Sick and tired of defending himself against the media, Ben Carson is turning the conversation back around on his attackers—and with the perfect amount of irony, he called out the dishonesty of the media at the National Press Club.
Since that speech, Carson has taken further opportunities to address the partisanship of the press, a campaign that was largely provoked by the way the media sensationalized his comments after the October 1st shooting at Umpqua Community College. Looking back at this controversial interview in light of Carson’s new crusade against media bias, it is clear that this outsider presidential candidate is getting at a larger goal: maintaining identity.
His comments about the Umpqua shooting reveal that Carson is first trying to salvage the identity of individual Americans. As he pointed out in his National Press Club speech, the media only reported Carson’s comment that he probably would not go to visit the community after the shooting if they didn’t want him to be there.
Taken out of context, his response sounded cold and heartless. However, juxtaposed with the question on Obama’s visit to the community in order to push his gun control agenda, Carson’s comments were concerned with respecting the grief, dignity, and identity of the individuals.
“Isn’t this about the people? This whole country, of for and by the people? The poor families of those individuals had to be hurting so badly,” Carson said.
In response, Carson declared #IamAChristian on Twitter in order to give support to the families and the nation. His second concern is with the identity of the United States.
“I believe that this nation has Judeo Christian roots,” he told “Fox and Friends,” “and why are we so busy trying to give those away for the sake of political correctness? You know, when you give away your identity you give away your soul. We can’t give away who we are and what we stand for and what our vision is.”
Unlike another candidate who will use the country’s frustration against political correctness for the sake of being able to say anything he wants, Carson sacrifices political correctness for protecting what he sees as the identity of the nation.
Finally, Carson is concerned with maintaining his own identity. In an interview with Breitbart News, Carson told the host that he expected attacks from the media “because they can’t stand the thought of a black person who is a conservative, who hasn’t had to make it on their handout and be at their beck and call and doing the things that they want them to do. It just infuriates them.”
Instead of rejecting political correctness as the license to say anything about anyone, Carson rejects political correctness as a trap of insincerity that allows the media to categorize and characterize people according to a certain ideology.
Carson draws hope from being targeted in this way, however. “Because I fly in the face of the secular progressive ideology,” he says, “I expect them to continue to attack me constantly. The only thing they don’t seem to be bright enough to realize is that the more they attack me, the stronger I get. People expect them to do that.”
So what is Carson’s solution for Americans? Have courage—the willingness to stand up in the face of a mocking press, or in the face of a terrorist gunman.
Anna Pfaff works for American Principles in Action.