Condescending CNN Anchor to Ben Carson: ‘Was U.S. a Communist Country Before Fox News?’
Dr. Ben Carson: “We’d be Cuba if there were no Fox News.”
Surging Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson had a contentious interview Friday morning with CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota on the New Day morning show.
At one point Camerota, a former Fox anchor, condescendingly asked Carson if he thought America was a communist country before Fox News started dominating cable news in 2001 after she brought up a quote by Carson from a speech given last year, reported by Mother Jones, saying, “We’d be Cuba if there were no Fox News.”
Before talking about the Fox comment, Camerota went after Dr. Carson for another quote from the same speech in which he said many Americans are “stupid.” In context, Carson was saying the American people overall are smarter than the leftist elites think they are, but that there are many who are smart.
“They can twist and turn things as much as they want. But what they don’t understand—and they miscalculated. They were doing a great job in terms of fundamentally changing this nation. In terms of infiltrating the school systems. In terms of infiltrating the media. All of this—they’ve done a great job. Everything was perfect. Except they underestimated the intelligence of the American people. The people are not as stupid as they think they are. Many of them are stupid. Okay. But I’m talking about overall.”
Camerota introduced the Fox comment when Carson brought up that she used to work at Fox. Carson was exasperated at Camerota for trying to “put words in (his) mouth”, saying to her:
“I can’t believe that you used to work on Fox and you’ve turned into that, I can’t believe it.”
Camerota played the clip of Carson saying, “We’d be Cuba if there were no Fox News.”
“Even if all the media tries to shut you down—which they have tried very much to do with me. Uh, but they can’t because the good Lord has provided me with mechanisms like my syndicated column and like Fox News. We’d be com…, we’d be Cuba if there were no Fox News.”
Carson fought back against Camerota, eventually taking control of the interview segment and explaining what he meant in a concise evisceration of CNN.
Camerota: …”Now as you point out I did work at work Fox for many years and I do have many friends there still who are excellent journalists. But I’m not sure that even they think that without their reporting that we would be Cuba. You mean that if Fox News didn’t exist we would be a communist country?
Carson: “No. Again, there you go with sensationalism, that’s what you try to do. And, and you hope that somehow that will resonate with people who don’t think for themselves.”
Camerota: “Dr. Carson, you said it. I’m actually quoting you.”
Carson: “People are actually a lot smarter than you think they are. They’re a lot smarter and they know exactly what I’m talking about.”
Camerota: “Dr. Carson, I’m actually quoting, I’m not quoting you, I’m playing your words. You are the person who said it, that ‘there are a lot of people who are stupid’; and that’ without Fox News we would be Cuba.’
Carson: “So, are you, are you honestly telling me that you didn’t know what I was talking about when I said that? Do you honest…are you, honestly telling me that? Because if you are, you might fit in that category.”
Camerota: “Dr. Carson, I really don’t know what you’re talking about. Fox News came to dominance in two-thousand-and-one. Do you think before two-thousand-and-one the U.S. was a communist country?”
Carson: “That’s not what I said, but that’s what you guys love to do. Why do you do that? What I’m saying…”
Camerota: “So, Dr. Carson…”
Carson: “Listen. Let me explain it to you.”
Carson: “What I am saying is that the general mainstream media all seems to move in the secular progressive direction. And you know, they would like to create the narrative that certain things are good, certain things are bad according to the way that they see them. And by being able to be the bully pulpit so to speak and to be the only voice that’s out there you can get a lot of people to start thinking the way that you do.
“Now along comes Fox News and presents an alternative a different way of thinking. And if we didn’t have that counter-balance–I wish we didn’t need that counter-balance–because the way it’s supposed to work is that the media is supposed to be neutral and they’re supposed to be on the side of the people and that is the reason that they are the only businesses protected by the United States constitution.
“But because they have become very partisan and very ideological you need to have a counter-balance and that’s what I mean having Fox come in to counter-balance what you’ve done. Some others have come in and joined since that time and it’s good that they have but it’s unfortunate that that has to happen.”
(Transcribed by Kristinn Taylor)
CNN posted an excerpt of the exchange on a video clip on Twitter:
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 6, 2015
The complete exchange was posted by Mediaite.
Carson has come under scrutiny by CNN this week over claims made in his autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” that he had a violent temper in his youth.