Ben Carson comment flashback: US would be Cuba without Fox News

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is clarifying past remarks that have come under intense scrutiny, including a suggestion that the U.S. would be like communist Cuba if Fox News didn’t exist.

Last October, the retired neurosurgeon — who was a paid contributor at the network at the time — said at an event at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, “Even if all the media tries to shut you down, which they have tried very much to do with me, but they can’t because the good Lord has provided me with mechanisms like my syndicated column and Fox News. We’d be like Cuba if there were no Fox News, I ought to tell you.”

RELATED: Carson defends alternative theory about ancient Egyptian pyramids

Carson — who has recently emerged as a top-tier candidate — became testy when he was pressed about his comments during an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Friday morning. Camerota asked the GOPer, “You mean that if Fox News didn’t exist, we would be a communist country?”

Carson shot back: “There you go with sensationalism. That’s what you try to do. You hope somehow that will resonate with people who don’t think for themselves. I’ve got news for you, people are a lot smarter than you think they are … and they know exactly what I’m talking about.”

The two went back and forth, with Carson arguing that the “general mainstream media all seems to move in a secular progressive direction,” but Fox News came into the picture and offered an alternative lens.

The candidate is also coming under the microscope over his claims that he had a violent childhood past, as some organizations have tried — and failed — to verify his account.  He stood by his story on Friday when speaking with Camerota and called the questions over the incidents “garbage.”

Some of Carson’s other past declarations are also being scrutinized, including an assertion that “many” Americans are “stupid” and another past argument that ancient Egyptian pyramids were used for storing grain and not — as many experts believe — as tombs for Egyptian pharaohs. 

Ben Carson

Ben Carson comment flashback: US would be Cuba without Fox News