While some Fox News figures are trying to defend Ben Carson after he was caught fabricating a claim to have been offered a scholarship to West Point, Fox is quietly getting ready to throw its protégé under the bus.
As I’ve previously reported, today the political world is buzzing over Politico’s revelation that Carson’s campaign has admitted that “a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.”
It must really gall Fox that its Pygmalion is about to be relegated to the Gary Hart Hall Of Campaign Has-Beens by the so-called liberal media. So, even as some Fox News figures have tried to defend Carson, no dispassionate look at the situation could miss Fox News' curtain on its way down, too.
As Media Matters points out, many Fox News pundits originally reacted to Carson’s admission by saying the news is “very bad” and that Carson is likely “done.” But after the Carson campaign hit back, they recanted their initial critiques.
However, a look at FoxNews.com suggests that the “Buh-Bye Carson” writing is on the wall. As I write this, the top story is about Carson, but with a headline emphasizing questions about Carson, not emphasizing a liberal-media hit job: “Report questions candidate’s West Point story, campaign pushes back.”
Even worse, the last three paragraphs of FoxNews.com’s report highlight the seriousness of Carson’s predicament:
Republican strategists who spoke with FoxNews.com following the revelations Friday said this could be more than just a hiccup for the Carson campaign. The candidate’s backstory has come under increased scrutiny as he enjoys the top slot in many of the latest primary polls.
“When you’re not a politician and you don’t have a voting record, and you are running on your own narrative (like Carson) .. then this is all fair game,” said media strategist Pete Snyder.
“I think people realize that people who run for office tend to embellish, but they don’t take kindly to fabrication of military service or West Point applications,” he added. “This is dangerous ground for Ben Carson.”
Similarly, Fox Nation has a post up from “Friends of Hamas” crackerjack Ben Shapiro, called, “No, Ben Carson Didn’t Lie About West Point. It’s Another Media Hit Job.” But the Fox Nation home page gives the “fabrication” way more prominence and, presumably, credibility.
On Happening Now today, host Arthel Neville asked Fox’s media critic, Howard Kurtz, “Howie, how big is this?”
Kurtz tried to paint Carson in a positive light but there was no way to avoid the gravity of Carson's situation. “Well, right now, it’s exploding like a bombshell,” Kurt said. He did acknowledge that the Carson campaign is pushing back, saying that “moments ago,” he got a statement from them “calling the Politico story an outright lie.”
KURTZ: Now, Carson did, of course, grow up poor in Detroit and became a world-class neurosurgeon and that is kind of the bedrock foundation for his presidential campaign. But in his own autobiography, called “Gifted Hands,” Carson talks about being encouraged to apply to West Point and then says, in the book, that he got a full scholarship. He now says, yes, he was encouraged, or his campaign says, but he chose, in the end, not to apply. That seems materially different from what he claimed in his own memoirs.
But Carson didn’t just claim that in his memoirs. As recently as last month, he said on PBS’ Charlie Rose, “I was offered a full scholarship to West Point.” Politico also noted that in his 2015 book for teens, “You Have A Brain,” Carson wrote, “I also represented the Junior ROTC at a dinner for Congressional Medal of Honor winners, marched at the front of Detroit’s Memorial Day parade as head of an ROTC contingent, and was offered a full scholarship to West Point.” And, as The New York Times reported, Carson wrote in an August, 2015 Facebook post that he was “thrilled to get an offer from West Point.” (emphases are mine)
Politico also revealed that while it is possible Carson was encouraged to apply to West Point, nobody would offer either admission or full scholarship because, “An application to West Point begins with a nomination by a member of Congress or another prominent government or military official. After that, a rigorous vetting process begins. If offered admission, all costs are covered for all students; indeed there are no ‘full scholarships,’ per se.”
“How could he call it a lie,” Neville asked about Carson’s pushback, “because West Point is saying that they have no record of Carson’s application much less being extended admission?”
“And the Carson campaign isn’t disputing that,” Kurtz replied.
Previously on Fox, host Greg Gutfeld “defended” Carson by comparing his fabrication to putting a fresh coat of paint on an apartment and opining that his wasn’t a “deliberate destructive lie, like Hillary Clinton, on Benghazi.” But even Gutfeld’s colleagues acknowledged this is a “big problem” that he probably won’t be able to overcome.
So while Fox goes through the motions of sticking by Carson, they are heading, as unobtrusively as possible, for the exit doors.
Watch Kurtz below, from the November 6 Happening Now.
Ben Carson’s latest tactic is to exploit the far right’s foaming hatred of any media except those outlets like Fox News who spoon-feed them what they want to hear and attack the ‘mainstream media.’ It will work with Republican primary voters.
Further, I don’t see conservatives caring about any Republican liars. Lies only matter as a talking point to smear liberals. Pure team sports.
As a side note, last week I listed to NPR’s “On The Media” did a brilliant look into the bulls**t “outsider” mythology: http://www.onthemedia.org/story/history-political-outsider/. It’s an endless and stupid political meme throughout history American’s are suckers for, IMHO.
Of course, he can blame the “liberal media” for the scandal. When you’re a GOPer, as the current crop of Geico ads go, “That’s what you do.”
O’Reilly Slams Ben Carson’s “Dumb Statements”
Now you done, Ben — once you’ve angered “America’s Daddy”, it’s over for you at Fox . . .
Fox News must’ve thought they hit the jackpot: here was a man who was the same race as the President, intelligent, well-spoken, lauded in his professional career — no easily debunked Joe The Plumber he.
No wonder Dr. Carson went from being unknown to being a Fox fave, then a contributor, then a GOP Presidential candidate.
As with Cain, Carson’s lack of ANY political or officeholding experience — which candidate Obama was pilloried for in 2008 — was, all of a sudden, considered to be beneficial rather than a drawback.
But, again as with Cain, as time went on, that lack of political experience proved a detriment: it seems the teabagger wing of the GOP has yet to learn that repeating ad nauseam things like “flat tax”, “make Putin behave”, “bomb Iran”, and “Dems want to give out free stuff”, with a healthy mixture of “Benghazi!” thrown in, do NOT a coherent policy make.
As long as the two stuck with those favored themes, however, they rode high in the polls among the teabaggers, who were only too happy to use their race as “proof” of their “inclusiveness” and “diversity”.
But in the end, it was the lying that did/will do them in: as truman mentioned, teabaggers were willing to forgive anything about Cain save his penchant for diddling white women not his wife, and Carson’s lying about West Point won’t win him points among the “support the troops” faction; the very fact Fox now appears to be trying to distance themselves away from him may be the beginning of the end.
Too bad — I see Dr. Carson withdrawing in near future, mumbling something about throwing his support to Trump, and saying he wishes to “spend more time with family.” At which point, he’ll be forced to give that Secret Service protection he requested; I hope he has the decency to refund us taxpayers who paid for it . . .
Cain was tossed when his penchant for screwing around with white women was disclosed. For Uncle Ben, it’s West Pointgate.
Hey Sean, you coward, what are you gonna do when Hillary is elected? Will your inflated head finally explode? Can’t wait to watch.
I’ve watch the guy interviewed a number of times and a reporter will ask Carson a policy question inferring his stance doesn’t make any sense and invariably Ben accuses them of misrepresenting his position. Sometimes, like his flat tax based upon Biblical tithing, he’ll suddenly pretend he said something different and go down the trail on some equally unworkable solution. Sometimes he just fogs up the room with mutterings and I’m left guessing what’s the difference between his explanation and what he was questioned on he claimed was a mischaracterization.
The guy’s a brilliant surgeon with an admirable life story – stripping away the fibs. However, as a politician he’s completely out of his element and a complete buffoon.
Somehow, President Obama will be blamed.