The MSNBC Commander In Chief Forum produced a few interesting moments. Probably the most interesting of those was Trump’s statement that the U.S. should have basically stolen Iraq’s oil as we left the country, and that would have prevented the rise if ISIS. But that was only one of several cringeworthy statements the GOP candidate made.
Now, in the time-honored right-wing tradition of “Look over here!! Bright, shiny object!!” Trump and his supporters are trying to distract from his dismal performance by raising a new anti-Hillary conspiracy theory: Clinton was wearing an “earpiece” while she was talking to Matt Lauer. They seriously want you to believe that a woman who has served as First Lady, a U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State had to be coached on what to say by someone who was hiding offstage.
This nonsense appeared to start with right-wing actor James Woods, who apparently feels the need to try and stay relevant, since he hasn’t had a hit movie in years. It’s interesting that he tweeted the photo below after midnight on the west coast, after the candidates’ forum had been over for several hours. Did he sit in front of his TV, shuffling the images back and forth with his DVR, until he found something he thought was incriminating? As The Donald would say, “Sad.”
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 8, 2016
It didn’t take long for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to jump on the bandwagon, and things snowballed from there. The question was tweeted by Donald Trump, Jr. along with a link to the InfoWars story.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 8, 2016
Soon Matt Drudge picked up the story, and from there it wound through the circle jerk that is the right-wing media, appearing on Sean Hannity’s site, a variety of conservative blogs, and of course Fox News. Now, everybody who spent his or her teenage years playing records backwards looking for secret messages is weighing in.
But did Hillary have anything in her ear at all, and if so, was it an earpiece for communication with an offstage coach?
Let’s start by assuming that yes, there was something in her ear. She is almost 70-years-old. And she would not be the first person of that age who needs to wear a hearing aid. IF there was something in her ear, the explanation could be as simple as that. And before anyone goes to the “a-HA! See, she’s not healthy enough to be president!” line, remember that JFK hid a severe back injury from the public, and FDR was almost never photographed while sitting in the wheelchair he needed thanks to polio. If Hillary has a hearing problem that she is trying to keep quiet, she certainly wouldn’t be the first presidential candidate to do something like that.
But I don’t believe there was anything in her ear at all. Woods and his conspiracy theorist pals could very likely have been looking at nothing more than a simple trick played by the lighting. Look at the shadows on Clinton’s face in the picture below that appeared on The Drudge Report. Those shadows make it plain that there was a light source off to Clinton’s left. The alleged object that has been turned into an “earpiece” by this crowd appears to be nothing more than light striking the inner part of Hillary’s ear. That seems to be confirmed by the fact that just behind the spot that is supposed to be the earpiece is a shadow created by another part of her ear and her hair.
Now, take a look at this section from a hi-res photo taken by Justin Sullivan for Getty Images. Her entire ear is in shadow. See any “earpiece?” I don’t.
There was a time when you could have an honest debate about issues and policy with conservatives. But thanks to Alex Jones, Matt Drudge, et al, that time appears to be gone for good. Now instead of discussing issues that are important to Americans, we are subjected to nonsense like this.
Featured image via Win McNamee/Getty Images