Some of you may be too young to remember the origin of the phrase “high-tech lynching.” It was coined by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to describe the character assassination he underwent during his contentious confirmation hearings.
We have recently seen another high-tech lynching of a conservative black man. This time, the would-be victim is Dr. Ben Carson, Republican Presidential candidate.
Liberal web site POLITICO published a breathless “scoop” on 5 November 2015 claiming that Dr. Carson had lied about being offered a scholarship to West Point when he was considering applying to college.
There are just a couple of problems with this bombshell:
- All three service academies — the Armed Forces Academy (“Army,”) the Naval Academy (“Navy”) and the Air Force Academy (“Air Force”) — offer free tuition in exchange for a four-year service commitment upon graduation. It would be easy for a teen-ager to call that a “scholarship,” and in fact, that was the term Army used for its tuition waiver in the 1970s and 1980s.
- Dr. Carson never wound up applying to Army — he could only afford to apply to one college, so he applied to Yale, rendering the entire Army discussion moot.
Conservative media pushed back against POLITICO, unraveling their high-tech lynching almost in real-time. Within five hours of initial publication, POLITICO was forced to admit that major portions of its story had been fabricated.
Over the next couple of days, POLITICO, bereft of even the common decency to retract its edge-of-libelous piece, would stealth-modify the title and content of its piece to “walk back” its most damaging accusations without admitting to them. By then, however, the braying hounds at CNN and MSNBC had already taken up the scent, and they spent the day gleefully calling for Dr. Carson to explain what was going on or (better yet) end his Presidential campaign. Even Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly got in on the “concern troll” act.
One should no longer (if one ever did) expect POLITICO to have, or maintain, any credibility.