Real experts think Dr. Ben Carson’s plan for fighting a mass shooter is the last thing one should do but Fox News would rather viewers not know that than to discredit its former contributor.
Yesterday, on Fox & Friends, Carson – who has no training in law enforcement or security – announced his Clint Eastwood fantasy for dealing with the mass shooter at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
CARSON: Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, “Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me but he can’t get us all!”
Carson smiled smugly, as if it was just too obvious for most of America to see what his brilliant mind sees. Later, Carson told ABC News that he did not want to clarify his comments and he was not implicitly criticizing the UCC students who were killed.
CARSON: No, I just said nothing about them, I said what I would do. …I would ask everybody to attack the gunman because he can only shoot one of us at a time. That way, we don’t all wind up dead.”
Then he smiled broadly and laughed. These clips are included the first video below.
In fact, real security experts say that attacking the gunman should only be a last resort. A 2013 FoxNews.com article by John Matthews, described by Fox as the executive director of the Community Safety Institute, a 30-year law enforcement veteran and the author of “Mass Shootings: Six Steps for Survival” and School Safety 101, advises you to get away as your first choice, your second should be to seek cover, the third to hide. Playing dead is also advised. Matthews writes, “If you have no other option then engage the shooter with multiple people simultaneously and while the shooter is preoccupied with other tasks such as loading their weapon or changing their equipment." ABC News’ expert came up with similar suggestions, in similar order, with this warning about attacking a shooter: "Let me be clear, this is not -- repeat -- not a first option. It also assumes that students know how to actively resist to save themselves, and most do not."
Yet none of the five Fox News anchors who subsequently discussed Carson’s comments with him gave this information to their viewers.
In her interview with Carson and his wife last night, Kelly’s only challenge to him was “the accusation” that he appeared “tone deaf” and “callous” with his laughter. Then she allowed Carson to double down on his advice, while he posed as the smartest man in the media about mass shootings.
“No, I’m laughing at them and their silliness,” Carson said about the ABC News reporters who had confronted him. “Of course, if everybody attacks that gunman, he’s not going to be able to kill everybody. But if you sit there and let him shoot you one by one, you’re all gonna be dead! And, you know, maybe these are things that people don’t think about. It’s certainly something I would be thinking about.”
Kelly did ask whether at such a time of great stress, “one might not know exactly what to do” and pointed out that he might “sound like you’re judging them.”
“I’m not judging them at all,” Carson said. Just promoting his uneducated advice. “I want to plant the seed in the people’s minds so that if this happens again, you know, they don’t all get killed. And sometimes we have to look at the big picture rather than listen to the people who are always trying to stir up controversy.”
But “straight news anchor” Kelly never seemed to think about finding out whether or not Carson’s advice was sound. Instead, she moved on to let viewers know we should love the Carsons no matter what. She asked such questions as “How did you raise such good kids and such productive citizens?” to Carson’s wife, and when Candy Carson said she sometimes felt like a single mother because her husband wasn’t around much, Kelly joked, “It’s so irritating when your husband is a pediatric neurosurgeon saving the lives of a bunch of kids.” They all had a good laugh together.
This morning, Media Matters caught Fox & Friends defending Carson. Cohost Elisabeth Hasselbeck suggested that school trainings validate Carson without citing any particulars:
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: This is a man who spent 40 years plus bringing people back to life, giving people a chance at life. And the mainstream media wants to now mischaracterize him as someone who is dancing on graves. That's unfair, it's incorrect, and it's irresponsible. It's completely irresponsible to do this man whose life mission has been to give life and who is simply answering a question, which, by the way, a bunch of universities are now training their students to deal with mass shootings, potential mass shootings, as a hazard such as a tornado, a hurricane, a mass flood. They're actually training students to deal with situations particularly in the way that Dr. Ben Carson stated here. He wasn't saying that the victims there didn't do enough to defend themselves.
…. He's alluding to them being courageous enough to put forward a conversation which says, “Hey, we have to now think about these situations because they keep happening and how our kids can defend themselves in a gun-free zone, which is, by the way, is a whole nother conversation that needs to be happening right now.
On America’s Newsroom, Carson doubled down:
CARSON: I was chuckling at the silly reporters not being able to understand such a silly concept as if you know somebody’s gonna kill you and they’re gonna sit there and systematically kill you one by one, why would you sit there and wait for them to do it?
MacCallum offered the most forceful challenge seen yet, but she also kept it as political criticism and did not question the substance of Carson’s remarks. “The problem sometimes is that the way it comes across,” MacCallum said, “and it’s something that you’ve run into time and time again, with the comment on Muslims being president and, you know, some other things. So how do you deal with that part of the equation because you have to keep cleaning up these comments?”
By playing the victim, not backing up such important comments with facts!
CARSON: I don’t deal with it to be honest with you because we’re living in a culture now where you have a group of people who just sit there. They don’t try to listen to what you’re saying. They’re just trying to find a defect so that they can cause more division. They’re trying to divide our nation into factions: war on women, age wars, income wars, religious wars, race wars, you name it. Any time there’s an opportunity to drive wedges in. I actually believe the American people are smarter than that and they’re not gonna allow themselves to be manipulated as much as they have in the past.
Later, MacCallum asked Carson, “What would you tell kids to do?”
“I would give them a number of different scenarios. You have to train them to react in each of the different scenarios, as you do teachers,” Carson now pontificated. Really? So his own Clint Eastwood scenario wouldn’t always work then? Rather than explaining what those “different reactions” should be, he quickly moved on to say, “I personally believe we need to have people in schools who are armed.”
I’ve spent years writing about the ways Fox News spins and distorts truth in favor of propaganda. But nothing has been as irresponsible and reprehensible as this.
Watch it below, from the October 6 The Kelly File, the October 7 Fox & Friends and America’s Newsroom.
If the shooter had an AR15 — the weapon of choice for tiny-dicked cowards — then he could have shot about 20 people within a second or two.
Yes, Ben — excellent “strategerie.”