A brief summary: After Ted Cruz shocked the poll-worshiping Donald Trump and the incompetent pundits with a first place finish in Iowa, and after a gentle, gracious, classy concession speech by someone impersonating Trump, subsequent days have been filled with accusations from Ben Carson that Cruz deflated the sleepy doctor’s vote total by spreading rumors about Carson dropping out of the race. Cruz apologized for his camp’s part in the confusion, but blamed CNN for misleading news reports, which were inspired by a vague tweet from the Carson camp about the candidate going home to Florida rather than on to New Hampshire, where the campaigning continues. CNN then accused Cruz of blame-shifting. Meanwhile, Trump found that impersonator and shot him, or something, and now says he will sue Cruz, or the Republican party or someone for some combination of Cruz not being a natural born citizen, his campaign’s sending out a deceptive mailer, and stealing Carson’s votes, and will demand a caucus do-over.
1. Carson’s incompetence is at the root of this whole mess. His staff, as the caucuses were getting underway, put out an ambiguous tweet that Carson would not be going on to New Hampshire,, but was going home. Since Carson’s campaign has been falling apart in chunks for weeks now (this news today, for example) , his support in the polls has been falling, he was inert through the last debate and has no rational excuse to be running anyway, several news organizations assumed that the message meant that his withdrawal was imminent. I assumed that’s what the tweet meant. Carson’s staff is inept: that was a ridiculous tweet to make at that time. He should take full responsibility for all the confusion.
2. CNN and the various media sources that sent out tweets and statements also suggesting that Carson was quitting are also accountable for sloppy journalism. CNN is denying that its reporters gave out wrong information, but they did. First Chris Moody tweeted…
“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.”
“Carson won’t go” to the site of the next two primaries is wrong. The word “immediately” was missing. Then CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted…
CNN itself tweeted this:
CNN’s protests that Cruz is using them as a scapegoat is a lie on its face. The network and its supporters jumped the gun, and suggested that Carson was quitting without confirming this with his organization. If it had any integrity…well, we know the answer to that, don’t we?
3. I can’t let this pass: last night, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly railed at CNN, calling its defense of its reporting “ludicrous” and declaring, “That news agency screwed up big time and apparently doesn’t care.”
“The state of American journalism is on the verge of collapse. Ideology has permeated hard news coverage and honest reporting is becoming almost scarce, especially in political circles.”