Earlier today, the New York Times made quite a splash with an extensive article about Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman’s litany of health and cognitive issues following his massive stroke last May. Apparently Fetterman has not been totally healthy and fine and able to serve in the necessary capacity required of a U.S. Senator.

It was actually good to see the New York Times’ story, because it was vindicating for those of us who questioned Fetterman’s physical, mental, and cognitive fitness back when he was on the campaign trail and was quite obviously not all right, despite what his team and the mainstream media were telling us.

But before you go giving the New York Times props for finally coming clean about Fetterman’s problems, it’s important that you realize that if they have to choose between casting aspersions on Fetterman and Co. and casting aspersions on Fetterman’s critics, they’ll go for his critics. Recall this passage from Annie Karni’s article:

The attacks during the campaign — Fox News’ Tucker Carlson called him “unapologetically brain damaged” and Republicans accused him of lying about his health — also are never far out of mind. Some of those aspersions continue; the Republican National Committee blasted out a clip earlier this month of Mr. Fetterman tripping over the word “water” at an event announcing $340 million in federal funding for Philadelphia to modernize its water infrastructure. On Thursday night, Mr. Carlson was back to attacking Mr. Fetterman’s health even as he recuperated in the hospital. “Sad, but also, you wonder, what is going on?” Mr. Carlson said.

But even that swipe at Fetterman’s critics wasn’t enough for some New York Times readers, who took issue with a particular phrase in Karni’s article (emphasis ours):

As Mr. Fetterman adjusts to his new life, the Senate and his colleagues are also adjusting to his special needs.

Apparently “special needs” was too offensive a term to use in this particular context. At least according to The 19th’s “caregiving reporter” Sara Luterman:

Well, let’s see. According to Karni’s article, Fetterman “typically walks around the building with many staffers, in part because he needs assistants to test his technological setup before he enters any room.” And “Mr. Fetterman suffers from auditory processing issues, forcing him to rely primarily on a tablet to transcribe what is being said to him. The hearing issues are inconsistent; they often get worse when he is in a stressful or unfamiliar situation. When it’s bad, Mr. Fetterman has described it as trying to make out the muffled voice of the teacher in the “Peanuts” cartoon, whose words could never be deciphered.” We’d say the guy has some pretty special needs, wouldn’t you?

“Special needs” actually seems like an appropriate and accurate term to use.

“People like us.” Except Sara can presumably answer people’s questions with words as opposed to blank stares and doesn’t require a pacemaker or defibrillator to stay alive (if we’re wrong about that, we apologize). John Fetterman is not like all disabled reporters. All disabled reporters aren’t even like all disabled reporters.

Sara couldn’t go to HR at the New York Times, but evidently she got through to somebody over there, because the phrase “special needs” no longer appears in the article:

We’re still kind of shocked that Sara Luterman would be more upset about “special needs” than she would be about the fact that Fetterman, his wife, his campaign, and the media lied about his condition for months. Actually we’re not that shocked, because she’s clearly just a liberal busybody.

We’re not shocked that the New York Times tried to pull a fast one with their “special needs” edit, either:

Goodbye, “special needs.” Hello, “needs”:

Seems to us that the New York Times has some special needs of their own: a competent, honest editor, for starters.


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