Fact-Checkers Pounce on Ben Carson's 'Bald-Faced Lie'
His denial of relationship with controversial company Mannatech is under scrutiny
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2015 12:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – During Wednesday night's debate, Ben Carson took a question about his relationship with a company called Mannatech that makes dietary supplements and has been accused by officials at the state and federal level of shady health claims. His reply:

  • "Well, that’s easy to answer. I didn’t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda, and this is what happens in our society. Total propaganda. I did a couple of speeches for them, I do speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product."

Today, though, critics are accusing Carson of trying to gloss over his ties to the company. The Wall Street Journal previously reported on his paid speeches and promotional videos for the company, including one in which he spoke of taking Mannatech products after a diagnosis of prostate cancer more than a decade ago. “Within about three weeks my symptoms went away, and I was really quite amazed,” he told sales associates, as captured in a 2004 video. Carson said he even considered passing on surgery, though he went ahead with the procedure and is cancer-free today. Some examples of the criticism he's taking:

  • Politifact: It rates the "no involvement" claim as false. "As far as we can tell, Carson was not a paid employee or official endorser of the product. However, his claim suggests he has no ties to Mannatech whatsoever. In reality, he got paid to deliver speeches to Mannatech and appeared in promotional videos, and he consistently delivered glowing reviews of the nutritional supplements. As a world-renowned surgeon, Carson’s opinion on health issues carries weight, and Mannatech has used Carson’s endorsement to its advantage."
  • National Review: "His declarations that 'I didn’t have an involvement with them' and 'absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them' are just bald-faced lies," writes Jim Geraghty. "Carson’s lack of due diligence before working with the company is forgivable. His blatant lying about it now is much harder to forgive."
  • The Atlantic: "Presidential candidates frequently stretch the truth," writes Matt Ford. "But Carson's outright denial seems egregious even by that standard. His relationship with the company is lengthy and well-documented, which makes his response even more bizarre."