In reaction to CNN’s inability to corroborate his violent past, Dr. Ben Carson pulled a Republican. That is, he blamed the media and whined about Obama.
These two things are usually enough to get the media to back off, but CNN seems rather dogged about their attempts to validate the central attraction of the 2016 Republican presidential candidate – that is, his story of redemption from violent, poor Detroit youth to the soft-spoken neurosurgeon we see today.
Speaking to Alisyn Camerota on CNN’s “New Day” about the CNN report by Scott Glover and Maeve Reston published on Thursday, in which they were unable to find any of Carson’s supposed victims or even people who remembered him being the violent person he says he was, Carson accused the reporters of telling a bunch of lies.
Video of Carson on CNN:
Carson tried to claim that CNN didn’t talk to anyone in his elementary school and thus their story was ridiculous, but Camerota said they did speak to people who knew him then. Carson said Thursday that the incidents were private so people probably didn’t know about them and he alleged that he used fictitious names in his book for the victims, so CNN couldn’t possibly find these people.
But Friday he once again claimed that CNN didn’t talk to anyone from his early childhood.
Carson demanded to know how they knew they were going to find these people, and wanted names, which Camerota didn’t have seeing as it wasn’t her report. Camerota told him that the reporters did speak to people who knew him in elementary school and she directed him to the report, where the names are listed. This is when Carson started to whine about the media and President Obama.
Carson accused CNN of trying to distract people with these lies, “This is a bunch of lies, that is what it is. This is a bunch of lies attempting to say I’m lying about my history, I think it’s pathetic, and basically what the media does is they try to get you distracted.”
Carson said the media was distracting people from the important things, though he declined to say what those important things were, and this story of his redemption is his major selling point to Republican primary voters, so it is central to his campaign.
The alleged “lies”, just so you can keep this straight, are that Carson might not have tried to take a hammer to his mother or hit a classmate in the face while holding a metal lock. Yes, that’s right, Carson is accusing the media of lying for being unable to find a single “victim” of his.
Camerato asked, “Why can’t we talk to these people?” In response to this, Carson played the role of the Great Defender, saying he wouldn’t give the media the names of his victims because the media would ruin their lives.
Again Carson said he changed the names in his memoirs, and Camerota agreed that this is done often, though it is usually noted in the book and it wasn’t in his. Ouch.
Dr. Carson accused Camerota of distracting people and Camerota reminded him that it’s called vetting in politics.
“The vetting that you all did with President Obama doesn’t even come close, doesn’t even come close to what you guys are trying to do in my case, and you’re just going to keep going back, ‘He said this 12 years ago’ — it is just garbage. Give me a break!” Carson exploded.
I guess Carson missed that whole birth certificate thing his party inflicted on President Obama, which went back a lot further than 12 years. Camerota reminded Carson of the deep vetting done on Obama’s memoir.
Camerota asked, “Is Bob a real person?” (Bob being one of his alleged victims.)
Carson reiterated that he would not divulge the names of his victims but maybe they would come forward on their own, oh and by the way, they were actually family members.
CNN noted as highlights of the story, “Carson has had a shifting explanation of why the stories cannot be corroborated since CNN published its findings”.
Carson did not give one solid answer or response in the entire interview. He blamed the media for his unwillingness to corroborate an account of his childhood that he himself wrote and published, and is running on. Then he whined about Obama. Then he accused the media of distracting people. Not a single actual response, nor a mention of any “real” issues.
“My message has been that you can escape…” Carson explained to Camerota, as if we did not all know his message. This message is predicated upon being a violent, stereotyped version of a black youth in Detroit who was redeemed by finding Jesus while in his small bathroom in Detroit. It doesn’t work if Carson was never a violent person. (I keep seeing Roxie Hart as a puppet on her lawyer’s lap and telling the media about her sinful past.)
Republicans don’t campaign on issues because they can’t afford to, so they campaign on stories. Carson needs to make sure his story can be corroborated by someone, lest he be outed as yet another scam artist taking the Republican base for a ride. Cue the sudden appearance of a family member who corroborates Carson’s story.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.