As Dr. Ben Carson has risen in the Republican polls, he’s made a series of increasingly bizarre statements. In Pennsylvania, he’s tied with billionaire Donald Trump and trails him by five points in Iowa. Carly Fiorina has also cut into Trump’s lead, based on strong appearances in her first two debates.
The popularity of the three candidates can be attributed to all of them making some outlandish claims, along with some racist and xenophobic comments. Carly Fiorina stated that she had seen abortion footage that didn’t exist, Donald Trump says he would make the Mexican government pay for a wall along the southern border, and where do we even start with Ben Carson?
Take for example his recent comments slamming President Obama for meeting with the families of the Oregon shooting. He states that President Obama was politicizing the tragedy, even as he exploited the dubious claims that the shooter targeted Christians in the attack.
This isn’t new; Dr. Ben Carson has been positioning himself as a conservative folk hero for the last couple of years, long before he officially announced his presidential campaign. While Fiorina and Trump are relatively new to the partisan scene, Carson made it a point to endear himself to the GOP with statements about how Obamacare was the worst thing since 9/11 or comparing it to slavery as far back as 2013.
Dr. Ben Carson isn’t a stupid man. Raised by a single, uneducated mother, he went on to graduate from Yale with a degree in psychology and then became a respected neurosurgeon.
The problem with both of them is that, despite the fact that they are both educated and successful medical doctors, both have a track record of pushing questionable “alternative medicine” and debunked claims for personal gain. As National Review reported earlier this year, Ben Carson promoted a company called Mannatech which was sued by fellow conservative and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott who is now governor.
In 2007, three years after Carson’s first dealings with Mannatech, Texas attorney general Greg Abbott sued the company and Caster, charging them with orchestrating an unlawful marketing scheme that exaggerated their products’ health benefits. The original petition in that case paints an ugly picture of Mannatech’s marketing practices. It charges that the company offered testimonials from individuals claiming that they’d used Mannatech products to overcome serious diseases and ailments, including autism, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and life-threatening heart conditions. (Source)
Dr. Ben Carson hasn’t just made dubious medical claims for financial profit, he also did so at the Republican debates when the question of vaccines came up. When Donald Trump tried to link autism to vaccines, Carson refused to correct him as a medical professional, as did Senator Rand Paul who is an ophthalmologist. Both tried to straddle the ideological fence, rather than firmly state that there is absolutely no connection between vaccines and autism, and that science has proven there isn’t.
Dr. Mehmet Oz has also sullied his distinguished career as a medical professional by becoming a TV doctor who pitches trendy diet fads, unfounded dietary science, and “quack medicine” to people who open their wallets to him. In fact, other medical professionals have called upon Columbia University to remove him from their faculty for “manifesting an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.”
Dr. Oz has also been called to testify before the United States Senate where he was grilled by a subcommittee investigating weight loss scams. When called out by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) for pitching a number of “miracle products,” Dr. Oz defended himself by claiming he gave people hope.
The science, she told Oz, “is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called miracles. If it’s something that gives people false hope, I just don’t understand why you have to go there.”
Because, he seemed to imply, false hope is better than no hope.
“My job is to be a cheerleader for the audience,” he explained. “When they don’t think they have hope, I want to look everywhere … for any evidence that might be supportive to them.” (Source)
So here we have two prominent medical professionals who have turned their back on science and reason, abandoning them for financial and political gain. Ben Carson could have firmly corrected Donald Trump on vaccines as a trained medical professional, but he chose to pander to the paranoid fringe of the Republican Party which believes vaccines cause autism or are part of a government conspiracy to control the population. Donald Trump is a TV entertainer, but Dr. Ben Carson is a doctor and he has no excuse.
Like Dr. Oz, Dr. Carson has decided to give false hope, as a political doctor on a mission to tell the ailing Republican Party what they want to hear. He could tell them to get with the times, lose the toxic fringe of the party and start concentrating on delivering a healthier message that might appeal to a greater part of the electorate. However, that’s not what they want to hear, and Ben Carson knows that.
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