Main Menu

Is Ben Carson being scrutinized more closely than Barack Obama was?

Some conservatives are whiners, no question about it. The latest whining comes from Ben Carson supporters complaining that their candidate is being scrutinized more closely that Barak Obama was. This is the kind of basic fairness argument that a child might make to wheedle something from a parent, but it’s hardly compelling in the rough-and-tumble world of politics. The right question is whether either of those two was scrutinized unfairly.

Carson is being scrutinized based on the evidence of what he said; Obama was not only scrutinized based on the evidence, but the evidence itself was scrutinized repeatedly. The criticism of Carson is fact-based while much of the criticism leveled at Obama was based on crackpot conspiracy theories in search of evidence that never materialized.

This blog and its 3,970 published articles is testimony to to the relentless onslaught against Barack Obama where every pixel of his life was examined from his birth certificate to bulges on his wife’s dress.

The difference between Obama and Carson is not one of scrutiny, but one of publicity. Despite the scrutiny given to Barack Obama, not much emerged that was newsworthy in the mainstream media. Sure some folks think that some true facts about Obama were more newsworthy than the attention they got, but people have different opinions on what is newsworthy, opinions tied to their biases.

It seems to this casual observer that Ben Carson has some low-hanging fruit on his personal tree that yields newsworthy items rather easily. It’s one thing for Obama to misspeak when tired or in a hurry. It’s another thing to misspeak in an edited book. Obama’s autobiography, Dreams from My Father, has some composite characters, and takes some license with the truth, but I do not find that it falsifies Obama’s achievements and Obama himself put a disclaimer at the beginning. Obama really was president of the Harvard Law Review, but Ben Carson really was not offered a scholarship to West Point.

When it comes to judging autobiographies, I am not all that strict. I’m willing to cut both Carson and Obama some slack. What really bothers me is the crazy stuff that Carson believes about science and history. I don’t expect a presidential candidate to know everything, but I expect candidates to know their limitations, and not go pontificating on topics about which they are clueless (e.g. the Pyramids of Egypt).

The White House responds:

‘I don’t agree with that statement,’ Press Secretary Josh Earnest said today, responding to Carson’s quip that his record is receiving more scrutiny than President Barack Obama’s and President Bill Clinton’s before that.

‘It’s not easy to run for president,’ Earnest said. ‘It shouldn’t be.’

Read more:

6 Responses to Is Ben Carson being scrutinized more closely than Barack Obama was?

  1. avatar
    Dave November 9, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

    The phrase “pontificating on topics about which they are clueless” reminds me of the late Sen. Ted Stevens, who chaired Commerce, Science, and Transportation when he delivered his now-famous speech on how the internet works.

  2. avatar
    Loren November 9, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    Obama’s autobiography, Dreams from My Father, has some composite characters, and takes some license with the truth, but I do not find that it falsifies Obama’s achievements.

    Additionally, Dreams included a disclaimer at the front admitting that some characters had been fictionalized, and that some events were presented out of chronological order.

    It’s hard to make serious allegations about dishonesty when the author acknowledges upfront that he’s taken liberties with the precise facts.

  3. avatar
    Joey November 9, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

    Dreams From My Father wasn’t marketed as an autobiography. It was marketed as a memoir.

    In some general contexts, a memoir and an autobiography can be used interchangeably. Amazon.com puts them in the same category. But there’s a key difference that publishers use to define each—the timeline covered in the writing.

    An autobiography focuses on the chronology of the writer’s entire life while a memoir covers one specific aspect of the writer’s life. So, if an author choses to write about their complete life up to a point in time—including growing up in Hawaii, their time in California and New York, the few years spent in Boston and eventually landing in Chicago—they’d write an autobiography. If someone wrote a book about their life speculating what impact their absent and now deceased father might have had on them if he had been a greater part of their life, they’d write a memoir.

  4. avatar
    Arthur B. November 9, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    When I hear someone complain that Candidate Obama was insufficiently vetted, I want to ask, what do we know about his past now that we didn’t know at the time of his first election?

  5. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) November 10, 2015 at 5:03 am #

    The latest whining comes from Ben Carson supporters complaining that their candidate is being scrutinized more closely that Barak Obama was.

    Ben Carson said so himself.

    Obviously another dog whistle as in “nobody really checked Obama’s background (y’know, he was born in Kenya) or he wouldn’t be President today”. Sometimes I wonder which white RW’er killed the real Ben Carson and wears his skin as a suit today. He sounds like Huckabee’s crazyness mixed with Trump’s birtherism.

  6. avatar
    donna November 10, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    Trevor Noah Calls Ben Carson’s Bluff, Proves Obama More Heavily Scrutinized Candidate

    Noah played a clip from a recent combative press conference in which Carson remarked, “I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama when he was running. In fact, I remember just the opposite.” The candidate added, “If you could show me where it’s happened with someone else, I would take that statement back.”

    “Hmm… so if we can show you where that’s happened with someone else, you will take that statement back?” Noah asked with a knowing twinkle in his eye. “Challenge accepted.”

    What followed was an impressively comprehensive supercut of some of the most damning media reports on candidate Barack Obama leading up to the 2008 election.

    “Yeah, so they vetted Obama to the point where they questioned that he was a legitimate, natural-born American citizen, but at least no one never accused Obama of not stabbing a guy,” Noah concluded. “He got off easy.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/11/10/trevor-noah-calls-ben-carson-s-bluff-proves-obama-got-way-more-scrutiny.html