Witch hunt for Carson? Questions arise about Carson’s past (Opinion)


Over the last few days, one presidential candidate in particular has received extensive media attention: Ben Carson.

Carson’s campaign manager has mentioned that it seems that some journalists are on a witch hunt for Carson, digging into his past and looking for anything they can find to discredit him.

On Friday, Politico published an article detailing Carson’s supposed “fabrication” of information concerning the alleged scholarship that he was offered to West Point Military Academy. In Carson’s autobiography, Gifted Hands, he briefly mentions that a general involved with his high school ROTC program offered him a scholarship to West Point.

Courtesy of Amazon: Carson's autobiography Gifted Hands was published in 1996. A movie based on the book came out in 2009.
Courtesy of Amazon: Carson’s autobiography Gifted Hands was published in 1996. A movie based on the book came out in 2009.

“I was told that because of my accomplishments, they would be able to manage to get me into West Point and that I wouldn’t have to pay anything,” Carson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

An article in the Washington Post said “The Politico story seemed to mischaracterize a small but key detail in the way Carson has told the story. In many cases, Carson implied only that he received a formal offer from West Point. He never said explicitly that he had been accepted or even that he had applied.”

Politico later retracted the word “fabricated” from their headline and included an editor’s note stating that the story should have made clear that Carson never claimed to have applied for admission to West Point.

In Gifted Hands, Carson continues on to say that the only college that he applied to was Yale University.

“Each college required a ten-dollar non-returnable entrance fee sent with the application,” wrote Carson in Gifted Hands. “I had exactly ten dollars, so I could only apply to one.”

In addition to the claim that Carson exaggerated his opportunity for scholarship at West Point Military Academy, CNN published an article on Friday questioning the validity of Carson’s stories about his violent past. They even went so far as to find and interview nine friends, classmates and neighbors who grew up with Carson who shared that they have no memory of the anger or violence the candidate has described.

In response to these statements, Carson said CNN did not speak with the right people.

“I was generally a nice person,” he told them. “It’s just that I had a very bad temper. So unless you were the victim of that temper, why would you know?”

In all of this, Carson has expressed his frustration with the media. In recent interviews, Carson has claimed that he faces this scrutiny because of the threat he poses to “the secular progressive movement in this country.”

Everyone knows Carson is a brilliant neurosurgeon. In fact, I had the chance to meet him several years ago while he was treating my brother for his spina bifida occulta. Along with the rest of America, I noticed his sleepy demeanor.

When I first heard that Ben Carson would be running for president, I was shocked. The sleepy, quiet doctor wanted to be the leader of our country? I never doubted Carson’s merit, but I did doubt his leadership abilities. Could he be a brilliant president?

In light of recent events, I have found it interesting to watch and read about Carson as he begins to establish his political career. He’s said some foolish things no doubt, and the media has been all over him for it. But I think that he has grown since announcing his candidacy, and obviously a large portion of Americans agree, seeing as he and Donald Trump seem to be leading the Republicans.

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