Since Dr. Ben Carson’s CPAC speech, the mild-mannered neurosurgeon has attracted a sizable amount of buzz, especially given his allusion to a potential 2016 presidential run in that very speech.
And now, the buzz appears to have spread to the mainstream media, because the speech gained Carson an invite to CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley, to participate in the shows “Getting to Know” segment, devoted to up-and-coming political figures.
However, for an interview with a political figure, there was just one rather odd omission: Throughout the interview, Crowley did not ask Carson his opinion on one single political issue. Rather, the interview centered on Carson’s upbringing, how he learned to control his temper, his decision to work as a doctor and his preferred sports team — in short, everything but his politics.
Now, granted, the “Getting to Know” segment on “State of the Union” doesn’t often include explicitly political questions, but rather focuses on looking at particular figures’ backgrounds. However, watching the CNN interview, one would never get any idea that Carson had political opinions, or was involved in politics at all. In other words, Crowley not only didn’t ask Carson his opinions, but didn’t even ask what had compelled him to form opinions and act on them in the first place. Even a softball question like, “You’re a surgeon, not a politician, so what made you start paying attention to politics” was never asked.
This is even odder when you factor in that Crowley explicitly mentioned Carson’s political future at one point during the interview — specifically, when Carson declined to name a favorite sports team, and Crowley chided him for not taking sides. An audience member unfamiliar with Carson’s background calling out President Obama could’ve been forgiven for having to frantically Google him at that point to find out why Crowley was referring to him as a politician.
Was CNN simply trying to avoid any hint of controversy? Or was this due to the constraints of the segment? Who knows, but if Carson is serious about presidential ambitions, it’ll probably be the last time any media figure willingly lets him avoid the subject of politics.
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