In stepping down last week as a speaker at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine commencement, Dr. Ben Carson again took on the role of media/culture critic and martyr to "political correctness."
"Someday in the future, it is my hope and prayer that the emphasis on political correctness will decrease and we will start emphasizing rational discussion of differences so we can actually resolve problems and chart a course that is inclusive of everyone," he wrote to Hopkins Medicine Dean and CEO Dr. Paul B. Rothman.
It is similar to what he said in an interview with me on March 29 when he "apologized" for offensive remarks he made on Fox News March 26 about gay marriage.
When asked by Fox News show host Sean Hannity for his views on gay marriage, the 61-year-old neurosurgeon had said, "Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition."
Comparing gays to members of the North American Man Boy Love Association and those who engage in bestiality rightfully set off a firestorm of criticism.
His apology in the Sun interview three days later was of the "if I offended anyone" variety. He also offered at that time to step down as a commencement speaker if that's what the med school graduates wanted.
But even as he offered his so-called apology that day, Carson expressed a high-sounding "hope" that "we can get to a level where we can actually have an intelligent discussion without hysteria" on such issues as gay marriage.
If he really wants that and isn't being disingenuous, or let's just say phony, what is he doing on Fox News all the time? There is nothing "rational" about anything connected with its handling of these issues.
Carson is regularly presented in a racial and confrontational context with Hannity and other hosts like Megyn Kelly. They set up their first questions by summoning TV-fake outrage as they allege that African-American conservatives don't have freedom of speech in America.
It's a preposterous position, of course, but Carson took the lollipop each time it was proffered by his new best friends at Fox and gave it a few deep licks to fire up the segment within a cauldron of race, victimization, controversy and culture war divisiveness. Aren't those all the things Fox regularly accuses President Obama of doing to gain and maintain power?
Has Carson paid any attention to the way Fox News and Hannity have presented and discussed him on an almost nightly basis since he lectured President Obama on how to the run the country at the National Prayer Breakfast in February?
Did he, for example, see the Hannity show on April 1 which featured Niger Innis, Leo Terrell and Hannity all yelling at each other about Carson's comments on gay marriage? Hannity called for the two guests' microphones to be cut off. It defined cable TV news as the "hysteria" Carson said he so deplores.
I think I know why Ben Carson is on Fox News so much: He's hoping to go to work for Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch as the new Sarah Palin, now that the former governor of Alaska has become media and political road kill and Fox has no further use for her. When she held the job, it was reportedly worth about $1 million a year and her own remote studio up in moose country.
In response to a direct question from me as to whether he is in discussions with Fox News, where he has been regularly featured since his appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast, Carson said, "I would simply say that there is more than one station that has asked if I would have any interest, and I am in the process of considering these things."
I wonder if all the analysts who say no one knows what Carson is going to do after retires from Hopkins read that interview on March 29. In case you didn't, here's a link.
You might think Carson's credibility on social, cultural and political matters couldn't get much lower than it is right now. But you wait to see how bad he will look if he goes to work for Fox when he retires from Hopkins in June. I don't care how much they pay, it won't start to replace what Fox has already cost him in terms of the prestige and reputation he gained during his career at Hopkins.
Here's a suggestion: If Carson really wants a rational, civil, balanced discussion, why doesn't he go on C-SPAN? There's the high road of TV discourse, except there are no million-dollar analyst jobs on C-SPAN, are there?Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times