For politicians seeking elective office, there is a primary rule they are supposed to learn early in their career. It is that every media opportunity must not be about what the interviewer wants to know, but about what you want to say. Is that self-serving and perhaps even narcissistic? Absolutely, next question please.
When Chris Cuomo (CNN- New Day Show) sat down to interview the possible 2016 GOP contender, Dr. Carson should have known that the apology he issued later in the day was the goal of the interviewer from the very beginning. The goal of the interviewer is to get some sound bite that will make the phones light up and the email servers melt down. Every click on their website following an interview is money in their pocket from advertisers. News is not intended for information but for revenue. It is a business, pure and simple. I am not denying that a political agenda dominates what passes for journalism these days; that is an established reality. Going into an interview or speaking engagement with that reality in mind will not only help decrease the number of clarifications, apologies, and oral foot-ectomies one has to do, it could help sharpen a politicians message and improve their communication skills as well.
Here is an alternative to how the Cuomo-Carson interview might have gone.
Taken from the actual interview (not be verbatim, but close)
Dr. Carson: We should follow the Constitution which says that decisions about civil issues should be decided at the state level because the state judiciary is responsible to the people.
Chris Cuomo: What if a state votes to say that gay people do not have equal rights as they did before with slavery.
Dr. Carson: And we used the Constitution to correct those errors.
Chris Cuomo: And is that not what we are doing now. We are using the Constitution to correct the unequal treatment of a minority who only want what others are entitled to.
Here is where Carson launched into his “gay is a choice statement,” and lost the match, so I propose an alternate scenario:
Me as Ben Carson: Look Chris, I believe in the Constitution completely as the foundation of our liberty. If there is a Constitutional issue at stake in this debate it is that the Federal Government has no authority to say who should get married. This is another example of government using an issue to invent a principle, and follow that with more and more intrusion into our private lives and continued erosion of our liberties. The supposed outrage at the Federal level about gay marriage is no different than the debate we supposedly had about health care. While the Constitution gives the Federal government absolutely no right to dictate individual health care choices, unfortunate incidents in the lives of some were used as an excuse to encroach on the lives of everybody. The result was what it always is in these cases. We now have a completely unwieldy program sapping resources we don’t have to supply healthcare we did not ask for whose premiums are more than what we were spending in the first place.
(Very short breath here) We also have borders we can’t secure, terrorists we refuse to identify, our veterans are dying on specious waiting lists at VA hospitals, and taxes keep going up while results go down. Rather than waste time trying to figure out whether Billy Bob should marry Suzie or Stan pales in comparison to the myriad of threats our nation is facing. So why don’t we talk about the really important issues for a change.
Me as Chris Cuomo: UHHHH…. Well….. Thank you Dr. Carson, it’s been a pleasure having you on the program.
That’s how you do an interview Dr. Carson.