If Brian Williams Misremembered, Then So Did Ben Carson!

ben carson

Liberals attack Ben Carson because they think he might actually have a shot at the presidency. Brian Williams misremembered. So Carson could’ve, too. Right? Commentary by Jason Dias.

jason-dias-anewdomain-amazon-kindleaNewDomain — Ben Carson says all kinds of crap that isn’t true.

But is he a liar?

That depends. Is MSNBC’s Brian Williams?

Let’s revisit Williams for a moment. Remember, he got ousted from his network anchorman job last year over a statement he made about being on a chopper hit by enemy fire in Iraq. Never happened. Now there is more than one way to lie — and there is more than one reason to.

Was this a complete fabrication, or the slow escalation of a story from truth to falsehood for more innocent reasons – like incremental positive reinforcement that literally changed the way he remembered the truth

I figure it was more or less of a political hatchet job. He had too buddy-buddy a relationship with Jon Stewart, maybe. At any rate, the conservative media burned him up. There was an investigation, and he got some unexpected time off. Now he’s at MSNBC.

nbc-nightly-news-with-brian-williamsWe all tell lies, even lies like that one. Remember that one you told about how you stood up to someone and said something, when really you only said it to yourself in your head — after the fact? Remember your lie about why your homework was late? What about those times you thought you were telling someone the truth but then, later, you found out it was really a lie? Is that lying?

My son, a few years ago, asked if he could have a snack. I said sure, there are some olives in the fridge. He liked olives. So he went to the fridge and poked around, and he couldn’t find any olives.

“Dad,” he said, “you lied.”

I poked around and couldn’t find them either. I sure thought they were in there. Someone finished off the jar and didn’t tell me. So I said, “I’m sorry, just have a pickle. Now, let’s talk about the difference between being wrong and telling a lie.”

In the Williams case, the former high-flying anchorman might have lied. Sure. He’s could’ve. He might also have just been wrong when he described his helicopter ride there in Iraq.

Which brings us to Dr. Ben Carson. He said he had been offereed a full scholarship to West Point.

Maybe he just made a mistake, though.

ben carsonIt even looks as if a political hatchet job could be in progress.

I mean, take this article — in GawkerThe headline reads: “Ben Carson admits he lied about West Point scholarship.”

But that’s not at all what happened. For one thing, Carson’s campaign staff admits only that Carson was incorrect about the West Point scholarship. It turns out that Carson himself has not admitted to making a deliberately misleading statement, and in fact the facts here are at best quite hazy.

He remembers a meeting with a general someplace that probably happened someplace else in a different context, in public rather than in private, and the admissions process isn’t quite how he remembered it, and he probably used “scholarship” as shorthand for a tax-funded billet at the academy.

In other words, he didn’t lie any more than I lied to my son about those olives. He was just wrong. So why attack the man. 

ben carsonAnd if he is wrong, maybe he is not even very wrong, actually. Because most of what he actually wrote in his book and later claimed on campaign trails checks out in one way or another.

And really, why bother to complain about this stuff? Look, if we’re going to start judging politicians on the factuality of their statements, first of all, congratulations, and second of all, all those suckers are disqualified from the get go.

Let’s just admit this is a hatchet job because some liberal sources are worried he might have an actual shot.

In other words, if Ben Carson is a liar, then so is Brian Williams; and if Brian Williams can be forgiven for having a dodgy memory about events of the past, so can Ben Carson.

In any case, there is really only one appropriate question for politicians of any stripe, and it’s this. Pick one: Are you crazy, stupid or evil? Because that’s the only way they can espouse the things they claim are true. Either they are lying (evil), they really believe their statements are true despite a preponderance of evidence (crazy), or they can’t take on facts at all (stupid).

For aNewDomain, I’m Jason Dias.

Image of U. S. Military Academy: Officer’s Quarters, West Point, Orange County, NY HABS NY,36-WEPO,1-1-19 (CT)” by Lowe, Jet, creator – http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ny1415.color.570978c. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

About the author

Jason Dias

Jason Dias, PsyD is an existential psychotherapist who breathes words. He's a senior columnist at aNewDomain.

1 Comment

  • Well Brian Williams did lose his job over that lie, and he was the top rated anchorman. The stories of Ben being a born again thug are also proving to be false. Why would anyone want to lie about trying to kill someone? And then we have to look at what this brain surgeon believes in. An Ark that actually held 2 of every animal on earth (and consider the millions that have become extinct since then. The pyramids being grain silos. Being gay is a choice because prisoners who have been raped come out gay.The big bang theory is a fairy tale and the devil promotes evolution. No racism going on. No climate change. Affordable care is as bad as slavery. And we are living in a gestapo age. His little slip up on West Point is the least of his problems. Why he is even in the running is frightening. There is something very off about him.