On Friday, in a press conference in Florida following hard on a Politico story that made clear he had never been offered a full scholarship to West Point, Carson insisted that his supporters "understand that this is a witch hunt."
Carson's message, boiled down to its simplest terms, is this: I am being unfairly targeted by a liberal media uncomfortable with the idea of a non-politician with deep religious conviction as the frontrunner for a major party's presidential nomination.
To which I would say: He's got it half right. Carson is being scrutinized because he is the frontrunner for a major party's presidential nomination. The same way Donald Trump -- and his finances -- are. The same way Marco Rubio -- and his finances -- are. The same way Hillary Clinton -- and her e-mails -- are. The same way frontrunners for nomination -- Democratic and Republican -- are.
When you are in the handful of people running for the most powerful job in the country, the job of the press is to educate the public about who you are -- based on the things you have done in your life. Carson, unlike Rubio or Clinton or Jeb Bush, doesn't have a record of votes or positions taken in elected office that help paint a picture of what sort of president he might be.
So, how then can reporters try to understand and explain Carson to the public? By telling -- and examining -- his remarkable personal story, which sits at the center of his I-am-not-a-politician appeal. And, even if you l-o-v-e Carson, you have to admit that not everything exactly checks out about that background at the moment.
Politico may have gone too far in insisting Carson "fabricated" his memory that he had been admitted with a full scholarship to West Point. He says that in a meeting with General William Westmoreland it was intimated to him that he could have a scholarship if he wanted one. But, Westmoreland's records suggest he wasn't in Detroit when Carson said they met. And, even if the two met, saying "Hey you are a smart dude and would be a great candidate for admission at West Point" isn't the same thing as being formally offered admittance. It's just not.
And, even if you support Carson, you should find it slightly strange that nine people who grew up with him in Detroit told CNN said that his recounting of his troubled youth and angry temperament don't jibe with their remembrances. Or that, when pressed, Carson has refused to name even a single person involved in several of the incidents of violence he wrote about in "Gifted Hands," his memoir. "I'm not giving any information about who the person was that I tried to knife," Carson told Jansing Saturday in one of the most amazing quotes ever from a presidential candidate.
None of the above means that Carson is a fabulist or that he shouldn't be president. But, the idea that the questions raised about inconsistencies in his personal story are somehow out of bounds or the result of some sort of "witch hunt" is equally ridiculous. And, simply because Carson says it doesn't make it any more true.
It's called vetting. It's how the press helps the public learn everything they can about the people running for the presidency. If you want to run for the big job, you have to be ready for all that comes with it. This ain't bean bag, after all.