems.

However, NY Mag’s Rebecca Traister took aim at other liberal media outlets that dared to voice similar concerns.

“The readiness with which the political press embraced the framework offered by the Oz campaign was astonishing, including Washington PublishThe editorial board declared that “the lingering unanswered questions about his health” were “troubling,” she wrote.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, flanked by Congressman Dwight Evans, D-Pa., speaks in Philadelphia, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ryan Collerd)
(Associated Press)

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Traister argued that there had been “ample coverage” of Fetterman’s multiple health problems and that his ability to speak was not a “mystery”. She also cited his campaign revealing that Fetterman had taken two neurocognitive tests with normal results.

She complained that media critics were unfairly hounding him.

“Yet legitimate newspapers are pushing for additional documentation with some of the energy once applied to Hillary’s emails, while right-wing carnivores treat full medical records like they did Obama’s birth certificate,” she wailed.

The writer said she sat down with the Democrat for a 50-minute interview in which she said he used closed captioning to quickly process what she said. Fetterman has given just four nationally televised interviews since his stroke in May, all on MSNBC.

Mehmet Oz, Republican U.S. Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, speaks during a public discussion on safer streets in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, U.S., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Photographer: Nate Smallwood/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mehmet Oz, Republican U.S. Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, speaks during a public discussion on safer streets in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, U.S., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Photographer: Nate Smallwood/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(Photo: Nate Smallwood/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Traister, however, defended the Democrat’s record.

“In recent weeks, Fetterman has been banking on the hope that voters will see in his vulnerability a new way to appreciate his strength,” she wrote.

Fetterman’s lengthy profile also touted the Democratic nominee as a white male who “defies right-wing” stereotypes.

“He was a Democrat who defied right-wing caricatures of the modern left as elitist, jaded and out of touch, because he was clearly neither of those things,” she wrote.

“Political reporters were overwhelmed; they had never seen anyone like him before. Of course, on some level he was just like every other senator in Pennsylvania history, a white man. But he was wearing shorts in January!” the writer added.

John Fetterman, Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor and Democratic Senate candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Photographer: Nate Smallwood/Bloomberg via Getty Images

John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and Democratic Senate candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Photographer: Nate Smallwood/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(Photo: Nate Smallwood/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The liberal journalist even compared Fetterman to former President Trump in his appeal to white, blue-collar Democrats, saying he was the “unicorn” the Democratic Party needed.

“He was perhaps what they needed: the unicorn who could convincingly propose policies that would make voters’ lives vastly better, while conveying with every word and gesture that he was one of them,” he argued Traister.

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