Thursday Buzzfeed published an interview with Dr. Ben Carson, the retired surgeon and possible GOP candidate for president. The most surprising aspect of the interview wasn’t the content but the byline. The author is one of the reporters who, three months ago, leveled accusations of plagiarism at Carson involving his 2012 book America the Beautiful.
In January, Ilan Ben-Meir was one of three authors on a piece which uncovered evidence of plagiarism from several sources in Carson’s book. According to Buzzfeed, Carson did cite the source of the work in “many cases” but did not explain to readers that entire passages had been lifted from those sources verbatim. As an example, Carson’s book used the lines, “Socialism is an old dream. Some dreams are nightmares when put into practice.” Those sentences and nearly two paragraphs that preceded them were taken from a website called socialismsucks.net.
A few days later, Carson apologized for the errors in a statement to Buzzfeed saying, “I attempted to appropriately cite and acknowledge all sources in America the Beautiful, but inadvertently missed some. I apologize, and I am working with my editors to rectify the situation.”
Apparently all was forgiven as Carson granted Ilan Ben-Meir a “wide-ranging” interview this week. Topics discussed included the Iran deal, the police shooting in South Carolina, and of course his views on gay rights. On this last point, Carson responded to Ben-Meir’s questions about his position with a question of his own: “What position can a person who believes in traditional marriage, between one man and one woman, have, who has absolutely no animosity or opposition to gay people – what position can they take that would be satisfactory to the gay community?”
Ben-Meir notes that Buzzfeed’s interview comes after Dr. Carson’s appearance before a, presumably, hostile audience in New York—a speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
Perhaps Dr. Carson’s spirit of conciliatory outreach to critics was the right one in this case. Despite some challenging questions about the aforementioned issues, Ben-Meir chose not to mention his own prior plagiarism scoop in the new piece.