Media Malpractice

| March 23 2013

By Sean Noble

Let the smear campaign against Dr. Ben Carson begin!  Today’s New York Times features an article introducing readers to Dr. Carson.  From headline, “Neurosurgeon’s Speeches Have Conservatives Dreaming of 2016,” to finish, the piece seeks to discount Carson and the conservatives who love him.

Using words like dream, fantasy, and lofted, the Times paints Carson’s newfound fame as a flash in the pan.  Out-of-touch, old, rich, white, conservatives are desperately grasping at straws; Carson is a straw.

Take a look at the opening paragraph:

“Then with a single speech delivered as President Obama looked stonily on, he was lofted into the conservative firmament as its newest star: a renowned neurosurgeon who is black and has the credibility to attack the president on health care.”

It’s the same tired argument that the Left trots out every time a black conservative appears on the national scene: conservatives are attracted to Carson not because he can convincingly and succinctly extoll the virtues of conservative thought, but because he is black.   Give me a break.  This statement also strangely seems to imply that only those with a medical degree can credibly attack the president’s disastrous health care law.  According to this reasoning, only those with a medical degree should be able to argue in favor of the law as well…I forget, where did Obama go to med school?

Carson’s inspiring American success story is a testament to conservative principles of individual responsibility and personal achievement, so the article attempts to degrade that story by framing it as a self-serving political prop:

“In an interview in his office at Johns Hopkins University, he said he had been told for years that he could have a political career. It would be built on his compelling personal story that began in poverty in Detroit, leading to fame through pioneering work separating conjoined twins and his own self-help and inspirational books, including “America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great.”

The Times devotes an entire paragraph to a detailed account of Carson’s office voicemail recording and depicts the doctor as arrogant, writing that Carson is not shy or self-deprecating.  The article reveals that Carson attributes much of his success to his mother’s high expectations for him and her insistence that he read.  Then, insults Carson’s mother and, in a beautifully executed trick of bias, makes it seem that the condescension comes from Carson, “But his mother insisted that he and an older brother turn off the television and read, writing weekly book reports that she could only feign understanding.”

Next, in describing Carson’s formidable success, the article notes, “He gained fame for a series of operations separating conjoined twins, long and risky procedures that did not always succeed.”  A surgeon without a 100% success rate—we knew he was too good to be true!

Carson acknowledges that, like so many misguided youngsters, he was a “flaming liberal in college,” and explains that he became conservative because “One thing I always believed strongly in was personal responsibility and hard work…I found the Democrat Party leaving me behind on that particular issue.”  But, the Times characterizes his change in philosophy a bit differently, “[Carson] became conservative through his own climb to success.”

A proponent of a flat tax, Carson famously exclaimed at the prayer breakfast, “You make $10 billion, you put in a billion; you make $10, you put in 1…Now some people say that’s not fair because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made 10 billion as much as the guy who makes 10. Where does it say you’ve got to hurt the guy?”  After which the Times notes, “Dr. Carson said that he was in the new top federal bracket for family income above $450,000.”

Yep, he’s just another greedy rich guy.

In reality, Carson is a committed philanthropist.  Since 1996, Carson and his wife have been giving scholarships to promising students and promoting reading in schools throughout the country.  The Carson Scholars Fund awards 500 scholarships annually and has provided more than $2 million to 5,200 scholars in all 50 states.  The Ben Carson Reading Room Project has provided more than $850,000 to establish 85 Reading Rooms at schools in 12 states.  How does the Times describe this remarkable undertaking? “With his wife, Candy, Dr. Carson founded the Carson Scholars Fund, which awards $1,000 to students to help pay for college. He has also endowed Ben Carson Reading Rooms at schools that serve disadvantaged students.”

The article closes, “As for politics, [Carson] said, “I would like to have a voice.”  The New York Times and those on the Left will try hard to silence that voice, but something tells me they won’t have much luck.

Originally posted at NobleThinking.com

26 comments
GregoryConterio
GregoryConterio moderator

While there is no question the usual suspects on the left will start pulling-out their long knives for Carson, we on the right need to look a lot more closely at him before going into full-on swoon-mode. Dr. Carson's personal story is without a doubt a living example of conservative principle and practice, and I applaud his courage, and most of his message, but we need to learn a LOT more about him before we jump too enthusiastically on his bandwagon.

Econ101
Econ101

 @GregoryConterio By all means ... in fact, let's us conservatives beat him up ourselves. Maybe we can find some women seeking 15 minutes of fame who will claim they've had affairs with him and then disappear into the woodwork as they did with Herman Cain.  And even if we can't find any such women, if we try hard enough, maybe we can find some wispy reason that Carson should be deemed "offensive" to the independents.  That will be all that the GOP Consultancy Class needs to steer us all to yet another "most electable", "play-it-safe" candidate like Romney, McCain, or Dole.

This man, Dr. Ben Carson, has conservative wisdom borne of experience, and his personal success is something for everyone to emulate, not envy or detest as the libs will surely do.  He'd make a fine temporary steward of conservative core principles, which is all I want from any president. I'll leave the hero worship to the Chris Matthews and the Democrats.

Dr. Carson is already on *my* short list.  More Big Government Republicans, like the presumptive Consultancy Class choice (Jeb Bush), are not.

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

 @GregoryConterio Not only is that sound advice for Carson----and anyone and everyone in such a position on our side---but I would add one more caution. Even if we think we have determined someone's qualifications and history to be (or appear) impeccable, we still mustn't give in too much to the whole cult of personality thing. We are conservatives and libertarians—we follow PRINCIPLES, not people. Let the left swoon over its dictators, its commissars, it's earthly messiahs.

GregoryConterio
GregoryConterio moderator

@Econ101 @GregoryConterio So if I understand you correctly here Econ, you're bashing me for urging caution and prudence. <shrug> Well, OK then.

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

 @dleeper47  @rofomoreno And remember, new media is an aggregated phenomenon. One article does not have to change the world, just as one soldier's bullet does not win a war. Just get onto the field and fight. The more soldiers we have, the better our war effort goes!

dleeper47
dleeper47 moderator

 @WesternFreePress  @rofomoreno There you go, Rofo. That's the editor himself.

 

When I started with WFP, in January, 2011, I thought I'd run out of things to say after 3 or 4 articles.  But since then I've written about 400 of them. I'm sure you've noticed this already, but writing is therapeutic, and new ideas come up every day. One article begets another.

 

Family and volunteer work (I'm retired) do come first, but writing is a way to make a difference even if only a small one. I'd encourage you to give it a try. No risk. You can always cut back.

dleeper47
dleeper47 moderator

 @rofomoreno I too live in the Phoenix area, and I too was a lifelong Democrat who started voting Republican ("just temporarily" I told myself) in 1980 expecting the Dems to return to JFK-like policies eventually. Of course they never have, and I have never stopped voting Republican.  I wish the Republicans were more conservative, but given what the Dems have become, I don't see that I have much choice.  

 

You can write to the WFP editor about becoming a writer.  If there is mutual interest, I can tell you it's a very good site to write for, and I don't believe there is any minimum article count required.  

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

 @rofomoreno  @dleeper47 I hear ya, Rofo, on the conflict between the burning desire to make a difference and the ongoing need to make money and use precious time wisely. Still, though, David is right---you should start writing. We reach a lot of people, and your articles would be seen by many more people than see your comments alone!

rofomoreno
rofomoreno

 @dleeper47 Thank you dleeper47. BTW & FYI: I sometimes don't recall what discussions I've mentioned, but I am a lifelong Democrat and a Conservative since Reagan's campaign leading up to his presidency. I do look at Senator Zell Miller as a heroic and iconic dissenter.

I am seriously considering the invite. Have had other requests to pen commentaries from other sites and orgs. The effects of this economy and my line of work allow me only small windows of time for dropping comments here and there. I am in the process of shuffling, reorienting the more manageable challenges to keep normalcy at an optimum while trying to do what I can to save the human race from the Empire. It's a tough calling when you have a family, other obligations and the natural inclination to surrender to beautiful gift of slumber. It all just wears you out. But every morning, my wife and I get up again and plan out the days' new strategies to save America. We both see this as the Repub Party in desperate need of our help. 

I am also curious; From what cities do the rest of you offer your world saving strategies from? I am in Phoenix, AZ

dleeper47
dleeper47 moderator

 @rofomoreno  

Thanks, rofomoreno. It sounds like we're of one mind on this.  I see you've written many "right-on" comments on this website.  

 

(Have you thought about blogging on WesternFreePress?  If you're interested, you can write the editor for more info.)

 

I hope your words reach the ears of the RNC, Karl Rove, John McCain, and the other old bulls of the GOP.  I don't expect any of them to change their tune ... they wouldn't know how, they'd sound foolish if they were to try, and I'm sure they don't want to lose their gigs on the Sunday talk shows.  But they *could* get out of the way and support the new flock of conservatives in Congress rather than mocking them as "wacko birds." 

 

Personally, I've halted all contributions to the RNC and steered what money I have for donations directly to conservative candidates and causes like CURE.  (BTW, Ben Carson is now on CURE's board).  They are carrying the right message to all Americans about Big Govt dependency, and they are doing it well.

 

I'll know we're succeeding when we finally see some Democrats break free from the iron grip of Obama-Reid-Pelosi and espouse at least few conservative themes like those of JFK, Zell Miller, and other Dems of old.

rofomoreno
rofomoreno

 @dleeper47  @WesternFreePress  @GregoryConterio  @Econ101 Regarding going on the offensive; As a follow up (due to time constraints), my comment at Nick Baily's post (Western Free Press), "The Republican Party's Problems"    westrernfreepress.com/2013/03/21/the-republican-partys-problems/   is appropo in this discussion.

dleeper47
dleeper47 moderator

 @WesternFreePress  @GregoryConterio  @Econ101  @rofomoreno Well said.  Exactly right.  

My erstwhile favorite, Newt, may be finished now politically, but I recall his sharp answer to a cynical debate question was something like: 

"Well, I'm not interested in your attempts to get Republicans to fight one another .... any person on this stage would do a far better job than Barack Obama ... "

He got a roar of applause for that, and as I recall he followed with a bullet-list of specifics, all sans teleprompter.

 

This may be a big part of what it means to go on offense.  The Democrat Media Complex is now fully enslaved to the Left.  Attacking the DMC and putting them on the defensive is putting the Left on the defensive. 

 

Instead, the GOP cowers before the media, fearful of their attacks, fearful of WashPo headlines, terrified of how they'll be portrayed.

 

Now and again, when people like David Gregory (Meet the Press) are themselves questioned by a conservative interviewee, they get frantic and panicky.  And the point is made.  I love it.  Too bad it's so rare.

 

The general technique here is to answer a question with a challenging question. Socratic style.  Conservatives don't do it nearly often enough ... again out of fear.  I wish they'd practice it, especially with the DMC.

 

Another theme in this thread talks about going on offense with vivid descriptions of how Leftist Democrat policies actually hurt the people they're supposed to help.  That's really important, and we have outstanding people in our corner like those at Star Parker's CURE organization. Check out her website.  Check out her aptly named and well-written book "Uncle Sam's Plantation."  Check out her campaign with black pastors to expose Big Government's betrayal and dependency enslavement of all Americans, but especially minorities.

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

 @GregoryConterio  @Econ101 @dleeper47 @rofomoreno It is, sometimes to our detriment, a feature of human behavior to follow leaders. In primaries, this leads to the terrible habit of picking a favorite and vilifying the others as threats. We need to try to avoid that as much as we can. We can pick our faves in primaries, but we must advocate for the positive reasons why we prefer one candidate, not look for any way possible to tear down the others.

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

 @rofomoreno  @Econ101  @GregoryConterio  @dleeper47 See my comment on "The Republican Party's Problems" re: defense, advocacy, and offense. I believe you are right here, Rofo. This is a problem of being on defense rather than offense. Ironic, isn't it, that the Party and ideology that is more likely to be associated with being the "daddy" party and the manly virtues has become so pusillanimous!

rofomoreno
rofomoreno

 @Econ101  @GregoryConterio  @dleeper47  @WesternFreePress Great discussion - great insight.

Isn't it something that throughout the 2012 campaigns the media and the roster of usual suspects were ever so willing to advise the Repubs' on a strategy of how to be liked? Isn't it telling how so many Repub campaign managers went out of their way to consume, tweak, and incorporate so much of that counsel, particularly in "Hispanic Outreach"?

And isn't it rich that in the eleventh hour, the GOP, in anxious anticipation over the possible glory of being liked, would surrender their forward direction, concede to accepting the implication as a Party of intolerance, then aimlessly run guilt ridden with an urgency to apologize for phantom bigotry?

The GOP is once again (already) facing the same labels, the same talking head counsel, with the same regularity. Unfortunately, it appears to me that much of the same leadership has already begun to bow to that revered holy grail of being liked.    

Dr. Carson, just one viable possibility in that deep rotation, is challenging the media as did Newt. Rubio, Paul and Cruz (but a few - and it is early yet)) have the same character trait that oozes confidence. The Left fears Conservative confidence. It would do the Party well to take note of the awkward reactions of the Left with respect to these Senators. They could gain enlightenment into what actually works.

Econ101
Econ101

 @GregoryConterio  Quite right.  I just posted a response to @dleeper47 on this subject.  Our candidates should follow Newt's early example in the primary, uniting against the media and then supporting whoever wins the primary battle.  Closed primaries would be a big improvement too, as @WesternFreePress points out in this thread.

 

Good luck to us all.

Econ101
Econ101

dleeper47:   I too preferred Newt, and I liked the way he ran his primary campaign early on, defending his opponents from media attacks and attempts to split the pack.  I saw the same standing ovations for that behavior that you did.  I hope the next suite of primary candidates *all* behave that way.  Unfortunately, it only takes one to spoil that, and when Mitt's campaign saw Newt as a threat, they poisoned that well.

 

Of course Mitt and his handlers weren't all bad ... they won the independent vote by an impressive 5% overall and by a whopping 10% in the battleground states.  That was their top strategic objective and they achieved it, even with all their get-out-the-vote and other tactical errors.  Their error was strategic -- they didn't bother to *inspire* enough Republicans to cast a vote -- they took those voters for granted.  

 

I don't know who our next candidate should be ... Scott Walker looks like the strongest "traditional" candidate to me.  But Rubio, Cruz, Jindal, Haley, Martinez, Paul, and yes, Carson, are a deep bench of inspirational newcomers, all of whom can get those Republican voter bench-warmers to show up in 2016 better than they did in 2012.  

 

Which conservative gets the nomination is probably less important than how the campaign is run the next time around.  I hope the candidate hires no one at all from the Romney campaign, but I fear the GOP won't provide campaign funds unless they do.  And then Caution and Prudence will set in again.

GregoryConterio
GregoryConterio moderator

@Econ101 Indeed, I would submit that it was a LACK of caution and prudence that contributed to the sad state we're in right now. It was in part the willingness of so many on the right to uncritically jump onto the bandwagon of their favorite candidate, and advocate for them to the extent of viscously attacking other Republicans with the deliberate attempt to damage them so badly that they would become non-viable, without any regard for the fact that they might just wind-up being faced with a choice between one of those candidates, and Obama. We see where that got us. Casting-aside caution and prudence is to explicitly endorse an emotionally based criteria for selecting and supporting candidates. Tell me, when has basing one's decisions on emotion ever led to making good choices? IMHO, the place for EVERYONE on the right to begin this time around is by affirming they will support WHOEVER the nominee ultimately is, even if it's someone you don't particularly like. And if the Republicans are smart, their will make such an affirmation into some sort of qualification for working within ANY candidate's campaign. When significant cohorts within our own side are finding greater fault with our own candidates than with the hard-core socialist leading the other side, it means we have a serious problem.

dleeper47
dleeper47 moderator

 @Econ101   Good points, Econ. We were supposed to choose "the most conservative candidate who could win", no?  Well, Mitt surely wasn't the most conservative, and we know now he couldn't win.

 

So who could have won?  Early on, I favored Newt for reasons like those you list. He did take on the media, and he won standing ovations for doing so. He won the South Carolina primary with record-high turnout, while Mitt won the Illinois primary with record-low turnout.  That spelled trouble, but by then it was too late.  Mitt ended up getting fewer votes in the general election than McCain did.

 

So whom did you prefer?  Newt?  Someone else?

 

When Newt faded away after Mitt's vicious Florida campaign attacks, I sulked for a while and then got behind Mitt with my time, my money, and a lot of articles I wrote on this website.   And I thought he would win the general in spite of being only mildly conservative.  Wrong.  I hope next time the GOP will try a true conservative with guts who will motivate all Republicans to get to the polls.  I do agree we don't want another "C&P" candidate.

GregoryConterio
GregoryConterio moderator

@WesternFreePress @Econ101 ..and therein you have concisely presented the formula for winning back the country. For a couple years now I have been repeating the mantra: if you want to make the country more conservative, we first have to make the Republican Party more conservative, and to do that, more conservatives but become active and participate in the Republican Party. And yes, the liberals have already done the same thing with the Dems, they have taken-over the party, starting at the grass-roots level. The model for how to do it is simple. What we have lacked is execution.

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

 @Econ101  @GregoryConterio Good points in all comments of this thread. But Econ, one thing----we, the primary electorate, picked Romney. I think the elites talked about Romney as being a front-runner because in every respect, he was. He had more money. He had a 50-state organization set up. He was the last not-McCain man standing in 2008. It was kind of natural, from that standpoint, to see the 2012 primary as a sort of Romney vs. NotRomney dynamic. Conspiracies exist, but I don't really see one here.

 

The big problem is that the primary electorate picked him. Now why was that? One reason is that in states that allow open primaries, we got crossover and indie votes thrown in with pure Republican votes. The GOP could solve that issue by closing all its darned primaries! Also, the Not-Romney votes were divided among several candidates, allowing the Romney vote to be larger. (Same thing happened to the Dems with Kerry in 2004.)

 

All the NotRomney choices were flawed in some way, so support never coalesced around one. If Rubio had been in, for example, I think the others wouldn't have stood a chance, including Romney. Support would have coalesced around him early, no skeletons would have fallen out of his closet, he wouldn't have made any unforced errors, and all the others would have faded fast. That's not what happened in 2008.

 

It is true, though, that Romney follows at terrible pattern that includes McCain and Dole. But still, is that the consultancy class's fault, or ours? Registered Republicans made the choice in each one of those primaries. The GOP party structure, from the precinct on up, is made of citizens to run. By and large, hardcore conservatives and libertarians have allowed the more moderate ones to do that work, and largely didn't even think of getting involved in the party structure until 2009. Here again---out fault. If we want to have power in this country, it means doing the hard work, It means making a long march through the institutions. That's what the left has been doing for a long, long time. We either do the same, or we cede control to the left, and to the moderates on the right.

Econ101
Econ101

 @GregoryConterio   Au contraire, mon ami!  What I'm bashing is Caution and Prudence.  C&P killed us in the last election.  The GOP consultants ran a C&P campaign with a C&P candidate.  And it yielded a gracious C&P loss.

 

We need a candidate who will bring people to their feet in a debate and to the polls on election day.  Romney did neither.  We need a candidate who will take on the mainstream media.  Romney never did.  We need a candidate who will exploit epic-fail debacles like Fast & Furious and Benghazi. Romney didn't.  Why?  C&P.  It wasn't in his character, and the Consultants told him not to.  It was the "smart play", the C&P way.

 

I already see the Consultancy Class lining us up with the another C&P candidate, namely a Big-Government Republican like Jeb Bush.  He's paid his GOP dues, and it's "owed" to him. He's "next-in-line" just the way Dole, McCain, and Romney were.  I already see the Consultants collecting their paychecks as they deliver yet another C&P loser.  

 

So ok, sure, a little small-c caution and small-p prudence won't hurt. But it's insidious.  It spreads easily to another C&P choice of candidate and another C&P campaign.  

 

The enemy is never C&P, and we're running out of time.  We must not cripple ourselves with it again.