Some critics have pointed out that past Presidents such as FDR and JFK governed with far more severe maladies. This is true, but only after keeping their conditions secret from the public. They also did it with help: when these Presidents were suffering too much, someone else, someone not elected as president, was calling the shots. (Woodrow Wilson’s wife was essentially in command for 18 months after he suffered a stroke.)
The coverage has also been called sexist, a charge that has shot around the female Twitterverse and blogosphere. Noreen Malone outlined the argument on New York magazine’s website:
Migraines happen to be overwhelmingly a woman’s problem, and (though Bachmann’s are supposedly stress-triggered), they are often linked to both menstruation and menopause—unavoidable biological side effects of being a woman. And so, just by the nature and associations of migraines, the story serves as a reminder of the cave-man argument from way back against women holding office—that they might be undone by their hormones in moments of great stress.
This criticism seems to be getting well ahead of the message, introducing subtexts that simply don’t exist in the coverage. As Malone notes, Bachmann links her migraines to stress and—the Times’s Stolberg confirms this bit from The Daily Caller—wearing high heels.
Whatever the cause, and whatever one’s gender, a health condition that has kept a prospective presidential candidate from doing one’s job in the past has a place for serious, sober treatment and examination in the press. The Daily Caller deserves credit for the scoop, even while its reporting inspires rightful outrage.