Feb. 17: Trump Caught the Bug

The Claim: President Trump’s erratic behavior suggests he’s suffering from a serious disease he caught from all that sex he had in the 1980s.

The Source: The New Republic.

The Facts: The article is a work of 100 percent speculation. The notion that Trump suffers from neurosyphilis is based entirely on the author’s personal musings.

This particularly ugly bit of conspiracy mongering is an op-ed, and it’s not the same thing as a botched news report. Nevertheless, this article has a special place on this list due to the fact the New Republic and the author, Steven Beutler, are careful to emphasize his credentials as a doctor, and his background in treating infectious diseases.

The neurosyphilis theory is presented as a bit more than the usual op-ed griping. It’s presented as a serious discussion, from a serious physician. The author practically dares his readers to question his authority on the issue. The unspoken point of having Beutler write the article is to give the totally unfounded conspiracy an air of legitimacy. For that, this op-ed ends up on this list of shoddy and unprofessional post-inauguration media bungles.

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