CNN's Hill: 'Greatest Lie in American History Is the Myth of the Self-Made Person'

Appearing as a guest during the 5:00 p.m. hour of CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow on Sunday, liberal CNN political commentator Marc Lamont Hill declared that "the greatest lie in American history is the myth of the self-made person" as he answered a question about why GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson is so popular with white Republicans.

Reading from a column in the Washington Post by Janell Ross, CNN host Poppy Harlow recited:

Carson and his team have to protect and vigorously defend the once-violent-and-poor, now delivered-and-rich story -- hard.

...Carson's up-from-nothing, saved-by-Jesus-and-personal-effort story works, primarily with white Republican voters.

...for some it affirms the conscious or unconscious connections (stereotypes) they draw between blackness, poverty and violence.

For others, it demonstrates that Jesus saves. And for others still, it is a narrative that says other, potentially costly social solutions to poverty and violence are not necessary.

After right-leaning guest Ben Ferguson gave his reaction, Harlow moved to Hill and posed:

Marc, is this key to what she says in this column, "white Republican voter"?

The liberal CNN commentator and Morehouse College professor began:

Absolutely, absolutely, I mean, Ben Carson -- the greatest lie in American history is the myth of the self-made person. Nobody makes themselves.  We're all shaped by communities, by people who struggled and sacrificed for us, by governments that offer safety nets. And what Ben Carson is able to do essentially is reject all that stuff and say that I was saved-

Ferguson jumped in to inject:

The government didn't make me, though, Marc.

After Hill complained about being interrupted, he continued:

Ben Carson is able to say, "I was saved by Jesus and hard work." That allows him to reject a safety net. That allows him to push back against the expansion of a welfare state. That allows him to resist tax cuts for the middle class and poor and tax hikes for the wealthy. It allows him to create an entire narrative where people say, "Hey, wait a minute, why are you doing this?" Ben Carson can say, "Hey, because I did it myself," and it makes white voters feel comfortable to say that, "Look, this black guy himself is telling me poor people... (INAUDIBLE)"

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, November 8, CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow from about 5:09 p.m.:

POPPY HARLOW: I want to get some time in here for you both to weigh in on something I read this morning, and our team talked about it was really fascinating. It's from a column, an opinion column in the Washington Post this morning by Janell Ross. She writes, in part:

"Carson and his team have to protect and vigorously defend the once-violent-and-poor, now delivered-and-rich story -- hard.

"...Carson's up-from-nothing, saved-by-Jesus-and-personal-effort story works, primarily with white Republican voters.

"...for some it affirms the conscious or unconscious connections (stereotypes) they draw between blackness, poverty and violence.

"For others, it demonstrates that Jesus saves. And for others still, it is a narrative that says other, potentially costly social solutions to poverty and violence are not necessary."

That struck me. Ben, your thoughts? (BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR)

HARLOW: Marc, is this key to what she says in this column, "white Republican voter"?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely, absolutely, I mean, Ben Carson -- the greatest lie in American history is the myth of the self-made person. Nobody makes themselves.  We're all shaped by communities, by people who struggled and sacrificed for us, by governments that offer safety nets. And what Ben Carson is able to do essentially is reject all that stuff and say that I was saved-

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The government didn't make me, though, Marc.

HILL: Let me finish my point, Ben. I didn't interrupt you. Ben Carson is able to say -- we're talking about Ben Carson -- Ben Carson is able to say, "I was saved by Jesus and hard work." That allows him to reject a safety net. That allows him to push back against the expansion of a welfare state. That allows him to resist tax cuts for the middle class and poor and tax hikes for the wealthy. It allows him to create an entire narrative where people say, "Hey, wait a minute, why are you doing this?" Ben Carson can say, "Hey, because I did it myself," and it makes white voters feel comfortable to say that, "Look, this black guy himself is telling me poor people... (INAUDIBLE)

HARLOW: To be clear here, guys, I got to wrap it up, but to be clear here, there is no disputing that he grew up poor in Detroit-

HILL: Absolutely.

HARLOW: -and struggled and made an incredible accomplishment becoming the neurosurgeon that he is.

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