Anyone at all familiar with Thomas Jefferson is well aware of our third president’s vital influence on the crafting of the American Constitution. While Jefferson is primarily known as the chief author of the Declaration of Independence and James Madison is primarily known as the early architect of what would become our Constitution and the prime mover behind the Bill of Rights, the two men were close friends, lived not very far apart in Virginia, and kept regular correspondence.
Jefferson and Madison were of like political minds, and during the Constitutional Convention, while Jefferson was across an ocean as U.S. Minister to France, the two men enjoyed an intense and productive correspondence about what the U.S. Constitution should look like.
My media hero of the week (more on this below), USA Today editor David Mastio, accurately sums up the rest of the story:
After the Constitution Convention was over, Jefferson had this other idea called a “Bill of Rights,” which you might have heard is a part of the Constitution. Jefferson sorta played a key role in all that First Amendment, Second Amendment stuff. If you don’t believe me, go ask the American Civil Liberties Union, which is big on rights like free speech and freedom of religion.
Saith the ACLU: “The American Bill of Rights, inspired by Jefferson and drafted by James Madison, was adopted, and in 1791 the Constitution’s first 10 amendments became the law of the land.”
The ACLU even quotes Jefferson’s argument: “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse.”
To get the basics of Jefferson’s role in the creation of the Bill of Rights, which are, as I mentioned, a pretty important part of the Constitution, all you have to do is read the Spark Notes version. Or you can get it in easy Q&A format from the U.S. Archives.
Not to take anything away from Mr. Mastio, who did a righteous thing defending Ben Carson, but none of this is a secret, or hidden history. It’s not even deep-dive history. Anyone who has picked up a biography of Jefferson or Madison is well aware of this.
Apparently, the following news outlets – CNN, Politico, and the Washington Post – have not picked up that biography, or they are intentionally smearing Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson… again.
During a Monday appearance on C-Span, Carson said, quite correctly, that he admired Jefferson primarily for his role in helping to craft the Constitution:
But I’m particularly impressed with Thomas Jefferson, who seemed to have very deep insight into the way that people would react and tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control people’s national tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.
The reaction from the DC Media on Twitter was not just instantaneously ignorant, it was fantastically ignorant. Within moments my Twitter stream was buried in smug reporters laughing and dehumanizing the black apostate conservative who doesn’t – har, har – know the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Except, as Mr. Mastio points out, they are all wrong.
One-hundred percent wrong.
Rather than crack open a book or use that Google-thingy right in front of them, Politico, The Washington Post, and CNN actually went so far as to publish stories claiming Carson got it wrong.
Worse still, but to no one’s surprise, all three outlets have refused to properly correct their provable errors.
Politico’s Nolan McCaskill:
Carson says, wrongly, that Thomas Jefferson crafted the Constitution…
The problem: Jefferson crafted the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. In fact, Carson noted Jefferson’s absence in his book, “A More Perfect Union,” writing that he was “missing in action” during the birth of the Constitution as he served abroad as ambassador to France.
I’ve reached out to McCaskill to ask if he is going to correct his post. As of now, he has not responded. This is the same Politico that admitted to lying (only after being caught) about Carson’s West Point story.
CNN’s Gregory Krieg:
Carson flubs Thomas Jefferson’s role in the Constitution…
But as the Washington Post noted Monday morning, Jefferson was a no-show at the Constitutional Convention and was instead an ocean away in Paris as Minister to France, while his North American-based colleagues were crafting the foundational document.
I’ve reached out to Krieg to ask if he intends to correct his story. As of now, he has not yet responded. This is the same CNN that published racially-motivated serial lies about key elements in Carson’s biography.
Via Twitter, Mastio tells me CNN did update the piece. Nevertheless, the incorrect headline remains.
Washington Post’s Fred Barbash:
Ben Carson, author of book about the Constitution, incorrectly states that Thomas Jefferson crafted it…
That did not stop Carson from praising Jefferson in a C-Span interview Sunday as one of the most impressive of the Founding Fathers because he “tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control peoples’ natural tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.”
I’ve reached out to Barbask to ask if he intends to correct his story. As of now, he has not responded. This is the same Washington Post that lied about Carson comparing Syrian refugees to rabid dogs.
When the entire media has risen up and proclaimed that This Is The Narrative, it cannot be easy for one of their own to say, “Actually, uhm, you’re 100% wrong.” The USA Today’s David Mastio deserves enormous credit for publishing the truth and doing so using the mockery deserved.