Fox & Friends mounted a full-throated defense of Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson after his comments on the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon garnered national media attention. During an October 6 appearance on Fox & Friends, Carson explained that if confronted by a shooter asking about his religion, he would not only refuse to “cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me.” Fox hosts and contributors accused “mainstream media” of “completely irresponsible” coverage, saying his comments had been overblown and taken out of context.
Oregon Shooter Reportedly Singled Out Christians
Wash. Post: Oregon Shooter Reportedly Singled Out Christians For Killing. The Washington Post reported that the Oregon shooter is thought to have targeted Christians, explaining that witnesses “said he seemed to seek specific revenge against Christians, and police examined web posts that hinted of wider antipathy toward organized faith.” [The Washington Post, 10/2/15]
Carson Tells Fox News That If Confronted By A Gunman Asking His Religion, He Would “Not Just Stand There And Let Him Shoot Me”
Carson: “Not Only Would I Probably Not Cooperate With Him, I Would Not Just Stand There And Let Him Shoot Me.” On the October 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Carson told the hosts that if confronted by a gunman asking him what religion he is, he would “not just stand there and let him shoot me” :
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: You know, people really understood you and, I think, got a good glimpse in your heart when you posted this picture -- went viral online, #I Am Christian. Explain that.
BEN CARSON: Well, you know, the poor families of those individuals had to be hurting so badly. And the fact that -- I believe this nation has Judeo-Christian roots. And why are we so busy trying to give those away for the sake of political correctness? You know, when you give away your identity, you give away your soul, and in the book of Proverbs it says without a vision, the people perish. We can't give away who we are and what we stand for and what our vision is.
BRIAN KILMEADE: But Dr. Carson, if a gunman walks up and puts a gun at you and says, 'What religion are you?' That is the ultimate test of your faith.
CARSON: I'm glad you asked that question because not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, 'Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can't get us all.' [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/6/15]
Fox & Friends Defends Carson From “Completely Irresponsible” Coverage In “Mainstream Media”
Fox & Friends Slams Media For “Completely Irresponsible” Coverage Of Comments. On the October 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said, “We're gonna tell you how mainstream media wet their pants” over Carson's comments the day before. Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck invoked Carson's career as a neurosurgeon, claiming the media “wants to now mischaracterize him as someone who's dancing on graves” :
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: But this is a man who spent 40 years plus bringing people back to life, giving people a chance at life. And the mainstream media wants to now mischaracterize him as someone who's dancing on graves. That's unfair, it's incorrect, and it's irresponsible. It's completely irresponsible to do to this man whose life mission has been to give life and who is simply answering a question, which, by the way, a bunch of universities are now training their students to deal with mass shootings, potential mass shootings, as a hazard, such as a tornado, a hurricane, a mass flood. They're actually training students to deal with situations, particularly in the way that Dr. Ben Carson stated here. He wasn't saying that the victims there didn't do enough to defend themselves.
BRIAN KILMEADE: Wasn't even the question.
HASSELBECK: He's alluding to them being courageous enough to put forward a conversation which says, hey, we have to now think about these situations because they keep happening and how our kids can defend themselves in a gun-free zone, which is by the way is a whole 'nother conversation that needs to be happening right now. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/7/15]
Brian Kilmeade Claims Comments “Had Nothing To Do With Criticizing The Students In Oregon.” On the October 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed Carson's comments were not intended as a judgment of the Oregon shooting victims, explaining that “he was just answering the question” :
KILMEADE: So what they did is they said, I would not just stand there and just shoot me. So it sounds as if, with that tone, that he's saying, like you guys in Oregon, I wouldn't have just stood there. If you listen to the whole thing, he's just saying that one method of -- what I would have done is not answer him, I would have tackled him. Had nothing to do with criticizing the students in Oregon.
HASSELBECK: Not at all, but the mainstream media is running with that. And they're running with that criticism. This is a man who spent the majority of life bringing people back to life. Not stomping on graves. The president of the Federal Law Enforcement Association actually defended Dr. Carson saying this, quote, Dr. Carson's comments may seem tactically reckless but they actually have great merit. We should have learned from 9/11 that if not for the brave passengers on Flight 93 who due to extraordinary courage, the consequences and fatalities may have been worse.
HASSELBECK: Separating it from the tragic events that have occurred, when you take Dr. Carson's point about what he would do. He wasn't saying what he would have done if he were there in that situation. If he were to be in that situation moving forward, colleges and universities right now are giving a relook to their whole self-defense policy and they're now treating the potential of a mass shooter walking into their campuses like any other hazard, like a tornado warning. Like a flooding warning. And they're looking at this and they're re-evaluating their tactics and that's what's leading to, and really starting a brave conversation about what needs to be handled moving forward.
DOOCY: And because that particular campus was a gun free zone, and in fact, the guard didn't seen have guns. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/7/15]
Fox Contributor Stacy Dash Said Mainstream Media Criticism Of Carson's Comments Was Out Of Line Since “He Didn't Mention The Victims.” On the October 7 edition of Fox & Friends, Stacy Dash claimed Carson only mentioned “what he would do personally” and not the victims. Co-host Hasselbeck slammed the media for characterizing the candidate as “heartless” :
STACY DASH: I think he's absolutely right. I would do the same thing. I would state that I am a Christian, and fight.
STEVE DOOCY: Well, you know, and he said later in the day, it is clear if you sit there and let them shoot you, you're going to be dead.
DASH: That's right. So either you're going to die crying or you're going to die fighting. I'd rather die fighting.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: So, Stacy. The mainstream media, though, has turned against Dr. Carson on this, saying that he's being heartless toward those victims that we just saw in the recent shooting on the community campus. Why do you think that is?
DASH: I have no idea. Because he didn't mention the victims. He mentioned himself personally. What he would do personally.
DOOCY: It's a common sense approach to you, and yet, if you were watching any of the other channels yesterday, they were blowing this up, they were calling them controversial comments. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/7/15]