If more evidence were ever needed that Rupert Murdoch's people and some other Republican media types are less than human, we have that evidence now.
It came last Sunday night, after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital with a blood clot -- later revealed to be in her head -- stemming from the concussion she suffered earlier in December. The concussion resulted from a fall the 65-year-old Clinton took while at home, because of a stomach virus that left her weakened and severely dehydrated. Mrs. Clinton returned home Wednesday night, after three days and nights in the hospital.
Or was she really sick? At least until Sunday night, not according to Rupert Murdoch's minions. They had repeatedly accused her of faking illness to avoid having to testify before Congress about security failures in the terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya last Sept. 11. I hope they, and their boss, are satisfied by her hospitalization.
Her illness had caused the secretary to cancel a trip to North Africa and the Middle East. As the Associated Press pointed out, for the past four years, she has endured a "grueling travel schedule," adding: "She is the most travelled secretary of state in history, having visited 112 countries while on the job."
As she's about to end her State Department service, Mrs. Clinton's dedication to her job and country have brought praise from people around the political spectrum. Nevertheless, she was widely criticized by Republicans after the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in the attack on the diplomatic facility.
As secretary, Clinton took responsibility for the misfortune, although she was not directly blamed in a scathing independent report that did blame serious failures of leadership in two of the department's bureaus for insufficient security at the mission. Her illness forced her to cancel Congressional testimony on the attack, slated for Dec. 20.
Two days earlier, the New York Post, a Murdoch publication, posted an editorial headlined: "Hillary Clinton's head fake," stating that Secretary Clinton's story about her illness "beggars belief:"
While travelling in Europe, she contracted a stomach virus... which made her dehydrated... which made her faint at home... which caused her to fall and hit her head... which gave her a nasty concussion.
So Clinton's deputies will appear in her stead before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday to explain the State Department's failures.
That is not nearly enough.
We've chided the Obama administration in the past for its lack of transparency -- but this looks like one of the most transparent dodges in the history of diplomacy.
One would think this a new low, even for the New York Post. But don't bet on it. The Post could fool you any day. So could another Murdoch enterprise, Fox News. Media Matters reported on Dec. 20 that ,
Nearly all of Fox News' evening news shows ridiculed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for having to postpone her testimony on the Benghazi attack, suggesting she was faking injury to avoid giving testimony, a notion the State Department has called "wild speculation based on no information."
But that's exactly what Fox News contributor John Bolton, a former UN ambassador, accused Clinton of. "This is a diplomatic illness to beat the band," he said. Other Fox hands happily chimed in. Kimberly Guilfoyle accused Clinton of "duck and cover." Co-host Greg Gutfeld asked: "How can she get a concussion when she has been ducking everything [related to Benghazi]?" And Laura Ingraham hilariously termed it "the immaculate concussion."
I'd have guessed that another Fox News contributor and columnist, Charles Krauthammer, would have been more sympathetic. Krauthammer, a psychiatrist, has been confined to a wheelchair since an accident in his freshmen year in medical school, when he dove off the diving board at a swimming pool and hit his head on the bottom.
Dr. Krauthammer offered no such sympathy, however. Just the opposite. Three days before Secretary Clinton's hospitalization, he said on Fox:
I'm not interested in the details of what happened. But the fact we haven't heard anything. We know as much about her concussion as we know about Hugo Chavez. This is an open society. She is secretary of state. She has disappeared. Let us know something about her condition...
I think she has to go before the Congress. She hasn't answered a single question from the press or the Congress on this, and she is the one in charge and she said the buck stops with me. Well then, if it does, answer a few questions.
Perhaps now, Dr. Krauthammer, you can wait until Secretary Clinton recovers before she undergoes Congressional questioning. Or is that too much to ask from a medical doctor?
Maybe it is. Krauthammer was not above sharing a laugh with Fox's Sean Hannity at Clinton's expense after Hannity praised Krauthammer for describing her condition as the result of a "Benghazi allergy."
Murdochites were not alone in asserting Mrs. Clinton was faking illness. As recently as Sunday, only hours before her hospitalization was disclosed, the wingnut publication Human Events reported that, although she was "too sick to speak with Congress... she had travelled to the Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic to celebrate the New Year" with her husband.
No fact-checkers, Human Events relied on a publication called Dominican Today, which assured readers that the couple "are enjoying their year-end vacation in Punta Cana... "
Human Events failed to apologize for its false, vicious swipe at the secretary, but did later report a correction: a State Department denial that either Clinton went to the Dominican Republic. Human Events also reported department spokesman Philippe Reines' statement that "We likely disagree on just about everything, but surely we can agree that posting a lie is far different than posting an opinion."
To paraphrase the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: Human Events is entitled to its own opinions, but not to its own lies.