Among a slew of media sources on Friday trying to cast doubt on Dr. Ben Carson’s claims that early in life he turned himself around from a violence-prone childhood, CNN published a piece on Carson that seemed to downplay facts that would substantiate his claims.
In a long piece on Carson, meant as a companion to an interview published on Friday, CNN seemed to downplay admissions by one of Carson’s friends that he had heard rumors of Carson’s troubled youth.
Many media outlets have been attempting to poke holes in Dr. Carson’s claims that as a very young man he was prone to violence. In particular is Carson’s oft-repeated story that he tried to stab a friend and were it not for the teenager’s heavy belt buckle, the knife that Carson was using as a weapon would have caused serious damage. It was after that incident that Carson says he set his mind to turn his life away from violence.
On Friday, CNN also reported on Carson’s claims. “At the core of his narrative of spiritual redemption are his acts of violence as an angry young man,” CNN reported.
But, just as with the other outlets, CNN also tried to poke holes in Carson’s claims of youthful violence. CNN went on to say that “nine friends, classmates and neighbors who grew up with Carson told CNN they have no memory of the anger or violence the candidate has described.”
Still, in its piece on Carson, CNN interviewed one Jerry Dixon, a junior high and high school classmate of Carson’s, who essentially substantiated Carson’s claims that he turned his life around early in life by telling the cable channel that he heard rumors of the incident.
CNN asked Dixon directly “whether he knew of Carson’s claim that he had once stabbed a friend in the waist.” According to the cable news network, “Dixon said he had heard talk about an incident like that back in those days, but didn’t know ‘if it was just a rumor or what’ and couldn’t provide any further detail.”
So, on one hand, CNN spends paragraph after paragraph trying to knock holes in Carson’s story, but then downplays a Carson friend who substantiated the claim.
It caused Breitbart’s John Nolte to question the tactic:
— John Nolte (@NolteNC) November 6, 2015
All this comes on the same day that Politico got in trouble for publishing a misleading piece attacking the veracity of another story about Dr. Ben Carson’s youth.
Politico initially published a story leading readers to believe that Dr. Carson lied about going to—or considering going to—West Point when he was in high school.
But almost immediately, Politico’s story began to fall apart, and by that afternoon, the outlet had to rewrite its headline to dump its charge that Carson was “fabricating” his story about West Point.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.