Carson’s attack on the media reminds journalists why we do what we do

By Sarah Stubbs

Not only has there been a buzz about Ben Carson within the Findlay community thanks to his recent, brief visit, but there has also been quite a buzz about him in my immediate subculture of journos at UF due to his recent declaration of war on the press.

Carson was at what The Hill is calling a “gathering of reporters and communication professionals” at the National Press Club in Washington last Friday when he called the media “insincere” and “embarrassing.”

Since the presidential hopeful has been under fire lately for his recent remarks on religion and gun control, he has been talked about a lot across media platforms, of course seemingly in a negative light because his remarks have been so outlandish.

One might recall his comment attacking the Muslim faith:  “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”

Or the fact that he actually said that the Holocaust may have been less likely or less detrimental had the Jews been armed.

In The Hill article that initially informed me about Carson’s attack on the press, it’s stated that Carson says he “exposes” the media for the greater good of the American public – to show them what the press is truly doing. He goes on to claim that all of the negative attention he’s been receiving in the media is actually putting him farther along in the polls because Americans are onto the press and are just not buying it.

My big question is how, Mr. Carson, are you exposing the press? Is everything that you are saying not being recorded by video on every other smartphone in the same room as you at any given time?

I find it hard to believe that Carson is keeping up with “calling out” journalists for their missteps – if that is what he is doing. One can’t possibly defend or claim that the bulk of what he is quoted saying is taken out of context.

Every move that just about any public figure makes is backed up on video, professional or not, and is covered so heavily and diversely by different media that I find this quite impossible and even silly to claim.

Unfortunately, Carson is not the presidential candidate who has had unpleasant encounters with the press this fall. A little over a month ago, Donald Trump was tweeting about Fox News host Megyn Kelly, calling her a bimbo and claiming that she “must have had a terrible vacation, she is really off her game.”  And Hillary Clinton continues to dodge questions about her emails and Benghazi.

Of course I am coming at this with bias because of my place in the world as an aspiring journalist interested in social issues and politics, but I have honestly been nothing but impressed and intrigued with the coverage of the 2016 race thus far – especially with the investigative pieces about Clinton’s email scandals.

I find it quite ridiculous when candidates, like Carson, get upset about being taken out-of-context when context is the glue that holds any good journalistic work together.

Journalists want to be regarded as truth-tellers. They want to be trusted. The last thing a journalist wants to be called out for is taking his or her sources out of context.

Just like in any profession, I know that there are journalists who might not do the best or most robust job of covering an incident or topic, but I personally don’t know any journalists who aren’t doing the best they can. We are, after all, continuously putting ourselves out there. No one wants to be known for doing a bang-up job at his or her respected profession – especially journalists, are names get printed next to our stories in black and white.

Journalists choose this low paying and less than glamorous job oftentimes because they are passionate about serving the public and informing the world in the most objective way possible – not because they are out to make someone look like the bad guy.

Here’s an idea: How about politicians think about what they say before they make ridiculous, outlandish, or offensive comments? What ever happened to standing behind your words?

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