Ben CarsonBen Carson at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference on March 8, 2014.
Susan Walsh—AP
By Tessa Berenson
January 16, 2015

In a speech Thursday, conservative neurosurgeon Ben Carson said something he argues is being misinterpreted. The difference this time is that he said it would be misinterpreted as he was saying it.

The neurosurgeon, who is exploring a possible presidential run in 2016, has a long history of making comments that get attention from what he calls “the liberal press,” which he argues twists his words to make it sound like he “says all these crazy things.” He previously argued that Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery and compared present day America to Nazi Germany.

So on Thursday, when he compared the Islamic State militants to the Founding Fathers, he knew what he was getting into.

Speaking at a Republican National Committee luncheon, Carson invoked the American Revolutionary War and said, “A bunch of rag-tag militiamen defeated the most powerful and professional military force on the planet. Why? Because they believed in what they were doing. They were willing to die for what they believed in.

“Fast forward to today. What do we have? You’ve got ISIS. They’ve got the wrong philosophy, but they’re willing to die for it while we are busily giving away every belief and every value for the sake of political correctness. We have to change that.”

He then went on to add this disclaimer: “Some liberal press will say, ‘Carson said that ISIS is the same as the U.S.’ I mean, that’s so ridiculous.”

So how did the press report it? Here’s a few headlines: “Ben Carson holds up ISIS as an example for US.” (CNN) “Ben Carson holds up Islamic State for willingness to die for convictions.” (Washington Post) “Ben Carson equates ISIS, America’s Founding Fathers.” (MSNBC)

And then there’s this one: “Presidential prospect Ben Carson makes questionable comparison.” That was from Fox News.

— With reporting by Zeke Miller


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