Creators will suspend Dr. Ben Carson's syndicated column in "about 30 days," according to managing editor David Yontz, who told Media Matters the move follows Carson's description of himself as a presidential candidate in his latest column. Yontz said that Creators has removed the offending column from its website.
In his March 25 column, which was reprinted in conservative outlets like The Washington Times, WND, and Townhall, Carson described the "learning curve of a candidate" and focused on how much he has "to learn in terms of becoming both a better candidate and a better potential president of the United States." Given the many concrete steps Carson has taken towards mounting a presidential run, Media Matters reached out to Creators to inquire about Carson's status as a columnist, given that he was apparently open to using the space to publish pieces that read like campaign press releases.
"In his latest column, Ben Carson talks about what he would do as an official candidate for president of the United States," Yontz said in an email to Media Matters Wednesday. "He ends the column by saying he wanted to communicate his thoughts as he 'consider(s) this monumental step.' But in the same column, he describes himself as a candidate for president. Consequently, we have decided to suspend syndication of the column, effective in about 30 days, until after he is no longer running for president, either officially or unofficially."
Yontz said the syndicate will remove Carson's most recent column from its website because, "though the column was not an announcement and Dr. Carson is still in exploratory mode, we agree that the column was misleading."
Creators' move follows The Washington Times' decision earlier this month to drop Carson as a columnist after the formation of his exploratory committee and Fox News' move last fall to end its relationship with Carson after he released a campaign-style video "introducing himself to the American people."
Yontz estimated the suspension will be completed in "about 30 days" because "it will take us some time to send letters to all of his subscribers." He explained that, "For the next month, the column will be staying away from anything that could be perceived as campaign-related."
Media Matters had initially reached out to Yontz in December after Fox News dropped Carson as a contributor. At that time, Yontz said, "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."
"We have 30-day agreements with the subscribers to Dr. Carson's column," Yontz added Wednesday. "And we will also be offering alternative conservative columnists to his subscribers during this time period."
He would not reveal how many clients take Carson's weekly syndicated column, but called it "substantial"
UPDATE: Carson responded to the Creators Syndicate news in a March 28 statement on Breitbart.com, writing: "While my words may not have been precise, be assured I have not declared my candidacy for president in any shape or form. I have been, and am still, exploring a candidacy as a possibility. In an effort to be straightforward I did not follow each time the political protocol of qualifying my language with appropriate adjectives and caveats."
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.
Right-wing media are furthering attacks on possible Labor secretary nominee Thomas Perez by demonizing an immigrants' rights organization he was involved with. But CASA is a respected Latino advocacy organization whose work helping immigrants has won a multitude of awards for outstanding community service.
The Associated Press reported on March 9 that President Obama is likely to nominate Perez, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, to serve as the next Labor secretary. His possible nomination has set off a series of attacks from right-wing media, including Fox News, which has accused him of working with "hardcore Islamist groups" and tried to discredit him by invoking the manufactured scandal over the Justice Department's New Black Panthers intimidation case.
In a syndicated column peppered with slurs such as "illegal alien," Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin attacked Perez by smearing CASA, the organization where Perez served first as a volunteer then as board president in 2002, as a "notorious illegal-alien advocacy group:
During the Clinton years, Perez worked at the Justice Department to establish a "Worker Exploitation Task Force" to enhance working conditions for ... illegal-alien workers. While holding down his government position, Perez volunteered for Casa de Maryland. This notorious illegal-alien advocacy group is funded through a combination of taxpayer-subsidized grants (totaling $5 million in 2010 alone from Maryland and local governments) and radical-liberal philanthropy, including billionaire George Soros's Open Society Institute.
That's in addition to more than $1 million showered on the group by freshly departed Venezuelan thug Hugo Chávez's regime-owned oil company, Citgo.
Malkin went on to claim that CASA "opposes enforcement of deportation orders, has protested post-9/11 coordination of local, state, and national criminal databases, and produced a 'know your rights' propaganda pamphlet for illegal aliens that depicted federal immigration agents as armed bullies making babies cry."
Thomas Sowell, a conservative economist and syndicated columnist from the Hoover Institution, is outraged. Actually, that's an understatement. Sowell is seething, judging from his latest column lashing out at Newt Gingrich and the Republican presidential candidate's comments stressing a "humane" immigration policy. But in a diatribe laden with falsehoods that mimics the tone most often employed by scores of anti-immigrant nativists, Sowell relies on agitprop from that same lobby to broadcast a flawed economic argument against immigration.
Sowell begins by taking a swipe at Gingrich, slapping down his characterization of a "humane" immigration policy. He then reminds Americans that the supposed "purpose" of "American immigration laws and policies is not to be either humane or inhumane to illegal immigrants." It is "to serve the national interest of this country."
There is no inherent right to come live in the United States, in disregard of whether the American people want you here. Nor does the passage of time confer any such right retroactively.
The more doctrinaire libertarians see the benefits of free international trade in goods, and extend the same reasoning to free international movement of people. But goods do not bring a culture with them. Nor do they give birth to other goods to perpetuate that culture.
Why do people want to come to America in the first place? Because America offers them something that their native countries do not. This country has a culture which has produced a higher standard of living and a freer life than in many other countries.
When you import people, you import cultures, including cultures that have been far less successful in providing decent lives and decent livelihoods. The American people have a right to decide for themselves whether they want unlimited imports of cultures from other countries.
At one time, immigrants came to America to become Americans. Today, the apostles of multiculturalism and grievance-mongering have done their best to keep foreigners foreign and, if possible, feeling aggrieved. Our own schools and colleges teach grievances.
As an economist, it's surprising that Sowell would invoke the argument that immigrants hurt the economy, seeing that study after study continues to prove that immigrants' economic impact is overwhelmingly positive.
Pat Buchanan wrote in his recent syndicated column that accused Norway mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik may be "evil," but when it comes to his reported belief that there's a coming "climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world ... Breivik may be right." Buchanan, who also serves as an MSNBC analyst, has a long history marred by bigotry and hostility toward non-whites.
The right-wing media have skewed an account given in a biography of President Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, regarding her fight with a disability insurance company over its ruling that she had a pre-existing condition. Conservative media outlets are claiming that Obama lied about the fight hinging on a pre-existing condition, and even suggesting that Dunham "wanted to get paid for being sick with cancer."
Until the last few paragraphs, Phyllis Schlafly's latest Townhall column is a fairly typical right-wing assault on education spending, filled with angry denunciations of "the notoriously useless program called Head Start." Again: Fairly typical stuff -- for some reason, conservatives hate spending money to help kids learn. But then things take an interesting twist -- Schlafly comes up with something worth spending money on:
Children should be taught to read in the first grade by an authentic phonics system in which they learn the sounds and syllables of the English language and how to put them together to read words of more than one syllable. There is nothing expensive or mysterious about this basic task.
Instead of wasting more federal money on grant-writers and grant-readers, tell local districts to award a bonus to first-grade teachers based on how many kids they actually teach to read. Let the teacher select the phonics system she thinks will help her win the bonus.
And then this note:
Phyllis Schlafly is the author of a phonics system for first-graders called "First Reader," which sells for only $29.95 with an accompanying Workbook for $9.95 (free shipping).
Well, that certainly works out nicely.
According to Schlafly's Eagle Forum website, the "First Reader" workbook has been around since 1994. So I couldn't help wondering if Schlafly has used her various columns to tout the efficacy of phonics systems without disclosing her financial interest in doing so. And, as it turns out, she has.
Last September, Creators Syndicate distributed a Schlafly column that denounced "non-phonics in reading instruction" as an approach that "parents find offensive." That column did not include a disclaimer noting Schlafly's authorship of a phonics program. But that's only the most recent of several examples of Schlafly touting phonics without disclosing her interest in doing so, which include a July 2003 Schlafly column and another from August 27, 2007:
Public schools should teach all first-graders to read by the time-tested phonics system, and teach all schoolchildren to know and use the fundamentals of arithmetic by the end of the third grade. This would end the shocking epidemic of illiteracy that now permits students to get into high school and even graduate without being able to read, write or calculate change at the grocery store.
And in October of 1999, Schlafly wrote an entire column denouncing a textbook that criticized phonics, somehow managing to write "The textbook includes a chapter warning teachers against a 'Far Right' conspiracy of 'laypersons' to teach phonics … The textbook identifies yours truly as a co-conspirator" without ever getting around to mentioning that she sells a phonics system.
Remember: If it seems like conservative media figures are trying to sell you something, they probably are.
David Limbaugh continued the right-wing assault on Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, using anti-gay rhetoric and advancing a number outrageous smears and distortions in order to attack him as a "known homosexual activist" who was appointed to "propagandiz[e] for the normalization of homosexuality." These smears and distortions include the conclusively debunked falsehood that Jennings "failed to report statutory rape," the false suggestion that Jennings praised a gay rights activist because he was a "promoter of pedophilia," and the claim that Jennings - currently a board member of Union Theological Seminary - should be disqualified from public service because he purportedly "harbored a hatred for God" as a teenager.
In his October 20 nationally syndicated column, Pat Buchanan purports to speak for "white working-class voters" who are "losing" "their country."
Among other things, Buchanan writes that these voters "have seen trillions of tax dollars go for Great Society programs, but have seen no Great Society, only rising crime, illegitimacy, drug use and dropout rates"; "have seen their Christian faith purged from schools their taxes paid for"; have seen "illegal aliens walk into their country"; and have not "benefited from affirmative action, unlike Barack and Michelle Obama":
Moreover, the alienation and radicalization of white America began long before Obama arrived. He acknowledged as much when he explained Middle Pennsylvanians to puzzled progressives in that closed-door meeting in San Francisco.
Referring to the white working-class voters in the industrial towns decimated by job losses, Obama said: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Yet, we had seen these folks before. They were Perotistas in 1992, opposed NAFTA in 1993 and blocked the Bush-Kennedy McCain amnesty in 2007.
In their lifetimes, they have seen their Christian faith purged from schools their taxes paid for, and mocked in movies and on TV. They have seen their factories shuttered in the thousands and their jobs outsourced in the millions to Mexico and China. They have seen trillions of tax dollars go for Great Society programs, but have seen no Great Society, only rising crime, illegitimacy, drug use and dropout rates.
They watch on cable TV as illegal aliens walk into their country, are rewarded with free educations and health care and take jobs at lower pay than American families can live on -- then carry Mexican flags in American cities and demand U.S. citizenship.
They see Wall Street banks bailed out as they sweat their next paycheck, then read that bank profits are soaring, and the big bonuses for the brilliant bankers are back. Neither they nor their kids ever benefited from affirmative action, unlike Barack and Michelle Obama.
They see a government in Washington that cannot balance its books, win our wars or protect our borders. The government shovels out trillions to Fortune 500 corporations and banks to rescue the country from a crisis created by the government and Fortune 500 corporations and banks.
America was once their country. They sense they are losing it. And they are right.
If Buchanan's complaints sound familiar, it's worth referring back to an October 23, 1991, column in which he recounted his advice that the Republican Party should "[t]ake a hard look" at former Knights of the Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke's "portfolio of winning issues; and expropriate those not in conflict with GOP principles."
Describing Duke's electoral success in Louisiana, Buchanan wrote in 1991 that Duke's "appeal" stemmed from the fact that, among other things, Duke "wants to toss the able-bodied off welfare, stop payments to drug users and freeze benefits to welfare mothers who keep having children"; "favors tougher penalties for crime and an end to 'unjust affirmative action'"; "calls for freedom of choice for parents in sending children to public schools"; and "wants the United States to halt illegal immigration":
If his resume is Duke's handicap, what is his appeal? In his 15-point platform, he zeros in on issues that should be a wake-up call for all our Big Government Conservatives.
Duke pledges to vote against any new tax increase. He wants to toss the able-bodied off welfare, stop payments to drug users and freeze benefits to welfare mothers who keep having children. He favors tougher penalties for crime and an end to "unjust affirmative action," i.e. all reverse discrimination, whether quotas or racial set-asides. He calls for freedom of choice for parents in sending children to public schools, and a track system inside schools where the brightest are advanced fastest. He opposes gun control, wants the United States to halt illegal immigration, and would slash foreign aid.
The national press calls these positions "code words" for racism, but in the hard times in Louisiana, Duke's message comes across as middle class, meritocratic, populist and nationalist.
Buchanan concluded his 1991 column by advising the first President Bush that in order to "win ... back" Duke voters, he should "take a hard look at illegal immigration" and root out "reverse discrimination in the U.S. government":
NEVERTHELESS, both the GOP establishment and conservatives should study how and why white voters, who delivered Louisiana to Reagan and Bush three times, moved in such numbers to David Duke -- and devise a strategic plan to win them back.
What to do? President Bush might take a hard look at illegal immigration, tell the U.S. Border Patrol to hire some of those vets being mustered out after Desert Storm, veto the Democrats' "quota bill," and issue an executive order rooting out any and all reverse discrimination in the U.S. government, beginning with the FBI.
If that sets off every poodle in liberalism's kennels, good.
Maybe Buchanan can expand on his latest column next time he appears on a "pro-White" radio show.
Chuck Norris repeated the false claim that pedophiles could be protected under the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Since the beginning of October, Dick Morris has repeatedly used his columns and Fox News appearances to promote and raise money for the National Republican Trust PAC without disclosing that the organization has paid $24,000 to a company apparently connected to Morris, according to FEC filings. During that time, Morris' email newsletter has frequently included ads that state: "Paid for by The National Republican Trust PAC."
Syndicated columnist Walter Williams accused Sen. Hillary Clinton of "insulting blacks" during her Selma speech on March 4 by "mimicking black dialect." He wrote, "Commemorating a key point in American history is one thing, but a white person mimicking black dialect is demeaning and insulting." But as Clinton herself stated during the speech, she was quoting from a hymn by Rev. James Cleveland.
In his column, Robert Novak falsely suggested that U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's decision striking down the administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program was so off-the-wall that it "has been stayed and probably will be reversed," that "Taylor ended up with the case because of forum-shopping," and that professor Jack Balkin had criticized the decision's legal reasoning but nevertheless "rejoiced" over it for "political" reasons.