Politico Hits Back At Carson Camp: No, We Didn’t Retract The Story

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UPDATED: Nov. 9, 2015, 8:28 PM ET, to add statement from Politico.

Ben Carson’s campaign manager tried to pour more cold water on Politico Monday afternoon but ended up incorrectly accusing the news outlet of retracting its report on the Republican presidential frontrunner’s murky history with West Point.

In an interview with Fox host Neil Cavuto, campaign manager Barry Bennett accused Politico of having “fabricated” the story, which said Carson had falsely and repeatedly said he’d turned down a scholarship offer from the elite U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Politico noted Carson had never applied or been accepted at the academy, and that other details of his story were factually wrong.

After critics questioned certain aspects of the article on Friday, Politico ended up making changes to it and adding a lengthy editor’s note, detailing the edits.

Bennett seized on those changes.

“Scrutiny is fine, but you can’t fabricate things,” Bennett said. “All the documents were out there now, and it’s been retracted, but [Politico] can’t put the lie back in the bottle.”

Lauren Edmonds, a spokeswoman for Politico, told TPM on Monday the story was not retracted.

“That is not accurate. It was not a retraction. We updated the story – and clearly labeled that we did so – to reflect Carson’s on the record statement to the New York Times and other new details as they emerged through the day. That’s how we handle big news stories,” Edmonds said in an email to TPM.

Bennett also accused Politico reporter Kyle Cheney, who wrote the Carson story, of showing his own bias. He said Cheney had been “arrested for protesting Republicans” at the national convention more than a decade ago.

“We have a reporter that was arrested for protesting Republicans at the convention, nine years later writes a story and we’re supposed to say it’s just scrutiny? It’s an axe to grind. It’s ridiculous,” he told Cavuto.

The conservative media widely unearthed a 2004 student newspaper op-ed by Kyle Cheney, who was a communications student and editor with Boston University’s independent paper The Daily Free Press, about being detained for 25 hours during the Republican National Convention in New York City.

“The only thing dirtier than the Republican invective was the slick and grimy prison floor on which I was forced to sleep after being arrested near Ground Zero in New York City last Tuesday. And what happened to me could happen to anyone,” Cheney wrote in the column.

Cheney recounted following a march to Madison Square Garden, where an “amBush” of New York police officers waited to arrest peaceful demonstrators and haul them into an overcrowded temporary booking center.

“I was in Guantanamo for 12 hours,” he wrote.

In a statement to TPM, Edmonds disputed Bennett’s account of the incident:

This report is inaccurate. In 2004, as an 18-year-old college journalism student and student newspaper reporter observing the Republican National Convention in Manhattan, Kyle Cheney was wrongly swept up in a mass arrest along with many other bystanders and pedestrians near the site of a protest. He was a spectator, not a demonstrator. The city was later sued and settled a class action lawsuit for its indiscriminate arrests that day – including Kyle’s.

TPM reached out to Cheney for comment Friday, but did not receive a response.

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Notable Replies

  1. Not OK to look up Carson’s past. OK to vet the reporter, though. Funniest Republicans ever!

  2. Rupert Murdoch, through Fox News and the rest of his media monopoly, is doing an exquisite job of destroying American democracy and cementing in place the existing trend to oligarchy.
    This is ultimately the doing of Ronald Reagan, and his abolition of the Fairness Doctrine and unleashing of private corporate money to take over the media. With Citizens United, the circle is complete. Democrats and liberals are now powerless to fight back

  3. “We have a reporter that was arrested for protesting Republicans at the
    convention, nine years later writes a story and we’re supposed to say
    it’s just scrutiny? It’s an axe to grind. It’s ridiculous,” he told

    He told Cavuto…on FOX News. The place where no one ever grinds an ax…against a Republican. How dare this, this journalist, he squealed, like a stuck pig (and now that I mention it, he kinda looks like a stuck pig too), have the nerve to write a piece that portrayed my product, er candidate, in an unfavorable light. We’ll sue him for libel, I tell you! Nine years he nurses this grudge against us and now he’s twisting the truth in the most unfair manner. Our story is a good one, a God-fearing heroic story, and we’re sticking to it.

  4. Avatar for jw1 jw1 says:

    Sometimes though?
    What seems to be a tumultuous act at the outset–
    in the end becomes central to an unintended demise.
    All of the dark money in play at present–
    may well spell the end to the GOP in an accelerated fashion.

    I have a dream. (No, not that great.)
    That by 2024, conservatism is dead, Citizens United overturned,
    gerrymandering counter-acted, and (D)s control all 3 branches–
    and a firm majority on the SCOTUS.

    Could go into my dream in detail–
    but it would still seem too, too far-fetched.
    The beginning of it has started to play out in reality–
    so I’ll keep the flame of hope burning.


  5. “Scrutiny is fine, but you can’t fabricate things,” Bennett said. Seems he should be saying this the lying Dr.

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