Drudge Report misleads readers with Hillary Clinton photo

Key moments in Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech
Key moments in Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech

From the looks of Matt Drudge's home page, Hillary Clinton is so sick, she needs help getting up a flight of stairs.

But looks can be deceiving. The Drudge Report, one of the most widely read sites on the web, is misleading visitors by taking a six-month-old photo out of context.

Clinton slipped on some stairs while campaigning in South Carolina ahead of the February 27 primary -- that much is true. A couple of men helped her up the stairs.

Photos of the awkward entrance were published right afterward by two wire services, Reuters and Getty.

hillary clinton stairs

The photos were forgotten -- until Saturday. What happened then, when a cadre of pro-Trump Twitter accounts started reposting the pictures as evidence that Clinton has a hard time walking, shows how easily photos can be distorted to take on a new and more sinister meaning.

In conspiratorial corners of the conservative media, doubts about Clinton's health and stamina have persisted ever since she had a health scare in 2012. Some armchair commentators even predicted Clinton wouldn't be able to run for president in 2016.

They were clearly wrong, and the health concerns are largely considered a fringe issue. Her personal physician said one year ago that she was physically fit to serve as president.

But given all the past chatter about her physical condition, the message from the pro-Trump accounts was clear: Clinton can barely walk.

A right-wing blog called The American Mirror picked up on the tweets and published a short story on Sunday. "SHOCK PHOTO: Multiple staffers help unstable Hillary up stairs," the headline said.

The story asked, "At what point is the mainstream media going to question Clinton's health status?"

The blog post failed to note that the photos were six months old, or that the Getty caption indicated that Clinton simply slipped while walking up the stairs.

The blog post was all Drudge needed to splash the photos across the home page of his hugely popular tip sheet.

The Drudge Report doesn't hide its conservative bent. But ordinarily the stories on the site are up-to-the-minute. So the headline saying "Hillary Conquers the Stairs" deceived some readers.

As of Monday morning, the Drudge coverage and the American Mirror blog post still had not been updated to reflect the actual age of the photo.

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