By: Renee Nal
SEE UPDATES BELOW
Evidently, a damaging “rumor” that Dr. Ben Carson was suspending his campaign started during a Monday broadcast on CNN at around 7:43 pm est, while the Iowa caucus was in full swing. The “rumor” led to Cruz campaign staffers informing their precinct captains that they should urge caucus-goers to vote for Ted Cruz.
The Cruz camp, along with many other media sources had the same impression.
Consider this article at Business Insider, which still has the original link:
The article, written by Pamela Engel, explains in an updated version:
Ben Carson’s campaign on Monday night released a statement denying that the retired neurosurgeon was suspending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
According to Carson’s communication director, Larry Ross, the statement cited “false media reports,” not overly ambitious Cruz campaign workers:
Contrary to false media reports, Dr. Ben Carson is not suspending his presidential campaign, which is stronger than ever. After spending 18 consecutive days on the campaign trail, Dr. Carson needs to go home and get a fresh set of clothes. He will be departing Des Moines later tonight to avoid the snow storm and will be back on the trail Wednesday…
Some media sources and others clearly had the impression that Carson was suspending his campaign:
Which led to:
Ben Carson going home to Florida after tonight, @CNN reporting. #iowacaucus
— Ken Shepherd (@KenShepherd) February 2, 2016
So Ben Carson isn’t focusing on South Carolina after all, per @CNN, which is reporting Carson heading home to Florida.
— Mitch Pugh (@SCMitchP) February 2, 2016
Carson won’t go to NH/SC, but instead will head home to Florida for some R&R. He’ll be in DC Thursday for the National Prayer Breakfast.
— Chris Moody (@moody) February 2, 2016
Carson not going to NH says @CNN? Cruz no doubt wishing he’d already packed it in, putting his IA votes in play.
— Michael Smerconish (@smerconish) February 2, 2016
So, Ben Carson is going home to Florida, and #IowaCaucus just started? Puzzling news @CNN I can’t wait to see what @DavidChalian has to say
— Kalee Kreider (@kaleekreider) February 2, 2016
@CNN just reported that Dr. Ben Carson will be going home to Florida after tonight and not to NH or SC to rest before going to D.C.
— Roh2D2 (@roachman61) February 2, 2016
@RandPaul @ChipEnglander @dougstafford Word on the street Ben Carson done!Grab them voters!!!Look at @CNN
— Laura Shupe (@shupe_laura) February 2, 2016
Carson is not suspending his campaign? outright lie and poison being spread by liars that are threatened by his sudden Iowa surge.
— Armstrong Williams (@Arightside) February 2, 2016
Note the times on the above tweets.
Assuming that Carson was indeed suspending his campaign, Rep. Steve King clearly meant no malice when he tweeted:
Carson looks like he is out. Iowans need to know before they vote. Most will go to Cruz, I hope. https://t.co/lW5Js50EMA
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) February 2, 2016
Ted Cruz said in a statement that “when our political team saw the CNN post saying that Dr. Carson was not carrying on to New Hampshire and South Carolina,” his campaign “updated grassroots leaders just as we would with any breaking news story.” He conceded, however, that what the Cruz team “then should have done was send around the follow-up statement from the Carson campaign clarifying that he was indeed staying in the race when that came out.”
Basically, the Cruz team should have known better than to trust the media.
On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Steve King tweeted:
I respect Ben Carson & regret any miscommunications. Perhaps @RealBenCarson supporters r unaware of this CNN story. https://t.co/RgrljodXl1
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) February 2, 2016
The following tweet pointed out by Rep. Steve King illustrates that CNN was giving a very real impression to viewers that Carson was on shaky grounds.
After the #IAcaucus, @RealBenCarson plans to take a break from campaigning https://t.co/2sMsS7rlRk https://t.co/dVGpik7gNN
— CNN (@CNN) February 2, 2016
and there was also this:
BREAKING: @moody has learned @realbencarson will return to FL following #IAcaucus, will not go to either NH or SC https://t.co/jl8NOY9KEx
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) February 2, 2016
CNN completely denied that they had anything to do with what appears to be their own massive gaffe:
Cruz said in a statement Tuesday that his campaign staff saw a CNN report that Carson was dropping out, although CNN had not characterized Carson’s actions that way.
The link in the above quote returns the reader to the same article in which they were reading, which is either an error or a deliberate deception.
Astoundingly but not surprisingly, CNN and many others have poured fuel on the fire by instigating Dr. Carson into placing blame on Cruz. In a segment with Jake Tapper titled “Carson demands Cruz fire staffers involved in ‘dirty trick,'” a caption that seems to have been penned by a fourth grader laments:
“Dr. Ben Carson demands Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign take responsibility and fire tstaffers [sic] who told Iowa voters Carson was dropping out of the race.”
It appears that it was actually CNN that “told Iowa voters Carson was dropping out of the race.”
UPDATE: Several readers/tweeters have pointed out this excellent article at Politistick, which makes the case that the Rubio campaign was not only aware of the “rumor,” but “pushing the narrative hard.” If this is true, Marco Rubio’s outrage aimed at Cruz is wholly disingenuous.
UPDATE II: An adult in the room (thanks to
Update III: Steve Berman at The Resurgent digs a bit deeper and makes an observation:
“Had Cruz dodged the issue, become defensive, or attempted a cover-up, I’d be upset with him. But he didn’t do any of that. It was a straightforward apology for mishandling a communication issue. There’s no evidence that the Cruz campaign planted the story about Carson’s break.”
Update IV: SooperMexican points out at therightscoop that Bill O’Reilly “asked [Ben Carson] some really good questions” about the rumor, which seems to have started with CNN. Carson “didn’t really answer the question.”
Updated V: Shocker, Donald Trump is unhinged. He would make a great president, right?
From Buzzfeed on Monday night in an article titled “Ben Carson Isn’t Quitting His Campaign — He’s Just Going To Florida To Do Laundry,” – references to “conflicting reports” about the status of Carson’s campaign from interview with Carson’s “business manager and adviser Armstrong Williams” (who is one of the tweets from above) and a reference to “supporters of rival candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul:”
“There have been conflicting reports over past hours about why Carson — whose stock has plummeted in recent months as a candidate, and whose campaign has burned through millions of dollars as top officials have quit — was leaving Iowa.
Some reported that Carson was going home to rest and would not travel to New Hampshire and South Carolina, while others suggested he was going home to beat a storm and would maintain his campaign schedule.
Williams told BuzzFeed News that Carson’s schedule will not change, and claimed that the trip home was always planned. He emphasized that Carson was “absolutely not” dropping out of the presidential race. “Are you kidding me?” he said to the question.
Williams further argued that reports and rumors that Carson had changed his schedule or was behaving unusually were being fueled by supporters of rival candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.”
Conservative Review points out that Rush Limbaugh said that the “rumors of Ben Carson dropping out on Monday were actively encouraged by the Rubio campaign.”
At caucus sites, candidate speeches are alpha order. Carson comes before Cruz. Why didn't Carson people debunk CNN report beforehand then?
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) February 3, 2016
UPDATE IX: According to this CONFIRMED Carson promotional email, Carson states that CNN “led people to believe I was leaving the race…” No mention of Ted Cruz.