Carson’s Attack On Media Describes Himself: ‘They’re Always Going Off Into These Tangents’
Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson used his stage time at the Values Voter Summit on Friday to address remarks he made last weekend about whether or not a Muslim could become President of the United States. Despite his best efforts, however, the good doctor’s clarification turned into an attack on the media that could very well be used against his entire VVS address.
During the GOP front-runner’s interview with Meet the Press‘ Chuck Todd last Sunday, the subject of whether or not a potential president’s faith matters. “If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter,” said Carson. “But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem.” When Todd asked whether or not Islam was consistent with the constitution, Carson answered: “No, I do not. I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Everyone from fellow GOP candidate Ted Cruz to Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders lambasted the comments. As our own Alex Griswold pointed out, Carson’s own faith would prevent most Americans from voting for him per his professed guidelines. Guidelines he affirmed to Sean Hannity when he argued that no one whose faith might “interfere” with their duties should become president, regardless of religious affiliation.
Yet Carson was ridiculed throughout the week for his comments’ probable implications — that no Muslim should ever be allowed to become president. So he used his time at the VVS to explain himself:
About a third of the way through his address, Carson concluded his attack on the media with what he thinks “the big problem with the media” is: “They’re always, you know, going off into these tangents because they don’t want to talk about the real issues.”
Interestingly enough, the time he spent railing against the media et al., which began before CNN’s clip, started with a tangent. Carson was discussing immigration and, following a round of applause from the audience, randomly began discussing his recent media appearances: “I’ve already done some interviews today, which you’ll be seeing on television over the next couple days. I just am so tickled with the media. I mean, these guys, they just don’t get it, you know?”
Following another brief cheer from the crowd, Carson’s own tangent became an attack on the media (and hyper-political correctness) for latching onto his Meet the Press comments.
“The interesting thing is the media is the only business in America protected by the United States constitution. There was a reason that they were protected. It was because they were supposed to be on the side of the people. They weren’t supposed to pick and choose which side they were on, because that distorts the entire system. We should hope and pray that one day they come to understand that if the nation goes off the cliff, they’re going off with it. Maybe they will wake up and begin to understand what’s going on.”
Carson is right to take the media — or at least specific members of the media — to task for reporting his initial comments in a certain manner. As he told the crowd, “one commentator” (i.e. Todd) kept pressing the point, asking whether or not he thought a Muslim could be president. Carson tried to refer to his original statement, but commentator kept pressing.
“I said, ‘Anybody from any faith, from any belief system who comes to America — becomes an American citizen, embraces our American values and principles and is willing to subjugate their beliefs to our Constitution — is somebody I have no problem with.’ But he then comes back and says, ‘Yeah, but what about a Muslim, in the context of maybe somebody who didn’t fit in that category?'”
“Anybody who doesn’t fit in that category — I don’t care who they are — they can be a Christian,” said Carson. “If they don’t fit in that category, I’m not going to advocate that they be president of the United States. It’s as simple as that.”
Having a person ignore a previous statement and press for something else is annoying, no doubt. On the other hand, so is playing a little game of “do as I say and not as I do” in the national spotlight. Which is precisely what Carson did on Friday when he ridiculed the media for preferring its tangents to the “real issues” — while going off on his own tangent.
In a speech that rambles on for 20 minutes, Carson does precisely that. It is a very, very meta moment to watch, especially since he doesn’t even realize that he’s doing it. Then again, such knowledge wouldn’t be all that helpful in the heat of the moment anyways, because the VVS crowd’s cheers kept Carson going the whole time.
At one point, he joked: “I sound like Donald Trump.”
Check out the clips above, via CNN.
[Image via screengrab]
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