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Ben Carson’s pyramid comments dominate social media chatter, even in Egypt

Ben Carson is getting a lot of media attention now that he’s the frontrunner in the Republican presidential contest. EPA/TANNEN MAURY
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Ben Carson is getting a good taste of the scrutiny that comes with being the Republican presidential frontrunner.

Many of the stories that the retired neurosurgeon has told about his upbringing are now being called into question. A story about hitting a classmate in the head and Carson’s narrative about trying to stab an acquaintance — which has changed several times in his own telling — could not be corroborated by any of the nine friends and witnesses who were contacted by CNN reporters. He’s also getting slammed for comments about falling asleep at the wheel numerous times while driving over the years. His theory that the Egyptian pyramids were built to store grain was mocked yesterday by Rand Paul, who quipped that maybe even aliens built the pyramids.

Carson has been saying out-there stuff for months, but it’s gotten less attention. Recall his recent statement that the Holocaust could have been prevented if Jewish civilians had guns.

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Our analytics partners at Zignal Labs visualize the degree to which Carson has finally come under the klieg lights. Look at how press coverage of Carson has spiked over the last week. Mentions of Carson increased five-fold on Thursday over his daily average at the beginning of last week:

This GIF shows how Carson has occupied an increasingly large share of the Republican chatter and coverage over each of the last seven days, going from 9 percent a week ago to 31 percent now (That means one in three mentions of the GOP presidential candidates is about Carson):

The pyramid gaffe dominated yesterday’s social media mentions of Carson. One-third of the above Carson mentions also mentioned Egypt!

The news has even broken through in Egypt. Since Tuesday, Zignal has tracked more than 120,000 Geo-coded Tweets about Ben Carson. About 150 of those came from Egypt. That’s more mentions than any other candidate, including Donald Trump.

A 17-year-old video surfaced of Republican candidate Ben Carson claiming that the Biblical figure Joseph built the Egyptian pyramids to store food. The Fix's Chris Cillizza explains why this comment will only help Carson's campaign. (Video: Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)