Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal raises questions about Dr. Ben Carson

Ben Carson Makes Announcement About Seeking Republican Presidential NominationDr. Ben Carson has been selling his personal story in books and speeches for 25 years on the conservative media entertainment complex circuit.

Apparently during all that time, no one ever questioned his stories or attempted to fact check them.

Now that Carson is a candidate for president of the United States, he believes that the political media should be just as non-questioning as the rubes on  the conservative media entertainment complex circuit, and not fact check what he says.

This political neophyte, who has never held political office at any level and who has no experience as a candidate, clearly does not understand nor accept how our political system works. Like it or not, the role of the media is to vet candidates for president by examining every minute detail of their life and fact checking what they say. Ben Carson blaming the media and ‘secular progressives’ for mini-scandals just doesn’t cut it. Welcome to the big leagues, doctor.

Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal is raising more questions about the tales that Carson tells and does not want to be scrutinized by the media. Ben Carson’s Past Faces Deeper Questions:

Mr. Carson’s biography, a rise from poverty to become a top neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University, is central to his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Now, his story—told in nine books and countless inspirational speeches over the past 25 years—has come under the harsh scrutiny of presidential politics, where rivals and media hunt for embellishments and omissions that can hobble a campaign.

The threat to the Carson candidacy is that the inconsistencies or hard-to-check anecdotes, which were told long before he ever considered a presidential run, will put off voters only now getting to know him.

Mr. Carson’s campaign manager, Barry Bennett, said Friday there was “no evidence” that any aspect of Mr. Carson’s biography wasn’t true. “There’s no facts saying they are not true. We are guilty until proven innocent,” he said. “You have no reason to believe that they are not true. There’s no evidence to point to the fact that they are even questionable.”

In his 1990 autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” Mr. Carson writes of a Yale psychology professor who told Mr. Carson, then a junior, and the other students in the class—identified by Mr. Carson as Perceptions 301—that their final exam papers had “inadvertently burned,” requiring all 150 students to retake it. The new exam, Mr. Carson recalled in the book, was much tougher. All the students but Mr. Carson walked out.

“The professor came toward me. With her was a photographer for the Yale Daily News who paused and snapped my picture,” Mr. Carson wrote. “ ‘A hoax,’ the teacher said. ‘We wanted to see who was the most honest student in the class.’ ” Mr. Carson wrote that the professor handed him a $10 bill.

No photo identifying Mr. Carson as a student ever ran, according to the Yale Daily News archives, and no stories from that era mention a class called Perceptions 301. Yale Librarian Claryn Spies said Friday there was no psychology course by that name or class number during any of Mr. Carson’s years at Yale.

[UPDATE: Ben Carson’s Psychology Test Story Gets Even Weirder: Ben Carson says it really happened, and the proof is a piece from the Yale Daily News about a parody issue of the News published by the Yale Record. Carson’s account is substantially different from the parody. He remembered the hoax, and then embellished it considerably to turn it into a testimony to the power of God.]

In books and speeches, Mr. Carson has said he hated living in poverty, vowed to grow rich, and lashed out in anger at others until a religious transformation at age 14.

When CNN sent reporters to his former neighborhood in Detroit to verify Mr. Carson’s stories of violence, including attempting to stab a boy in the stomach, none who knew Mr. Carson as a youth recalled any such trouble. Instead, most of Mr. Carson’s former friends and neighbors remember him much as he is today: soft-spoken and studious.

[CNN Politics Investigates: A Tale of Two Carsons. Carson said Thursday that the names of two people he has previously identified as victims of his childhood violence are “fictitious.” Ben Carson: Names of some childhood victims are ‘fictitious’. “Why would you be able to find them? What makes you think you would be able to find them, unless I tell you who they are?” Carson said.]

In his 1996 book, “Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence,” Mr. Carson identified the boy as a friend named “Bob.” Mr. Carson told Fox News on Thursday the boy was actually a “close relative.” Mr. Carson said, “I’ve never used the true names of people in books.”

Also disputed in a report Friday by Politico: Mr. Carson’s assertion, first raised in the 1990 book, that he turned down a “scholarship” offer from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point—though the academy is free to those accepted. Mr. Bennett said Friday that Mr. Carson was offered a “nomination” to West Point but never applied.

“Lying, I believe, is a grave sin and there’s just no way that I would be sitting here lying about something like this,” Mr. Carson said Friday on Fox News.

[Carson angrily accused Politico of a “witch hunt” for questioning his account. Reuters reports, Ben Carson’s West Point, youth recollections come under question:

Carson’s campaign said on Friday that his grades and conversations with officials of the ROTC, which provides preliminary military training for students interested in becoming officers, constituted a de facto acceptance to the academy, which provides full scholarships to all of its students. But it said Carson never actually applied.

[There is no such thing as a de facto acceptance. Application to the Academies requires a Candidate Questionnaire and normally a nomination from a U.S. Senator or Congressman, and a battery of examinations. See West Point Steps to Admissions. “Each year, more than 10,000 candidates open files for admission to West Point, but only about 4,000 receive nominations.“]

“His Senior Commander was in touch with West Point and told Dr. Carson he could get in, Dr. Carson did not seek admission,” Carson’s campaign spokesman Doug Watts told Reuters in an email.

“He never said he was admitted or even applied,” Watts said.

West Point on Friday said there was no record of Carson completing an application for admission. It is possible someone nominated him for the academy, but that would only have been an early step in the admission process.

West Point spokeswoman Theresa Brinkerhoff, in an email to Reuters, said that files of candidates who did not seek admission are kept for only three years. “Therefore we cannot confirm whether anyone during that time period was nominated to West Point if they chose not to pursue completion of the application process,” she said.

General William Westmoreland died in 2005.]

[Politico has since changed the caption of the original report, but stands by its reporting. Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point ‘scholarship’ but never applied:

Editor’s note: POLITICO stands by its reporting on this story, which has been updated to reflect Ben Carson’s on the record response. The original story and headline said that Carson’s campaign had admitted he “fabricated” a “full scholarship” from West Point, but now Carson denies that his campaign’s statement constituted such an admission, and the story and headline were changed to reflect that. POLITICO’s reporting established that Carson said he received a “full scholarship” from West Point, in writing and in public appearances over the years — but in fact he did not and there is actually no such thing as a “full scholarship” to the taxpayer-funded academy. And today in response to POLITICO he acknowledged for the first time that was not the case. Carson never explicitly wrote that he had applied for admission to West Point, although that was the clear implication of his claim to have received an offer of a “full scholarship,” a point that POLITICO’s initial report should have made clear.]

Last month, Mr. Carson said in a radio interview that, as a young doctor, he had a gun stuck in his ribs at a Popeye’s restaurant in Baltimore near Johns Hopkins University. “A guy comes in and puts a gun in my ribs. And I just said, ‘I believe that you want the guy behind the counter,’” Mr. Carson said. “He said, ‘Oh, okay.’” The Baltimore Police Department later said it couldn’t find a report matching the incident Mr. Carson described.

In response to a question at a recent GOP presidential debate, Mr. Carson said he “didn’t have an involvement” with Mannatech Inc., a multilevel marketing company that sells nutritional supplements, and called any suggestion to the contrary “propaganda.” Mr. Carson, who has taken the company’s products, appeared in videos that could until recently be found on Mannatech’s website, including two filmed in 2013 and styled like commercials.

[Carson said the Mannatech controversy was a “submarine” sent by a rival campaign. But hs business manager later admitted that Carson had a contract with Mannatech. Top Staffer Acknowledges Ben Carson Had ‘Contract’ With Supplement Maker (Video). Dr. Ben Carson’s business manager acknowledged Thursday that the Republican presidential candidate did have a “contract” with a medical supplement company at some point. Armstrong Williams told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he negotiated the retired neurosurgeon’s contract himself.]

Mr. Carson also has given four paid speeches at Mannatech gatherings; the proceeds from three went to a Carson-affiliated charity. Mannatech settled false-advertising charges with Texas in 2009.

One reason that Mr. Carson’s stories are difficult to check is that he navigated the turbulent times of his young adulthood without leaving much of a trace.

* * *

Mr. Carson was assigned to Davenport College, a four-story brick dormitory. . . Yet, when other students discussed politics and their changing world over meals in the cafeteria, Mr. Carson rarely spoke up, according to interviews with more than 50 Davenport College dorm residents of that era.

“He made no impression on you at all, other than a cheerful smile and a ‘Hello,’” said Ron Taylor, one of seven black students in the Davenport class of 1973.

4 responses to “Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal raises questions about Dr. Ben Carson

  1. Frances Perkins

    This type of digging has been going on since Jefferson was accused of having “dusky Sally”, as his mistress when he was a widower. Likely true of course, but someone is going to dig into your story, that’s what happens.

  2. “Like it or not, the role of the media is to vet candidates for president by examining every minute detail of their life and fact checking what they say.”

    Unless that candidates name is Obama.

    • Joe Weirather

      Obama was vetted and fact checked. The only remaining problem is that some people don’t like or agree with the results.

      • Strange… I don’t remember reading a story in Politico with the title “Obama Lied About Family’s Military Service” or “Obama Fabricates Selma Story” or “Obama and His Mother Were NOT Abandoned by Father in 1963 As He Claimed” or “In ‘Dreams from My Father,’ Obama Lied About Relationship With Genevieve Cook” or “Obama Lied About Mother’s Health Insurance Problem” or “Obama Overstates Kennedys’ Role in Helping His Father”. Don’t remember any of those stories Joe. If you could provide links to those Politico stories it would be appreciated.