Ben Carson dissects media bias with surgical precision
It should surprise no one that a neurosurgeon knows how to get inside people's heads. But Dr. Ben Carson executed a first-rate act of mental judo on the mainstream media last week - and one exchange deserves the attention of all pro-life and pro-family speakers who must go on television.
The controversy began Friday morning, when Politico ran a story entitled: "EXCLUSIVE: Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship." It came after questions arose about other, minor aspects of his biography - scrutiny that coincidentally coincided with his status as a front runner in some 2016 polls.
The details of the controversy are here, but in brief: The story claimed that Carson was forced to admit that he never applied for, and was never formally offered, a "full scholarship" to West Point, an alleged pillar of his life story. But Carson never said that he applied to West Point, only that as an ROTC officer, someone suggested Carson could be appointed to the military academy (where all scholarships are "full scholarships").
This well-placed piece of opposition research was intended to sink the candidate whose image most relies on his trustworthiness. The press conference would amount to little more than media vultures picking over the carcass of his dead candidacy.
Instead, Carson called the media out. He called the story an "outright lie," and Politico changed its headline and did a stealth edit to the story, something other media outlets criticized.
Then at the press conference Dr. Carson, the ultimate outsider, proved how unconventional he really is. Eschewing the typical antiseptic answers and brush-aside bromides that mark such crisis responses, Carson showed down reporters face-to-face.
The West Point story was "subterfuge," he said, and he was not "just going to sit back and let you be completely unfair without letting the American people know what's going on. And the American people are waking up to your game."
Then the doctor dissected media bias with surgical precision:
I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama when he was running. In fact I remember just the opposite. I remember people saying, "Oh we won’t really talk about that. We won’t talk about that relationship." Well, Frank Marshall Davis? "Well, we don’t want to talk about that." Bernardine Dohrn? Bill Ayers? "Oh yeah, he didn't really know him." All the things that Jeremiah Wright was saying? "Ah, not a big problem." [He] goes to Occidental College, doesn't do all that well, somehow ends up at Columbia University. "Oh, I don't know." His records are sealed. Why are his records sealed? Why are you guys not interested in whether his records are sealed?"
It goes without saying that Dr. Carson is right. The media did everything they could to place all discussion of Obama's radical associates out-of-bounds. Frank Marshall Davis, a Marxist radical who once wrote about molesting a 13-year-old girl, acted as a surrogate father-figure to young Obama, abandoned by his radical mother to be raised by his grandparents in Hawaii.
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Obama launched his political career in the living room of Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn. Ayers, who also served on nonprofit boards with Obama, said in a story published on 9/11, "I don't regret setting bombs" in the Sixties. "I feel we didn't do enough."
Nine years later, Dorhn said her goals had not changed. "We are radicals today," she said. "We think that the real terrorist is the American government."
Jeremiah Wright, the race-obsessed radical Obama chose to baptize his children, believed that 9/11 was a deserved, belated response to American imperialism. "Not God bless America. God d--n America!" he bellowed. "That's in the Bible!"
Thus began a long media history of ignoring a host of political extremists inside the Obama administration or his private inner circle, including Valerie Jarrett, Van Jones, Craig Becker, Buffy Wicks, Anita Dunn, Marilyn Katz, and the bizarre associations the Obama administration cultivated during weekly meetings with far-Left radicals.
In fact, the media did all it could to silence any discussion of Obama's views before his election. In Obama's 2001 interview with Chicago public radio station WBEZ-FM, he said the nation needed an "activist" executive branch - one that would use the attorney general's office to force people to bow to its will. The U.S. Constitution, he said, embodies a “fundamental flaw” in the fabric of America “that continues to this day."
When asked about federal funding for abortion, Obama replied, "I think those are very important battles that have to be fought."
When the audio was released in 2008, the media aired Obama campaign spin.
Instead of exploring his views and history, The Washington Post slobbered about how "the sun glinted off [Obama's] chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games."
Yet now they examine whether Carson actually applied for a "full scholarship" or was just offered one.
This is the same tactic they use against prolife advocates, such as when CNN browbeats David Daleiden over whether the late-term abortion victim shown kicking outside the womb in a recent CMP video was shot inside a Planned Parenthood or some other abortion facility. It's an act of misdirection to take the heat off the offender and scrutinize the messenger.
Pro-lifers placed on the spot should ask why the media justified ignoring Kermit Gosnell's gruesome killing spree by calling it "local crime," or why the Big Three networks have refused to cover the last seven undercover Planned Parenthood videos.
They may ask why CNN spent more time on the source of Daleiden's footage than, say, reporting that Cecile Richards lied about whether Planned Parenthood performs mammograms - a lie she told on CNN, in fact.
Carson was right to ask, "Why are you guys not interested?" After all, these people didn't just lie to the American people; they lied to you.
The answer comes in realizing these figures didn't lie to the media; they lied with them. Together the radical Left, Democratic candidates, and the prestige media fabricate stories in order to sell the American people on the unpalatable, whether it is a lightly qualified radical windbag from Illinois or a billion-dollar corporate welfare case that makes about half its money by killing unborn children and selling their body parts.
Not everything about Dr. Carson's press conference is laudable. Carson shows a testy, less attractive side of his personality - especially when he says "Yes" five times in a row. And his suggestion that reporters "sign an affidavit" that they will end all critical coverage and start "singing my praises" is ill-advised. (Journalists won't be giving up our First Amendment rights, thank you.)
But the way he turned the tables on the biased media is well worth adopting.
David Weigel of The Washington Post wrote, "Ben Carson rants at media, and it seems to be serving him well."
Holding the media accountable serves everyone well. If Ben Carson can use the same mental agility he used against biased journalists without coming off as testy, he will do well at tonight's Republican primary debate.
And if pro-lifers can do the same, they will do well when mainstream reporters force them to spend some time in the belly of the biased beast.