David Zurawik

Ben Carson getting the 'good' Fox News push for president

I thought I was over it. I promised myself I was not going to get outraged this election cycle when Fox News allowed its contributors to use their airtime on the highest rated cable news channel to test the waters of a potential candidacy and essentially raise PAC money on-air.

And then I saw Ben Carson, the former Johns Hopkins surgeon, on Fox last night telling viewers how crucial the 2014 elections are going to be and how his new PAC is raising money to get the right people in office. Check it out in the video above.


The only thing Fox didn't do in letting Carson have 5 minutes and 42 seconds of prime time is put a web address up on the screen so viewers would know where to send their checks.

What a racket Carson is now part of. Who would want to stay on at Hopkins and help educate another generation of medical doctors like other eminent surgeons who have reached retirement age have done?


Who would want to do something as selfless and boring as that when you can put on makeup, go on prime-time TV, say something ignorant about the story of the day as Carson did on Gaza last night, and then do some serious shilling for your new PAC.

In case you missed the right-wing-controlled news coverage last week, here's the "news" on Carson. He met with some money-folks in Palm Beach last week and announced he was forming a PAC and had moved "closer" to running for president.

Here's how the Washington Times, where Carson is also a paid contributor, first reported the story last Friday:

Ben Carson, the former neurosurgeon turned conservative sensation, is taking a major step toward a 2016 presidential bid by forming a political action committee and selecting the man who would run his campaign, The Washington Times has learned.

The man who will run the PAC is Houston businessman Terry Giles.

Here's how National Journal described him:

A retired lawyer, Giles is now the head of Giles Enterprises, an investment firm based in Houston, Texas. When Giles was an attorney, he represented Kenneth Lay, the Enron founder who was convicted on 10 counts of fraud during the company's corruption scandal.

And , then, of course, reported the "news" about its bought-and-paid-for "conservative sensation" and his new PAC while linking to the Times.


In the end, I don't think what makes me so upset is just the recognition that Fox, a channel I have insisted should be treated like any other news channel, is going to continue to seriously mess with the political process in 2014 and 2016.

It's that Fox would bring Carson on under the guise of being an expert on what's happening in Gaza when he clearly has only act-like-you-know, empty-headed bromides to offer.

But, of course, the conversation about a military action in which more than 1,000 people have died in the last three weeks was only a warm-up for the real business of the segment: raising money for the Fox-owned "conservative sensation."

Where's Newt Gingrich when you need him? Oh yeah, he's now over at CNN defining shameless conflict of interest.

No wonder some people are as cynical about the media as they are politics.