Ben Carson Fires Back at Verbal Assault from CNN’s Camerota: ‘Can’t Believe You Used to Work on Fox’

In the middle of an extremely tense and combative interview on the Friday edition of CNN’s New Day, 2016 Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson shot back at co-host Alisyn Camerota for her questioning based off of a video from the far-left site Mother Jones and remarked to her that he couldn’t believe “you used to work on Fox and you’ve turned into this” liberal anchor.

Camerota started that portion of the half-hour interview by playing the Mother Jones clip from a Carson speech in 2014 where he denounced the left for having “underestimated the intelligence of the American people” even though there are some voters that “are stupid” but not those as a whole.

Asking him if he thought that part of the population was “stupid,” Carson tried to explain why the left has lured so many into a culture and lifetime of dependence on the government (as opposed to empowering them to grow and prosper on their own):

All you have to do is look at what's happened since the great society programs of Lyndon Johnson. We spent $19 trillion and we have ten times more people on food stamps, more people in poverty, more broken homes, out of wedlock births, crime, incarceration. Now, everything is not only worse, it's much worse. You have to be kind of stupid to look at that and not realize that that's a failure and to say we just didn't do enough of it. That's what I call stupid.

Not satisfied with Carson’s philosophy, Camerota tried to ask him if people on “food stamps or Medicaid” are stupid, but the normally calm Carson fired back

CARSON: I didn't say that. You're trying to put words into my mouth. 

 CAMEROTA: I'm trying to clarify, Dr. Carson.

CARSON: Listen to what I just told you. 

CAMEROTA: Because I think what you’re saying is liberals. I mean, it sounds like what you’re saying –

CARSON: I can't believe used to work on Fox and you’ve turned into this —

Acting as though she knew Carson would invoke her former employer, Camerota told him that she was “glad you brought that up, Dr. Carson, because you also said something about Fox News that I'd like to play from that very same speech” where he joked that the U.S. would “be Cuba if there were not Fox News.”

Camerota chose not to take it as a joke and instead launched into hounding him over whether or not he believes the U.S. is a communist country if Fox News never existed. The presidential candidate immediately called out the liberal co-host for “sensationalism” that’s no more than “what you try to do” in the media by “hop[ing] somehow that will resonate with people who don't think for themselves.” Once again deciding that she would not accept Carson’s answer, Camerota continued:

CAMEROTA: Dr. Carson, I'm actually quoting — I'm not even quoting you, I’m playing your words. You are the person who said there are a lot of people who are stupid and that without Fox News, we would be Cuba. 

CARSON: Are you honestly telling me that you didn't know what I was talking about when I said that? Are you honestly telling me that — because, if you are, you might fit in that category. 

CAMEROTA:  Dr. Carson, I really don't know what you're talking about. Fox News came to dominance in 2001. You think before 2001 the U.S. was a communist country? 

CARSON: That's not what I said. But that's what you guys love to do. Why do you do that? 

When Camerota stopped interrupting him, he presented his case as to why the liberal media needs other outlets to pick up after them:

What I am saying, is that the general mainstream media all seems to move in the secular progressive direction. And you know they would like to create a narrative that certain things are good and certain things are bad according to the way that they see them and by being able to be the bully pulpit, so to speak, and be the only voice that's out there, you can get a lot of people to start thinking the way that you do. Now, along comes Fox News and presents an alternative, a different way of thinking and if we didn't have that counterbalance, I wish we didn't need that counterbalance because the way it's supposed to work is that the media is supposed to be neutral and they're supposed to be on the side of the people and that is the reason they are the only business that's protected by the United States Constitution, but because they have become very partisan and very ideological, you need to have a counterbalance. That's what I mean having Fox come in to counterbalance what you've done. Some others have come in and joined since that time and it's good that they have but it's unfortunate that that has to happen.

Despite that firm response, Camerota closed this portion of the interrogation by chiding him for simply disagreeing with some Americans because, if elected, he would “have to be the president of everyone,” including “liberals, conservatives, of Fox News watchers, of CNN watchers” and so on.

The relevant portion of the transcript from CNN’s New Day on November 6 can be found below.

CNN’s New Day
November 6, 2015
7:16 a.m. Eastern

ALISYN CAMEROTA: I want to move on and ask you about a videotape of you from last year that has just surfaced. It's been uncovered by the magazine Mother Jones and it's you giving a speech at the Nixon presidential library in which you talk about liberals trying to take over the country and you talk about your impression of some Americans, so let me play a little clip of that. 

CARSON [IN 2014]: They underestimated the intelligence of the American people. That people are not as stupid as they think they are. Many of them are stupid, okay, but — I'm talking about overall. 

CAMEROTA: So that was obviously a punch line, that got a big joke, but who were you referring to? Which Americans do you think are stupid? 

CARSON: The people — particularly a lot of the people who don't realize what they're doing. For instance, those people who take the disadvantaged people in our country and they say you poor little thing. I'm going to give you everything that you possibly need. Not recognizing what that is really doing is keeping those people in a dependent position. That's not helping those people. All you have to do is look at what's happened since the great society programs of Lyndon Johnson. We spent $19 trillion and we have ten times more people on food stamps, more people in poverty, more broken homes, out of wedlock births, crime, incarceration. Now, everything is not only worse, it's much worse. You have to be kind of stupid to look at that and not realize that that's a failure and to say we just didn't do enough of it. That's what I call stupid.

CAMEROTA: So, just to be clear, people who support food stamps or Medicaid — 

CARSON: I didn't say that. You're trying to put words into my mouth. 

CAMEROTA: I'm trying to clarify, Dr. Carson.

CARSON: Listen to what I just told you. 

CAMEROTA: Because I think what you’re saying is liberals. I mean, it sounds like what you’re saying –

CARSON: I can't believe used to work on Fox and you’ve turned into this —

CAMEROTA: I'm glad you brought that up, Dr. Carson, because you also said something about Fox News that I'd like to play from that very same speech. Let's play that clip about your thoughts on Fox News. 

CARSON [in 2014]: Even if all the media has tried to shut you down quarterback which they have tried to do very much with me, but they can't because the good Lord has blessed me with mechanisms like my syndicated column. We'd be Cuba if there were not Fox News. 

CAMEROTA: Now, as you point, I did work at Fox for many years and I do have many friends at Fox News still who are excellent journalists, but I'm not sure that even they think that without their reporting we would be Cuba. You mean that if Fox News didn't exist, we would be a communist country?

CARSON: No. Again, there you go with sensationalism. That's what you try to do. You hope somehow that will resonate with people who don't think for themselves. 

CAMEROTA: Dr. Carson, you said it. I’m actually quoting you.

CARSON: People are a lot smarter than they think you are. They’re a lot smarter and they know exactly what I'm talking about. 

CAMEROTA: Dr. Carson, I'm actually quoting — I'm not even quoting you, I’m playing your words. You are the person who said there are a lot of people who are stupid and that without Fox News, we would be Cuba. 

CARSON: Are you honestly telling me that you didn't know what I was talking about when I said that? Are you honestly telling me that — because, if you are, you might fit in that category. 

CAMEROTA:  Dr. Carson, I really don't know what you're talking about. Fox News came to dominance in 2001. You think before 2001 the U.S. was a communist country? 

CARSON: That's not what I said. But that's what you guys love to do. Why do you do that? 

CAMEROTA: Dr. Carson — 

CARSON: Let me explain it to you. 

CAMEROTA:  Please. 

CARSON: What I am saying, is that the general mainstream media all seems to move in the secular progressive direction. And you know they would like to create a narrative that certain things are good and certain things are bad according to the way that they see them and by being able to be the bully pulpit, so to speak, and be the only voice that's out there, you can get a lot of people to start thinking the way that you do. Now, along comes Fox News and presents an alternative, a different way of thinking and if we didn't have that counterbalance, I wish we didn't need that counterbalance because the way it's supposed to work is that the media is supposed to be neutral and they're supposed to be on the side of the people and that is the reason they are the only business that's protected by the United States Constitution, but because they have become very partisan and very ideological, you need to have a counterbalance. That's what I mean having Fox come in to counterbalance what you've done. Some others have come in and joined since that time and it's good that they have but it's unfortunate that that has to happen. 

CAMEROTA: Well, Dr. Carson, therein lies the very question. That is when you say there are some people in America who are stupid, because of their ideology, when you are president, if you win the presidency, you will have to be the president of everyone. You will have to be the president of liberals, conservatives, of Fox News watchers, of CNN watchers and so, putting people into categories because of what they believe in, in terms of social programs and saying they're stupid, how will you not be partisan? How will you bring those sides together?

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Conservatives & Republicans Fox News Channel CNN New Day Video Alisyn Camerota Ben Carson
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