Bob Beckel plays a role on Fox and he plays it well. But sometimes he plays it too well. Yesterday on The Five he lit into Dr. Benjamin Carson for Carson’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. Beckel’s basic complaint is reasonable enough: the prayer breakfast is supposed to be non-partisan and he thinks Carson was too partisan. People can reasonably disagree on that. But he went on to rip into Carson personally (he did it again on America’s Newsroom this morning). According to Beckel, Carson is looking for his “15 minutes of fame” and wants to make a million dollars somehow (he was cut off before he could explain how Carson will get $1 million dollars).
This is pretty shabby and ignorant stuff. Carson would be remembered in the history books long beyond Beckel, even if he never spoke at the breakfast. He was profiled on 60 Minutes decades ago. He’s mentioned as a Baltimore institution in The Wire and he even plays himself in the underrated movie Stuck On You. There have been plays about him and a movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr. Oh, and he’s a huge pioneer in his field. The only way money entered into his Prayer Breakfast speech was his plea for donations to a scholarship fund he runs. The selfish bastard!
Beckel fumes that Carson offered nothing but “extreme right-wing talking points” in his remarks. But if that’s Beckel’s reaction after actually watching Carson’s speech, that’s an indictment of Beckel, not Carson. The urge to delegitimize people who say things we don’t want to hear is a bipartisan problem, but given that Beckel so often preens about his compassion, it’s particularly galling to see him try to demonize a man who has done more for poor inner-city black folks than he ever will.