Following an ABC News report that Fox News contributor Ben Carson is set to air an hourlong ad/documentary* “introducing himself to the American people” as part of a 2016 Republican presidential bid, Fox News has cut ties with him, according to aFox spokeswoman. The video is titled “A Breath of Fresh Air: A New Prescription for America” and, according to ABC News, will be heavily biographical, addressing Carson’s “rise from being born to a single mother with a poor childhood in Detroit to director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins for almost 40 years, known for his work separating conjoined twins.”
The next step in that progression is a surprise to absolutely no one. Carson, 63, has openly talked of the appeal of running for president, including on the airwaves of Fox News. On an edition of “Fox News Sunday” on Sept. 28, for instance, host Chris Wallace noted that Carson had previously cited a strong “likelihood” of his candidacy. He then asked the former pediatric neurosurgeon: “Do you really want to spend the next two years begging people for money, shaking hands, eating a lot of bad meals, when I think you would agree at best you are a distinct long shot?”
Carson responded, “Well, let me put it this way. It would be much more pleasant to put my feet up, to relax. You know, I’ve made plenty of money, I can live a very comfortable life, and that would be my preference. However, given the state of our nation, looking at what’s going on, and understanding that sometimes we’re called to do things that we don’t want to do because we have to do them, and we look at the future of our children, our grandchildren, all the people who come behind us, if we all run for the hills, if we all run for the most comfortable place and just allow whatever to happen happen, then we get what we deserve.”
Carson at one point expressed concern that a 2016 election might not even be held because there might be “so much anarchy going on.”
In the 2012 election cycle, Fox News ended the contributorships of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as those men moved toward presidential bids. A similar cutoff occurred with Scott Brown, who was a Fox News contributor prior to his failed 2014 New Hampshire Senate campaign.
The Fox News spokeswoman says that Carson understood the network’s reasons for terminating his contributor status and that the two parted amicably.
* Correction: Based on a news report, this item originally put the length of the video at 40 minutes. However, Carson’s business manager, Armstrong Williams of Armstrong Williams Productions, tells the Erik Wemple Blog that the length of the video is actually 58 minutes and 30 seconds. Williams also insists that the video is not an ad but rather a documentary. Given the business relationship between Williams and Carson, we’ll go with the hybrid “ad/documentary.”