The media-driven controversy surrounding Ben Carson’s biography could be “devastating” for the candidate who is “under fire” and “on the defensive,” according to the journalists at Good Morning America on Monday. The hosts repeatedly hyped alleged discrepancies in Carson’s background.
Reporter Jon Karl excitedly explained, “But this controversy is potentially devastating to Carson for two reasons. First, more than any other candidate, Carson's appeal is based on his life story.” The journalist piled on, adding, “An overwhelming majority of Republicans call him honest and trustworthy. George, no other candidate is even close to that. So, if this controversy causes voters to doubt his story or to think he is not honest, he could be in real trouble.”
Former Democratic operative and Clinton donor George Stephanopoulos opened the show by trumpeting, “Ben Carson under fire. The GOP front-runner facing tough questions about his past, accused of embellishing stories about his violent youth and his time at college.”
An ABC graphic reiterated, “Ben Carson on the Defensive.” In another segment, GMA’s Tom Llamas insisted that the Republican is being forced to “defend” the story of turning his life around. Llamas warned, “This morning, as Dr. Ben Carson's life story is under the microscope, the leading GOP presidential candidate is firing back, calling the investigations a witch hunt.”
On Friday, GMA hyperventilated that Carson is “under fire.”
A transcript of the Jon Karl segment is below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about that now with Jon Karl down in Washington. Jon, let's talk about Ben Carson first. You know, in the past candidates have been crippled by questions about their biography. But no evidence yet that this is hurting Carson.
JON KARL: Not yet, George. But this controversy is potentially devastating to Carson for two reasons. First, more than any other candidate, Carson's appeal is based on his life story. And second, he's seen by far as the most honest candidate in either party. Just look at the most recent national poll. An overwhelming majority of Republicans call him honest and trustworthy. George, no other candidate is even close to that. So, if this controversy causes voters to doubt his story or to think he is not honest, he could be in real trouble. But so far, absolutely no indication of that. In fact, Carson is raising money off this controversy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah. Millions of dollars already. Meantime tomorrow night’s debate, smaller lineup. What are you looking for?
KARL: Only eight candidates. I say only eight. Still a lot. But that means more time in the spot light for each of them. One of the big storylines here is Jeb Bush. This time, does he finally break through? This is really a do or die moment for Jeb Bush. And the other big thing is Marco Rubio is the hot candidate now. He's had a series of good debate performances. He’s now the fastest rising candidate. That means, George, that the target will be on Marco Rubio's back in this debate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay. Still Trump and Carson one and two. Jon Karl, thanks very much. Robin, you were going to go to New Hampshire to join Hillary Clinton today, but that’s off to next week.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Yeah, she’s filing today in New Hampshire. But now we’re going to join her on the campaign trail next weekend in Iowa.