Politico’s Wild Hit Piece on Ben Carson

A false headline on Ben Carson has now been quietly toned down after doing as much damage as possible.

In case you were wondering, the media is not giving up on its smear campaign against Ben Carson. Yesterday’s outrage against truth came from Kyle Cheney at Politico with the headline, “Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship.” It has since been toned down without notice or apology.

Mollie Hemingway responded at The Federalist with the headline, “Politico Admits Fabricating A Hit Piece On Ben Carson.”

Now, as for Kyle Cheney’s concession that he fabricated his piece on Carson. He didn’t. That’s how I’m interpreting his decision to stealthily edit his piece to remove much of the error. But Ben Carson didn’t “admit” or “concede” to fabrication and he’s been tarred by Cheney as if he had. So I’ll keep the headline.

The original story was a mess:

There were at least five major problems with the story:

  • The headline was completely false
  • The subhead was also completely false
  • The opening paragraph was false false false
  • The substance of the piece was missing key exonerating information
  • The article demonstrated confusion about service academy admissions and benefits

But other than that, A+++ work, Kyle Cheney and Politico.

The strategy seemed to involve ascribing certain claims to Ben Carson and then, when those claims were denied by the campaign, interpreting that denial as an admission of a “fabrication.” In this case, Carson was accused of claiming he applied to West Point when that is not what he said. Thus, denying he applied did not constitute an admission of fabricating the story.

Ben Carson’s campaign did not “admit” that a central point in his story “was fabricated.” Quite the opposite. The central point of the story is falsely described by Cheney/Politico as being that he applied and was accepted at West Point. Carson, in fact, has repeatedly claimed not to have applied. So any claim regarding the absence of West Point records of such an application would not debunk Carson’s point. And, again, Carson’s campaign never “conceded” the story was false at least in part because the story, as characterized by Politico, is not one he told. 

We can expect many more such attacks while Carson stays ahead in the polls.