Hours before tonight's Republican presidential debate, Dr. Ben Carson was already trolling the media. No, really. For several days, Carson has been defending his life story, detailed in his autobiography Gifted Hands. His behavior is in thanks to growing scrutiny regarding details, events, and people mentioned in the book, and in campaign speeches. Carson's strategy has been to fire back at the media for what he calls "special scrutiny." And tonight, he continued that campaign with several images posted to his Facebook account. Each picture features the logo of a news or media organization, namely, CNN, The Huffington Post, and Politico. Each logo is accompanied by bogus reporting on Carson's past and the hashtag #BCDC16.
"In the fall of 1962, Ben Carson checked out a library book and returned it two days late," reads the first image, poking fun at CNN. Last week, CNN questioned Carson's story about an attempt to stab a young classmate, which has figured prominently in his stump speeches. CNN could not find classmates to verify Carson's mercurial temper or the stabbing incident.
"During his residency, Ben offended a cupcake by calling it a muffin," another image reads. It features a Politico logo, which makes sense. Politico was the first to report that Carson's West Point story was false, specifically that Carson had never received a "full scholarship" as he had claimed in his book, and in an interview. According to West Point, Carson never even applied.
"In college, Ben Carson threw away a glass bottle in the 'paper products only' receptacle," reads another image. This one is "from" The Huffington Post. Like many presidential candidates –past and present– Carson's past is being carefully examined by the media. And with the digging comes more inconsistencies, and legitimate follow-up questions. Parts of Carson's story have been questioned by CBS, CNN, Politico and even The Wall Street Journal. He's attempted to refute some of these claims, but to no avail — namely the West Point story, and a claim that he enrolled in a class that Yale says never existed. These new memes that his team have developed are definitely funny, and a good strategy to shake off the media's laser-like gaze. But the truth is that the questions being asked are valid, and are coming from credible news organizations. As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said to Buzzfeed, "We put our personal story out there. We tell folks our history, that’s part of our candidacy. We have to be able to back that up.” It'll take a whole lot more than trolling the internet to become the GOP nominee.