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CNN: Politico's Carson Story 'Not Accurate on Key Points'

CNN: Politico's Carson Story 'Not Accurate on Key Points'
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By    |   Saturday, 07 November 2015 10:35 AM

Politico was not "accurate on key points" in its controversial story about leading GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson's West Point claims, CNN reports.

The CNN report, by former Politico media reporter Dylan Byers, pulled apart the initial article, saying that Politico was not only inaccurate about what Carson claimed about West Point, but also about his claim that he met and had dinner with Gen. William Westmoreland, who directed military strategy during the Vietnam War.

Politico added a note after publishing its article, saying it stands by the story, but it removed language saying the GOP candidate "fabricated" his version of the decades-ago events. It also toned down several other items after the story was initially posted, including the headline. The first headline, "Exclusive: Ben Carson Admits Fabricating West Point Scholarship," was changed to "Exclusive: Carson Claimed West Point 'Scholarship' But Never Applied."

The first headline drew outcry from Carson business manager Armstrong Williams, who complained to CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday that "it's clear that what the Politico writer, with what he was trying to gain with the headline, did not substantiate it with his article."

But the headline wasn't the only thing that drew complaints from the campaign and scrutiny from CNN. Byers' article also said Politico asserted that Carson's campaign admitted "that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point," while not providing any evidence that Carson ever said he'd applied to West Point.

The Politico story did say that Carson has said several times he was offered a "full scholarship" to the military academy, a claim he made in his autobiography "Gifted Hands."

On Friday, the retired neurosurgeon told The New York Times that he was never offered the full scholarship, but instead was given an informal offer to go to school there.

The Politico story also says West Point does not have a record of Carson applying, but West Point officials told CNN Friday that it does not keep records from applications from decades ago, and there was no way to find out if Carson was offered an appointment because he did not attend.

The CNN article also took Politico to task for trying undermine Carson's claim that he met  Westmoreland.

Carson claimed in his book that he had been introduced to Westmoreland on Memorial Day when he was a senior in high school, and had had dinner with the general and several Congressional Medal winners.

But Politico reported that the general's records suggest he was in Washington on Memorial Day 1969, rather than in Detroit having dinner with Carson. However, the Politico piece noted that Westmoreland did attend a banquet in Detroit in February of that year, and Carson, as a ROTC leader, might have been invited.

According to an editor's note added to the Carson story, Politico said it stands behind the story and has updated it to reflect Carson's response.

"Carson said he received a "full scholarship" from West Point, in writing and in public appearances over the years — but in fact he did not and there is actually no such thing as a 'full scholarship' to the taxpayer-funded academy," the note said.

"And today in response to Politico he acknowledged for the first time that was not the case. Carson never explicitly wrote that he had applied for admission to West Point, although that was the clear implication of his claim to have received an offer of a "full scholarship," a point that Politico’s initial report should have made clear."

Carson's campaign told CNN that the Politico story had been "debunked."

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Politico was not accurate on key points in its controversial story about leading GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson's West Point claims, CNN reports.
politico, carson, cnn, key, points, inaccurate
Saturday, 07 November 2015 10:35 AM
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