Carson: Fact-checking or dirt digging?


Despite Ben Carson’s quiet and often soft-spoken demeanor, according to his book “Gifted Hands,” he had a troubled and violent childhood growing up in the city of Detroit.

Recently several news organizations, including CNN, have begun “digging up dirt” on the Republican candidate, with Carson’s claim of a rough childhood at the center of the coverage.

As candidates are running for the highest and most powerful position in the United States and perhaps the world, it is expected that old skeletons will be hunted down and taken out of the candidates’ closets. But is there a point of going too far?

Despite Carson’s public claims of his troubled childhood, as well as those mentioned in his book, CNN has assigned a journalist to investigate Carson’s claims and has reached out to past neighbors and childhood friends of Carson in the hopes of either validating or invalidating Carson’s story.

Carson has often spoken about a particular incident during his childhood in which he tried to stab a friend with a knife over a disagreement about a radio.  The journalist assigned to investigate Carson’s story has been researching the candidate in regards to his claims for the past month and CNN has asked Carson to aid the network in finding witnesses who saw the stabbing attempt as well as the victim of the attack.

Carson has declined to provide CNN with these names and for some news reporters Carson’s unwillingness to help raises further suspicion of whether or not his claims of his childhood are true. Perhaps Carson is not willing to provide the names of witnesses or the victim of his attack, not to hide the truth, but to protect the lives and privacy of those involved.

Every candidate running for president has had their lives turned upside down and scrutinized from what they wear to what they wrote in their high school newspaper 30 years ago. I think Carson is making the right decision not to provide CNN with the names of witnesses or the victim to protect them from the harsh and often unforgiving spotlight of public opinion and news media.

Carson is not alone when it comes to news networks “digging up dirt” and publicly scrutinizing his past. Recently, several news organizations, in addition to Donald Trump, have called out Marco Rubio for his personal use of a credit card that was only to be used for political purposes relating to the Republican Party. CNN has went as far as to list out the date, location, and exact dollar amounts used for personal use.

I do think that this information is pertinent for the American public to be aware of as it pertains to Rubio’s misuse of a professionally provided credit card. However, as illustrated with Ben Carson, I do think that sometimes the media can cross the line between fact-checking and digging for dirt.