Opinion: The Ben Carson ‘gaffe’ that wasn’t, or why people hate the media

Sometime Thursday, my Twitter feed started lighting up about an embarrassing phrase uttered by Ben Carson, Donald Trump’s nominee to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development. It was “Freudian,” “telling,” “cringe-worthy,” or merely “unfortunate,” among other things. Google the phrase “Ben Carson gaffe” and you get a number of results informing you he goofed. It may have even been “the greatest gaffe in political history.”

"You people have got to be kidding me."  (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

“You people have got to be kidding me.” (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

I wondered what he could have possibly said to provoke those reactions. Reportedly, it was the he would not “do anything that would benefit any American.” Uh … oops? How could he have possibly said something so dense, even unintentionally?

Well, the answer is: He didn’t.

Not only did he not say that, he didn’t really come close to saying it. To assert that he did requires one not only to ignore the entire context of what he was saying, but to ignore part of what he actually said.

If you’re interested in what Carson really said, I have it for you right here. It came toward the end of this part of his exchange with Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

Get that? Right between “anything to benefit any” and “any American” (yes, he repeated “any”) there’s an audible “p” sound — like the beginning of the word “particular.” How do I know it was “particular”? Because he goes on to say the whole word at the end of the sentence. Accurately transcribed, his entire phrase is:

“It will not be my intention to do anything to benefit any part- — any American, (in) particular.”

How do I further know that’s what he said? Let me count the ways:

1. He had previously said, as part of his initial answer to this line of questioning, “I will absolutely not play favorites for anyone.” That clearly indicated the point he was trying to make.

2. He immediately followed up the phrase in question by saying, “It’s for all Americans, anything that we do.” That clarified the point he was trying to make.

3. The immediate response from Warren to the phrase in question was, “I understand that.” And after he said that second sentence, she immediately continued with her questioning. She knew exactly what he had said, and the point he was trying to make.

If they’re being honest, I suspect, so do the people trying to claim Carson inadvertently revealed his intention to screw the American people, or something. This is the lamest version of click-bait, fake news, whatever you want to call it. Actually, it’s worse than that: It’s a willful misrepresentation of the truth, in order to get a few clicks — and, just maybe, to bring someone they don’t particularly like down a peg or two.

Why does this matter? Because it’s exactly the kind of crap that people in 2016 grew sick of. It’s the kind of crap that makes people not only forgive Trump for his attacks on the media but actually gravitate toward him. It’s also the kind of crap that gives Trump and his team an example to repeatedly drag back out when they want to claim the media are biased against them, even regarding stories that are critical but actually fair and true. See also: The deeply irresponsible publishing by Buzzfeed this week of the alleged “dossier” against Trump which they admitted was unverified.

Just stop it already.

Reader Comments 0

405 comments
skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

Greetings on MLK day from the  Trump Free Fifth district of Georgia. Too bad Johnny I. showed up to show his sorry face at the MLK Jr. service today. He could not even lambast the Clown-elect for his comments about Atlanta. Shameful.

breckenridge
breckenridge

"This administration is going to have more conservative Christians, Catholic and evangelical, in it than any administration that I’ve been associated with or had contact with, and I’ve been doing this since Reagan.”  Richard Land, social conservative radical activist, 1-15-2017

Richard Land, like any American that wants to legislate his religious beliefs, is a filthy traitor that sucks manure through a garden hose.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@breckenridge  Any little twerp who can't grasp the fact that it was Christian values that built this great Republic needs to vacate our country or they'll be miserable human beings for the rest of their pathetic lives.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@bu22  Trump's cabinet picks turned me to support a guy who wasn't my first pick either.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I said it before and I say it again, Trump has already freed America, now it is time to free the black people.


From the democrats.


We can do this, Don.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Eye wonder @AndyManUSA#45 You think he's already gone down in flames with the truth being that he's already buried the democrat party up to it's neck and is preparing to slather on some honey.


What's our parameters here?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

liberals who brag on Atlanta must think that drug use, prostitution and crime are like hitting the daily triple.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

It may come as a surprise but some of us have actually been in Georgia's 5th Congressional District and think that Trump hit the nail on the head. Maybe those who live in the Buckhead section don't see any need for improvements but the remaining 90% of the population most likely disagrees. And what a helluva way to help them out, act like there is nothing wrong with neighborhoods you probably wouldn't even venture into. You liberals are the worst of the worst. And your biggest fear is that Trump comes to the rescue of those that you politically enslave.


And I'm going to make sure that he does just that.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@AndyManUSA#45

LOL. You're hilarious, IReport. If this full time blogging thing doesn't work out for you, you should give stand up comedy a shot!

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Eye wonder @AndyManUSA#45 Would you like to meet on Bankhead Highway and discuss this?


Aahahahahahahahaha


I'd bet you wouldn't go down there even in broad daylight.


Trump will.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Just think, in 4 more days the liberals will be able to talk about the homeless again. 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

In four more days, America will have a fascist ruler and its most illegitimate president by far.

Facts

bu22
bu22

@Eye wonder No, Hillary lost the election.  You aren't going to change that.

breckenridge
breckenridge

"I am recovering from a health challenge that I trust God to deliver me from." Bishop Eddie Long, January 2nd, 2017

Yeah how did that work out for you.......

Caius
Caius

There are enough fiscal liberals, both Demos and Repubs, to allow Trump to get most of his agenda through congress.  Trillion for infrastructure, trillion for health care,  trillion for tax cuts and trillions for defense to "rebuild" the military.  Liberals are in for a field day.


breckenridge
breckenridge

@Caius 

Does the wall down on the southern border, which will be completely ineffective, count as infrastructure?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Trump warned Republicans that if the party splinters or slows his agenda, he is ready to use the power of the presidency — and Twitter — to usher his legislation to passage.



“The Congress can’t get cold feet because the people will not let that happen,” Trump said during the interview with The Post.


Fact.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-vows-insurance-for-everybody-in-obamacare-replacement-plan/2017/01/15/5f2b1e18-db5d-11e6-ad42-f3375f271c9c_story.html?utm_term=.efc13dc71504

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Great game and it will probably be a shoot out between Ryan and Rogers in Atlanta. Go Falcons.

Doom clasical lib
Doom clasical lib


I'm lovin prog butthurt from this whole Trump thing. Nothing gives me more pleasure than watching progs squirm when you pretend to support Trump. I can't see any good coming from his coming reign of terror but the prog meltdown make Doom happy it do. BWAHAHAHAHAHA

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Well, well, next week, for the first time in my life, I'm a Falcons fan.


Puck the fackers.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Really sad to see the rank and file Democrats held captive by an ideology that leads otherwise intelligent people around by the nose. The Democrat party has degenerated into a party subversive to the traditional American values that made this country the greatest in the world. Lets ignore this blight on our Republic and restore American greatness.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit It is sad to see someone, who has at least the intelligence to submit comments to a blog, to write such drivel as SGTGrit does above and elsewhere.

 

Starik
Starik

@MarkVV @SGTGrit Traditional American values have deteriorated to the point that we elect draft dodgers as President and have a very expensive all volunteer military.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Starik @MarkVV @SGTGrit Traditional American values have deteriorated to the point that we elect draft dodgers as President and have a very expensive all volunteer military.

The problem with arguing with “traditional American value” is that the definition of them is “in the eyes of the beholder,” and therefore inherently useless as an argument. “Traditional American values” have changed substantially over the years, and people opposing the changes often use that term to resist any kind of progress.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @MarkVV @SGTGrit  America has had the ability to deal with and resolve its issues internally without outside foreign intervention in our affairs since the beginning of our nation. Of course Mark is either too young or too ignorant to understand our history.

bu22
bu22

@MarkVV @Starik @SGTGrit Well I think most Americans still think a man in power shouldn't cheat on his wife while at work with a 19 year old White House intern.