Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, under increased scrutiny over his personal background this week, defended himself with a forceful attack the media.
“What happened to investigative reporting?” Carson asked “Face The Nation” host John Dickerson during an appearance Sunday.
“It seems to me like some of the people who do these investigations are not very good investigators.”
In interviews over the weekend, Carson has repeatedly rebuffed questions over whether he has exaggerated stories about his past.
Reports over the past several days have raised questions about a series of Carson’s statements about his youth. He has said that he was offered a scholarship to West Point, but the US military institution never offered him formal admission. CNN was unable to verify claims about his supposedly violent teenage years. And The Wall Street Journal looked at unverified claims about Carson being voted the “most honest” in a psychology course at Yale.
“For people that try to take this and twist it and make it seem like something dishonest, that seems like dishonesty itself,” Carson told Dickerson, two days after he charged at a press conference that the reports were a “bunch of lies.”
Carson — who said Sunday that he would release a Yale student newspaper article in the coming days that would validate his “most honest” anecdote — said repeatedly that no other presidential candidate has been scrutinised by the press as heavily as him.
“I have never seen this before and many other people who are politically experienced tell me they have never seen it before either,” Carson said in a taped interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday, when asked if he thought he was being vetted too heavily.
Separately, he said on CBS: “There’s no question I’m getting special scrutiny. Because, you know, there are a lot of people are very threatened, and then, you know, they have seen the recent head-to-head polling against Hillary and how well I do. And, you know, they’re worried. There is no question about it.”
Some fellow GOP hopefuls, like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), have defended Carson amid the intense scrutiny. Others, like fellow front-running candidate Donald Trump, have cast their own implicit doubts.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Trump suggested he was sceptical about one Carson claim about his childhood — that he tried to stab a friend when he was 14, but the knife broke on his friend’s belt buckle.
“Hitting your mother over the head with a hammer, when you talk about hitting a friend in the face with a padlock, when you talk about stabbing someone and it got stopped by a belt buckle — which, you know, belt buckles really pretty much don’t stop stabbings. They turn and twist, and things slide off them,” Trump said. “It’s pretty lucky if that happened.”
It’s unclear what effect the scrutiny will have on Carson’s standing in the race. Republican candidates have used the media as a punching bag for great rhetorical effect on the campaign trail.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), for instance, delivered one of the most memorable moments of the campaign when he slammed the CNBC moderators during the third Republican presidential debate. Trump has made his criticism of the “mainstream media” a part of his stump speech, and he has deflected controversy from a plethora of angles.
For its part, on Saturday, the Carson campaign said it had raked in a massive fundraising haul thanks to the attention he had received in the media.
We the People have made 10,000 donations each day this week, raising $US3.5M this week alone. Thank you biased media.
— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) November 7, 2015
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