WATCH: How the Media Covered Fetterman's Stroke vs. McConnell's 'Freeze'

September 1, 2023

Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R., Ky.) 30-second senior moment during a press gaggle on Wednesday has drawn intense media scrutiny—including numerous think pieces on how old is too old for public service.

It was a different story after Democratic Sen. John Fetterman (Pa.) struggled to complete a coherent sentence for a full hour during his election debate last year against GOP opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Then: Fetterman's hard-to-watch debate performance in October was widely covered as a triumph for disability rights, and concerns about his evident impairment were dismissed as "ableism."

When, according to Fetterman, the debate debacle triggered the freshman senator's hospitalization for depression a few months later, the mainstream media had new reason to celebrate him.

Now: Following McConnell's "freeze" moment, "ableism" has been notably absent from the discourse. Instead, the news has been full of words like "alarming," "embarrassing," and "retirement."

Double standard: Politico Playbook suggested on Thursday—under the headline "Mitch McConnell’s untenable silence"—that McConnell warrants more scrutiny than the likes of Fetterman or Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) because he is a party leader. But that doesn't explain much of the coverage of President Joe Biden.