After the publication of this post, David Yontz, managing editor of Creators Syndicate, responded to Media Matters' request for comment about Carson.
Yontz said that though Fox News had cut ties with Carson, Creators will not make a decision until he officially announces his presidential plans.
"Given the Fox thing, I don't think we're concerned about that, but he hasn't officially announced yet, it is looking likely he is going to run. But once he officially announces, we most likely will stop syndicating it, we just have to come up with a solution as to what to do, at that time."
"It is on our radar, we are thinking of solutions once that does happen. As of right now we are going to keep syndicating the column until further notice."
Dr. Ben Carson was reportedly dropped as a Fox News contributor over his apparent plans to run for president. But that prospective 2016 bid, which has included a biographical documentary produced by his business manager, is apparently not enough for the Washington Times or Creators Syndicate to sever relations with the surgeon-turned-political commentator.
Fox News ended its contract with Carson last month shortly before the release of A Breath of Fresh Air, an hour-long documentary that aired on 37 television stations as a paid program in early November. The film was widely viewed as a way to boost Carson's profile for a 2016 Republican presidential bid.
Despite that, Carson is still listed as "founding publisher" on the masthead of the Times' digital magazine, American Currentsee. Creators Syndicate has also kept its arrangement with Carson, distributing his column to newspapers across the country, including the Times.
American Currentsee, which is targeted at "conservative blacks," is overseen by executive editor Armstrong Williams, who is also Carson's business manager and whose production company made the Carson documentary. The digital magazine, which is wildly supportive of Carson, often carries columns from both Carson and Williams. It recently devoted an entire issue to the topic, "Is Ben Carson in? How he could lead, how he could win."
Williams, whose own syndicated column is also carried by the Times, said Carson has not announced for president and until he does he has the right to write as he pleases.
"He's a syndicated columnist, he's not running for president, in fact I don't know anyone who has announced they are running for president, do you? Has anybody on the Democratic or Republican side that has announced for president," Williams said in a phone interview. "You know what, as his business manager, the last thing I want him to do is run for president. But you know what? That's the American way. If you are 35 years old and if you're a U.S. citizen you can make a decision to run and the American people can make a decision on whether you're the best candidate for this country or not."
Neither Creators, which syndicated Carson's most recent piece on December 3, nor The Washington Times have responded to requests for comment.
Williams claimed that the documentary that led to the termination of Carson's Fox News relationship should not affect Carson's Times connections or those he has with newspapers that run his column through Creators.
"That has to do with the fact that we aired a documentary that I produced and Fox News said it was a conflict with the contract and so we made a decision to air the documentary and they made a decision to cut ties. That was a business decision," he said about the Fox issue.
Armstrong Williams does not understand what "default" means:
I agree; no one wants to default on our debts. But folks, we're in default now. Simply raising the credit limit on your Visa credit card doesn't keep you solvent. It just means you'll have a more difficult time repaying such debts.
Untrue! Being in debt is not the same thing as being in default.
More Armstrong Williams -- just two paragraphs later:
Others, like Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sen. Rand Paul, are steadfast in their refusal to give the Fed any more debt leeway. This begs the question of what, in fact, would happen if we don't raise the ceiling? Contrary to popular belief, the government won't suddenly go into default once the debt ceiling is reached. The fact of the matter is that there is enough cash coming in to pay its commitments for the next several months.
The moral of the story? Armstrong Williams has no idea what he's talking about. He's just tossing around words like "default" and "solvent," along with a flawed analogy or two, in hopes that people think he does. Pay him no attention.
I try not to pay much attention to the annual bleating from conservatives that Christmas isn't accorded sufficient respect. As far as I'm concerned, these paranoid ramblings serve the limited (but useful) purpose of identifying people who are not to be taken seriously. But Armstrong Williams has produced an argument that is so spectacularly dumb -- even by the standards of "war on Christmas" fabulists -- that I can't let it go without response.
Armstrong sets things up with some garden-variety nonsense:
Non-believers have even targeted our language. If you go into a CVS Pharmacy, or a Barnes & Noble, or a Radio Shack, or a Staples (or many others) this Christmas season, you're going to be wished "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
Note that Williams conflates "don't use our language" with "targeted our language." That is, what Williams describes as non-believers targeting "our" language is simply people choosing not to use that language. But that's nothing more than low-level persecution complex. It's what comes next that is impressively stupid:
The stores claim this change is being carried out in the name of diversity. After all, you wouldn't want to offend a Muslim by wishing him a Merry Christmas. (Try using that same argument to ban "Happy Ramadan!" in Saudi Arabia.)
Here, Williams conflates saying "Happy Holidays" with banning "Merry Christmas," as if Radio Shack will toss him from the store by the scruff of his neck if he wishes a clerk "Merry Christmas" while buying a package of nine-volts. And then, incredibly, he suggests that Americans should be no more sensitive towards religious diversity than Saudi Arabia is. Saudi Arabians would never tolerate someone saying "Happy Holidays" -- so neither should America!
The competition is stiff, but there's very little chance you'll read a dumber passage this week. Sadly, this is becoming a trend among right-wing commentators: In July, Newt Gingrich wrote "There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia."
I'm confused: Do conservatives believe in "American exceptionalism," or do they want America to be more like Saudi Arabia?
In a Washington Times column, Armstrong Williams claimed that secretary of state nominee Sen. Hillary Clinton's "antics and brokering of deals on how many times she gets to stand with Mr. Obama have signaled the beginnings of a rogue element." Williams then asked: "Does she see her powerful position as some shadow Oval Office when it comes to international diplomacy?" Williams also asserted: "I fear the incoming Obama White House will be forced to engage in hours upon hours of groveling and hand-holding down in Foggy Bottom."
Conservative radio host Armstrong Williams criticized vice-presidential debate moderator Gwen Ifill over her upcoming book about African-American political leaders, saying she "should have disclosed" it, and that it is "ultimately impossible" for her not to favor Sen. Barack Obama, because she has a "financial stake" in his winning the presidency. However, beginning in 2003, Williams did not disclose that he received $240,000 in Education Department funds to promote No Child Left Behind. The Government Accountability Office found that the Department of Education's actions constituted "covert propaganda" in violation of the law.
On MSNBC Live, Armstrong Williams said of the New York Times article on Sen. John McCain's relationship with a telecommunications lobbyist, "I think what it does more than anything else, it causes those of us in the media to lose credibility. People begin to question what we print, whether there's any truth to it, whether we do our research." But Williams himself has been embroiled in controversy that undermined his "credibility," reportedly receiving $240,000 from the Bush administration to promote President Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation.
On Hardball, during a discussion of a sexual-harassment lawsuit against Isiah Thomas, Armstrong Williams asserted, "I think sometimes guys use it [the word "bitch"], like, let's say, for Isiah Thomas, if the woman did spurn his advances and if she found him offensive and did not give him the kind of attention that he's accustomed to getting from women, because he's supposed to be the celebrated athlete and not president of the New York Knicks, then he referred to her as a B, because he did not get her way. Still, he's implying here she's a tough broad."