Ben Carson Spars with CNN’s Camerota on Biography, Media Double Standards

As this writer documented in this space earlier on Friday, the interview of the day took place over on CNN during Friday’s New Day with tempers flaring between co-host Alisyn Camerota and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. 

In addition to Carson hitting back at the liberal Camerota over her previous history at Fox News, there were other examples of sparks flying as Camerota hounded him over his biography, whether the media actually vetted President Barack Obama when he ran for the Oval Office, and what the proper role of journalism should be.

When first hounded about a CNN.com article questioning various stories from his childhood, Carson denounced it as “a bunch of lies” that are “pathetic and basically what the media does is they try to get you distracted with all of this stuff so that you don't talk about the things that are important.”

After Camerota repeatedly pressed him to tell viewers who were the family members on the other end of the younger Carson’s tirades, Carson demanded that his loved ones be left alone and not “victimize[d]” by the media. 

But when the GOP presidential candidate shot back that President Obama was not thoroughly vetted at all, Camerota defended the liberal media’s treatment of the President:

CARSON: Is that what was done with the current President? Is that what you guys did with him? 

CAMEROTA: Yes. As a matter of fact — 

CARSON: No, you did not. Gave me a break. 

CAMEROTA: President Obama’s autobiography, Dreams of My Father, was also vetted. You will recall, Dr. Carson.

CARSON: Give me a break. Are you kidding me.

CAMEROTA:  Don't you remember there was a whole question about his girlfriend and that people went back to try to find the President's girlfriend and it turned out that she may have been a composite character. That was revealed and the president had to talk about that. 

CARSON: So called vetting that you all did with President Obama doesn't even come close — doesn't even come close to what you guys are trying to do in my case and you're just going to keep going back, trying to find, he said this 12 years ago. You know, it is just garbage.

Frustrated with the New Day co-host spending so much time on this mundane and inconsequential issue to the lives of everyday Americans, Carson zinged: “So you've done your job. Okay. Kudos. Let's move on.” Turning later to the role of the media in politics, Carson implored Camerota and her cohorts to self-evaluate the job they’re doing more often:

You guys in the media, just stop for a minute and ask yourself, am I actually doing a good thing? Am I actually doing something to help to strengthen the fabric of America? Ask yourselves that. Or am I being used and am I being manipulated for somebody's ideological view point? 

Camerota became visibly upset when she scolded Carson for having “challenged my industry and journalism as a whole” and maintained that “we have meetings every day all the time about how to best get the answers, how to best test the candidates, how to best ask the questions.”

Just as he did earlier, Carson raised a second media double standard with their repeated defense of Hillary Clinton despite Camerota’s absurd assertion that “of course we ask Hillary Clinton questions” (ex. the media not furiously trying to track down a neighborhood bully Clinton’s late mother told her to confront and beat up):

CAMEROTA: Dr. Carson, of course we ask Hillary Clinton questions about what she wants to do with foreign policy, what she wants to do with education, about her books. Of course, we ask those questions

(....)

CARSON: Will you ask her that? Will you ask her when did a time arrive in our nation when we said it's too dangerous to go and rescue our people? When in fact, you had two Navy SEALs on top of that compound shooting the machine guns, allowing their colleagues to escape, but I'm sure they were saying if we can just hold out, help is on the way, but help was not on the way. Ask her why help was not on the way? When did our philosophy change? What is the implication of that. Please ask her those questions. I would appreciate it.

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

CNN’s New Day
November 6, 2015
7:05 a.m. Eastern

DR. BEN CARSON: This is a bunch of lies. This is what it is, a bunch of lies, attempting, you know, to say I'm lying about my history. I think it's pathetic and basically what the media does is they try to get you distracted with all of this stuff so that you don't talk about the things that are important because we have so many important things and you know, I'm not proud of the fact that I had these rage episodes, but I am proud of the fact that I was able to get over them.

(....)

CARSON (cross-talk): So, why — why would they want to victimize these people by exposing them to you?

CAMEROTA: Why can't we talk to these people want to victimize these people — it’s not victim — how is it victimizing by saying, tells us more about this story? We’re interested.

CARSON: The story is well-documented. If it doesn't fit the narrative that you want, that's fine. Okay? Let's let the American people decide. 

CAMEROTA: But Dr. Carson, your story has changed, for instance. First, you say that Bob was your close friend who you almost killed and then yesterday you said, actually his name wasn't Bob. I changed the names. That's fine. People do that all the time, Dr. Carson in their memoirs. 

CARSON: You changed names throughout all the books, even of patients because — unless I have specific permission from them to use their names, that's an inappropriate thing to do. 

CAMEROTA: Of course. People change the names in their memoirs all the time but they note that, but they note that at the beginning if they say the fictitious names will be used, but nevertheless, you changed it to say he was not actually a close friend. He was a family member. 

CARSON:  He was a family member. 

CAMEROTA:  Okay. 

CARSON: And, you know, I really don't want to expose him further. I talked to him. You know, he would prefer to stay out of the media and I think — I want to respect that. What I really want to do is help people, American people, although they seem to understand it a lot already, that one of the tactics that is used by you guys in the media, particularly when someone is doing very well, is let's find a way to get them distracted and get all the people distracted so that we can get away from the real issues and I'm simply not going to allow that to occur. 

CAMEROTA: Look, Dr. Carson, I know you call this tactics. It's called vetting in politics. You know it well. 

CARSON: Is that what was done with the current President? Is that what you guys did with him? 

CAMEROTA: Yes. As a matter of fact — 

CARSON: No, you did not. Gave me a break. 

CAMEROTA: President Obama’s autobiography, Dreams of My Father, was also vetted. You will recall, Dr. Carson.

CARSON: Give me a break. Are you kidding me. 

CAMEROTA:  Don't you remember there was a whole question about his girlfriend and that people went back to try to find the President's girlfriend and it turned out that she may have been a composite character. That was revealed and the president had to talk about that. 

CARSON: So called vetting that you all did with President Obama doesn't even come close — doesn't even come close to what you guys are trying to do in my case and you're just going to keep going back, trying to find, he said this 12 years ago. You know, it is just garbage. We have too many things that are important to deal with. 

CAMEROTA: Look, Dr. Carson, it speaks to, obviously it's an interesting story and it's the seminal story of your youth, which is why people are interested, but mostly it is about vetting and trying to find out if candidates are fact based and if they can be trusted and if they’re telling the truth.

CARSON: Okay. So you've done your job. Okay. Kudos. Let's move on. 

CAMEROTA: Okay, but last, does Bob exist? Is Bob a real person?

(....)

CARSON: You guys in the media, just stop for a minute and ask yourself, am I actually doing a good thing? Am I actually doing something to help to strengthen the fabric of America? Ask yourselves that. Or am I being used and am I being manipulated for somebody's ideological view point? 

CAMEROTA: Dr. Carson — 

CARSON: And if you stop and ask yourselves that and stop thinking you're the know it alls, I think you'll be a service to the people. 

CAMEROTA: Dr. Carson, we are the ones that ask the questions in media. 

CARSON: No, you don't ask questions. Don't tell me you just asked questions. 

CAMEROTA: Dr. Carson, you just challenged my industry and journalism as a whole and so —

CARSON: And I will continue to challenge it. 

CAMEROTA: Fine. That’s your prerogative, but to your question, of course we have meetings every day all the time about how to best get the answers, how to best test the candidates. How to best ask the questions. We do that sort of soul searching all the time and so the idea that —

CARSON: Why is it then I can easily figure out which side you're always going to come down on? 

CAMEROTA: Because it sounds as — 

CARSON: Why would that be the case if you were objective? 

CAMEROTA: It sounds as though you don't like some questions. There are some questions that you think are out of bounds, questions about your past. 

CARSON: I think the questions would be fine if they're asked to everybody. I want you to ask Hillary Clinton the same questions you ask me. Will you do that? Promise you're going to do that? 

CAMEROTA: Yes, of course. Of course we ask Hillary Clinton questions about her book — yes. 

CARSON: Everybody heard it. Everybody heard it. We're waiting. 

CAMEROTA: Dr. Carson, of course we ask Hillary Clinton questions about what she wants to do with foreign policy, what she wants to do with education, about her books. Of course, we ask those questions

(....)

CARSON: Will you ask her that? Will you ask her when did a time arrive in our nation when we said it's too dangerous to go and rescue our people? When in fact, you had two Navy SEALs on top of that compound shooting the machine guns, allowing their colleagues to escape, but I'm sure they were saying if we can just hold out, help is on the way, but help was not on the way. Ask her why help was not on the way? When did our philosophy change? What is the implication of that. Please ask her those questions. I would appreciate it.

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Double Standards Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CNN New Day Video President Obama President Barack Obama Alisyn Camerota Ben Carson Hillary Clinton Barack Obama
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