I don’t know whether Ben Carson has fabricated things about his past — the alleged stabbing incident or his West Point scholarship — but what I do know is that it’s proper for the media to investigate discrepancies. As I told CNN this morning, it’s fair for conservatives to complain that Barack Obama wasn’t properly vetted, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t investigate Dr. Carson’s background — especially since he has made his personal biography an important selling point for his candidacy.
He’s also now the frontrunner, and that comes with increased scrutiny. This is a proper function of the press. And Republicans should want to find out everything they can about a candidate before nominating him to take on Hillary Clinton.
Carson’s performance today on CNN seemed defensive and angry. Maybe this is just another example of Carson being unconventional, but his hostile response raised my spidey senses. Of course, if he does have something to hide, it makes sense that he would react this way. This story threatens to undermine his key strengths — the fact that people find him personally likable and honest.
The attempt to dismiss legitimate questions as liberal media bias feels like an act of misdirection; yes, liberal media bias exists, but no, it doesn’t mean conservatives have a “get out of jail free” card to invoke whenever they don’t want to answer a question. Of course, maybe this is just a candidate who saw how well it played during the CNBC debate and is attempting to ride the wave a little bit longer. (Too long, if you ask me.)
Carson complains that the media wants to distract from the issues, but by appearing to stonewall and obfuscate, he is creating a feeding frenzy of his own making (this is what happens when the media smells blood).
He looks like he’s hiding something — whether he is or not.
In the short term, crying media bias often works for Republicans. Its track record in the long term isn’t as good. In fact, it might be seen as the last refuge of a losing campaign. If Ben Carson wants this to go away, he needs to fess up (if there are things to fess up about) or — if this really isn’t a big deal — simply provide corroborating sources (on background, if they prefer to preserve their privacy) and be done with it.