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ASPartOfMe
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12 Oct 2022, 9:38 am

John Fetterman Stumbles, ‘Stutters’ During First in-Person Interview Since Stroke

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Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and Democratic Senate nominee, John Fetterman, offered reassurances early Wednesday that he’s still up for the job after his first in-person interview after a stroke in May appeared to show him struggling at times.

“Recovering from a stroke in public isn’t easy. But in January, I’m going to be much better–and Dr. Oz will still be a fraud,” he tweeted on Wednesday morning.

In the interview, aired Tuesday night, Fetterman required the use of closed captioning. The Democrat is “still suffering from auditory processing issues, which means he has a hard time understanding what he’s hearing,” NBC News reporter Dasha Burns said.

NBC News agreed to the use of closed captioning technology during the interview, where a screen transcribed Burns’ questions.

“I sometimes will hear things in a way that’s not perfectly clear. So I use captioning so I’m able to see what you’re saying on the captioning,” Fetterman said.

Fetterman “occasionally stuttered and had trouble finding words,” according to the report, responding to Burns’ oral questions after subsequently reading the captions on a computer screen. In the interview, Fetterman can clearly be seen behind the screen reading the questions as they come.

“Every now and then I’ll miss a word. Every now and then. Or sometimes I’ll maybe mush two words together. But as long as I have captioning, I’m able to understand exactly what’s being asked,” he said.

In the interview, Fetterman can be seen having difficulty attempting to pronounce the word “empathetic,” moving between “emphetic” and “empathetic” before finally landing on the latter. He then used that as an example of the side affects of the stroke.

Burns said that before the interview and without captioning, “it wasn’t clear he was understanding our conversation.”

After the interview aired, other journalists who interviewed Fetterman since his stroke said he didn’t appear to have any of the comprehension difficulties highlighted during Burns’ piece.

Addressing those claims on Today early Wednesday, Burns said it was “completely fair” that others had a different experience with Fetterman. “We can only report our own [experience],” Burns told Savannah Guthrie. “I will say that it’s important to note that according to the campaign itself, our team was the first to be in the room with Fetterman for an interview rather than via remote video conferencing. Myself, my producer, and our crew did find that small talk before that captioning was difficult because of those auditory processing issues I mentioned.”

Burns added that stroke experts say Fetterman’s symptoms would not indicate that he has any cognitive impairment or memory issues, and that he can fully recover.

When questioned why he would not supply NBC with medical records or make any of his doctors available for an interview, Fetterman replied: “I feel like we have been very transparent in a lot of different ways. When our doctor has already given a letter saying that I’m able to serve and to be running. And then I think there’s—you can’t be any more transparent than standing up on a stage with 3,000 people and having a speech without a teleprompter and just being—and putting everything and yourself out there like that. I think that’s as transparent as everyone in Pennsylvania can see.”

Concerns surrounding Fetterman’s health have run rampant in the lead-up to the November election, with some questioning whether his health and heart are up to the job.

Republicans are already using the footage to their advantage; Steve Guest, special adviser for communications for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), called it a “disaster,” claiming “John Fetterman is not well.”

“No wonder Fetterman has refused to do interviews,” he tweeted. “And this is who Democrats want to be a Senator.”

Former Trump aide Stephen Miller tweeted that “if one was going to elect a new Senator with grave cognitive impediments to performing his duties one would likely want an individual who was in every other way exemplary. Not the crazy, radical, dresses like he’s 11, pro-murderer anti-cop marxist zealot deadbeat John Fetterman.”

Clay Travis of the conservative podcast The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show called the interview “insane,” adding, “imagine what media would be saying if a Republican was trying to pull this campaign off.”

Former Fox News contributor and Trump Treasury Department spokeswoman Monica Crowley labeled Fetterman “unfit to serve in the Senate,” criticizing him because he “couldn’t even make it through a basic, friendly interview with MSNBC: couldn’t hear, couldn’t understand.”

Dr. Oz’s team is yet to comment, however senior communications adviser Rachel Tripp told Insider in August: “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke and wouldn’t be in the position of having to lie about it constantly.”

Fetterman has agreed to an Oct. 25 debate with his opponent, Republican Mehmet Oz, but under the condition that Fetterman have access to a closed captioning monitor so he can read the questions as they come in.

Political commentator Adam Jentleson said the interview was a “good moment for a gut check here.” He wrote in a tweet: “I’m biased but when I watch the clip I see a guy recovering and recovering overcoming a challenge. I wonder what voters will see.”


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


ASPartOfMe
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13 Oct 2022, 8:13 am

Disability Advocates Say The Response To John Fetterman Using Closed Captioning In An Interview As He Recovers From A Stroke Was “Deeply Upsetting” And Stigmatizing

Quote:
Disability advocates are accusing NBC News of ableism following an interview with Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for US Senate, which they say was overly concerned with the live transcription he required during the sit-down due to his auditory processing issues.

The interview by reporter Dasha Burns, which was introduced on NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night by anchor Lester Holt as “not your typical candidate interview,” was Fetterman’s first on camera since he had a near-deadly stroke in May.

Much of the brief interview that aired on Tuesday focused, in a meta way, on the interview itself, describing the need for the live transcription and discussing Fetterman’s medical state. (NBC also uploaded the full 30-minute sit-down on its website.) Burns promoted the interview on Twitter by writing that it was “Unlike any political interview I’ve ever done. Unlike any race I’ve ever covered.”

The response from some political reporters in DC further homed in on the accommodation Fetterman required during the interview. “An important interview with top Senate contender,” CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe said. “Will Pennsylvanians be comfortable with someone representing them who had to conduct a TV interview this way?”

For advocates of people with permanent and temporary disabilities, the interview and the response leaned too much on Fetterman’s condition and whether he was up to the job.

“I was stunned to see how the coverage of his use of captions was so riddled with ableism,” said Maria Town, the president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities. “The interview was deeply upsetting to see.”

Disability activist Charis Hill told BuzzFeed News they were so upset at Burns’s questions and the editors’ framing of Fetterman’s responses — leaving in moments of silence that showed Fetterman reading, for example — that they couldn’t finish watching the interview. Hill called on NBC to apologize for “the overt discrimination they just put on air.”

“The way Burns handled that interview will only worsen attitudes and violence towards disabled people in a time when virtual accommodations are being removed left and right after they were implemented overnight in 2020,” Hill said.

Eric Buehlmann, deputy executive director for public policy at the National Disability Rights Network, said he watched the interview having himself suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was in college. Buehlmann also has a son with auditory processing issues similar to Fetterman’s.

“As the discussion was occurring in the interview the other day, I'm like, Yeah, this happens to people and people deal with this, and this is a reality of life for a number of people, “ Buehlmann said. “So it shouldn't be used as a stigmatizing tool, or something that needs to, quote-unquote, disqualify someone from being a senator.”

Burns also noted on air that stroke experts had told her that Fetterman’s auditory processing difficulties were not evidence of memory or cognitive issues.

The campaign of Fetterman’s opponent Mehmet Oz has not weighed in on the interview, but the Republican candidate did make reference to it on Twitter, highlighting a quote from Burns in which she said Fetterman’s staff had not made available his medical records or doctors for an interview. (Fetterman did release a statement in June from his cardiologist, who said the candidate should be able to serve in Congress if he takes his recovery seriously.)

Advocates say requiring more health information from people with disabilities — and then placing more media scrutiny upon them — leads to unfair stigma that could have a chilling effect on which candidates choose to run for office.

“When we see persistent barriers in place for disabled candidates to run for office — whether that is ableism from an opposing campaign, ableism in news coverage, policy barriers that are in place — it reduces the diversity of the overall candidate base for both parties,” Town said. “And it also, in this specific instance, I think sends a really terrible and hostile message to anyone who might be on the fence about asking for accommodations.

“What is so harmful about seeing what's happened to John Fetterman is that he's actually experiencing what many disabled people experience every day when we ask for accommodations,” Town added, “which is an instant doubt of our competence and a questioning about whether, you know, ‘Can you really do this job?’”


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


JustFoundHere
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10 Nov 2022, 4:37 pm

Congratulations for John Fetterman's win!

Anybody actively support Fetterman's Senate campaign e.g.,, door-to-door canvasing, online support, 'Postcards to Voters,' all of the above?

Anybody travel to Pennsylvania to support Fetterman? It might very well be that a segment of volunteers who actively supported Fetterman are aware of the challenges of people who've had strokes, and even people who are aware of the challenges of the Autism Spectrum.

The characteristics of even High Functioning Autism (HFA) are sometimes similar to people who experienced mild strokes.