The latest strange and ugly conspiracy theory to make its way from Alex Jones' Infowars.com to Fox News contended that the pregnant, diabetic woman who nearly fainted during a White House Rose Garden speech was faking her poor health at the behest of President Obama in order to improve his image.
On October 21, Obama took to the Rose Garden to address the status of a glitch-ridden HealthCare.gov. During the speech, a woman standing behind the president, Karmel Allison, nearly fainted. The president and others turned to help Allison, who was later revealed to be a Type 1 diabetic and pregnant -- conditions that may have contributed to her unsteadiness.
Shortly thereafter, Alex Jones and his website Infowars.com pounced on the incident, baselessly claiming that Allison faked her fainting spell. Not only that, the website claimed that Allison is just the latest in a long line of Obama's fake fainters. In an article titled, "Was Fainting Woman at Obamacare Speech Staged?," Infowars.com reporter Steve Watson wrote that the "President has used the fainting woman spiel many times before to play crowds":
[T]his is not the first time this has happened... or the second time... or the third time... or the fourth time... It happens ALL THE TIME. He pretty much has a prepared speech that he repeats.
Commentators have previously claimed that this could also be part an effort to appear like a kind of quasi-religious or Messianic figure.
At the very least, if these incidents are not staged, they serve to highlight how Obama routinely seizes on them to uphold his public image as a "great guy".
Other fringe outlets amplified the conspiracy theory. The following day, Lady-Patriots.com published a piece by founder Dr. Sharon Scheutz, in which Scheutz claimed the fainting was "phony":
I couldn't believe how phony it was. As soon as I watched it I went to youtube to check it out from different directions. It was just as fake from any of them.
For some strange reason, Obama has to have props around him when he does one of his con-jobs in the Rose Garden, or wherever he chooses to receive his worshipers. This was no different, except that he had animated props this time. Although it was well staged there were enough holes in this little scene to drive the proverbial truck through.
Scheutz, it should be noted, is not a credible source of information. In addition to being a fainting truther, Scheutz has compared the Obama administration to Nazi Germany and just weeks ago wrote that the president was a Muslim:
If America survives Barack Obama's presidency and if history tells the truth, one word used to describe him will be LIAR. Yes, he's a Muslim. Yes, he's a Socialist/Communist. Yes, he's even a moron, and he's evil. But everything associated with him since he has been in office can best be described by one word: LIAR.
Fainting trutherism began to pick up steam. Conservative media aggregator The Drudge Report asked, "Did WH fake woman's Rose Garden faint?"
Fox News' Fox Nation republished part of Scheutz's post under the headline, "Did Woman Fake Fainting During Obama's Speech?" while linking to her full analysis.
On WOAI radio, Fox contributor Todd Starnes agreed that it's possible that Allison's episode was staged.
Fox contributor Sarah Palin was "cracking up" at the idea that the faint was faked, saying, "With the Obama White House's total lack of transparency, it's no wonder that some will ask whether they staged even a fainting lady in the Rose Garden":
Whether accurate or not, for some reason I found this hilarious! Am I out of bounds for cracking up when I saw this take on a nauseated Obama fan, her absentminded pal, and our President's heroics this week? If so, penance paying I'll accept. With the Obama White House's total lack of transparency, it's no wonder that some will ask whether they staged even a fainting lady in the Rose Garden. What was once a major leap in logic has become a single step because President Obama has lied so often and so blatantly ("If you like your health care plan, you can keep your plan" comes to mind!).
And finally, the conspiracy jumped to Fox News. The Five co-host Eric Bolling joined in the speculation during the October 21 program asking, "Are these prop people?" He went on, "Please don't tell me this was a staged event. He caught her? All those people around and he caught her?"
Other conservative outlets were more skeptical. The Weekly Standard gave the theory a platform, but noted that it was a conspiracy theory resulting from a distrust of the president.
Perhaps it goes without saying that the evidence put forth by the fainting truthers is, to be generous, insufficient. Infowars.com and Schuetz supported their claims by saying the event 'looked' fake or orchestrated, or fit into a pattern of similar events. Most outlets parroting the conspiracy were content just to raise the question -- with the baseless implication that Allison was trying to fool the American people at the direction of the president.
Conspiracies originating from Alex Jones and his websites routinely percolate through the right-wing media blogosphere onto the airwaves of Fox News or even Congress. But this theory took a particularly unusual turn, as Fox Nation, Drudge, and the Weekly Standard highlighted Scheutz's take on the Infowars theory.