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Lies Presidential Candidates Told This Week: All-Ben Carson Edition

Carson has told several different stories about his allegedly violent past.

It's been a pretty amazing seven days in the life of Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. And so, because it's our job and we take our job seriously, this round of "Lies Presidential Candidates Told This Week" is dedicated solely to the somnambulant retired neurosurgeon. Some of the things Carson said this week (combined with questions that were asked about his past) were confusing, others seemed a bit iffy and a few just plain defied logic.

Here are three truth bombs the man Martin Short called "The Human Quaalude" dropped on us this week that we tried to judge on our patented 1-5 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ scale:

Fox News Has Saved Us From Communism

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The Lie: "We'd be Cuba if there were no Fox News, I ought to tell you," Carson said last October during one of his earliest rants against "the media."

Okay, technically that didn't happen this week, but in the regular course of vetting serious candidates that, yes Dr. Carson, everyone is subjected to (just ask Hillary Clinton), the above quote was resurfaced this week by Mother Jones and Media Matters. In it, we found out that in October 2014 the surprisingly popular populist candidate claimed that unnamed forces were trying to wrest control of the country and that he was lucky he had a syndicated column for Fox News to spread his truth.

"In terms of infiltrating the school systems. In terms of infiltrating the media. All of this—they've done a great job. Everything was perfect. Except they underestimated the intelligence of the American people. The people are not as stupid as they think they are. Many of them are stupid. Okay. But I'm talking about overall."

The Truth: Sure, there's no objective way to prove that "many" Americans are stupid, or smart, but consider for a moment that Fox News launched in 1996 and that America, for more than 200 years before and ever since, has remained a democratic nation by all reliable metrics, and Carson's comments sound pretty absurd.

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About That Stabby, Stabby Violent Past...

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The Lie: One of the reasons Carson is in a tie with Donald Trump in Iowa is because of his appeal to that state's strong Evangelical voter base. And that appeal is largely based on his story of the spiritual epiphany he had after an alleged string of violent incidents as a teen.

Among them: The Yale-educated physician (who Politico reports this week was NOT offered a full scholarship to West Point as his book also claims) has written that as a wild and free 14-year-old he hit someone in the head with a lock and attacked his mother with a hammer.

His 1990 autobiography, "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story," also includes detailed accounts of punching a classmate in the face and tossing a huge rock at another boy.

But when CNN reached out to nine people who knew Carson during that period of "pathological" violence, they all said although they could not directly refute the stories, the tales surprised them. When CNN pressed Carson about the lack of evidence of the alleged incidents that have become such a central part of his redemption narrative, he said that "the only people who would know about the encounters were the people who were victims."

The Truth: In a testy exchange on Friday (Nov. 6) on CNN, Carson called the network's questioning "a bunch of lies," again blaming "the media" for trying to distract voters. Carson had revealed the night before that two victims, "Bob" and "Jerry," were fictions pseudonyms he used to protect their identities, though that was not disclosed in the book or in previous interviews.

"I don't like to generally bring them in, the names I used for instance are fictitious names because I don't want to bring people into something like this because I know what you guys do to their lives‎," Carson told reporters in Florida.

Asked again by CNN to explain the fake names, Carson claimed that Bob is "a very real person. I talked to him yesterday... he's a family member and, you know, I don't want to expose him further." On Thursday, he described the person he allegedly tried to stab over an argument about changing the radio station in a car -- and whose life was miraculously saved by a metal belt buckle that took the blow -- as "a close relative," though he'd previous said it was a classmate.

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The Real, Gluten-Stuffed Story Of The Pyramids

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The Lie: Another throwback oldie that got some fresh light this week was a 1998 commencement speech Carson gave at the Seventh Day Adventist-founded Andrews University (Carson is a member of that denomination) in which he said, "my own personal belief theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain." Asked this week by CBS News if he still holds that belief over the more commonly accepted theory that they were used to inter the pharaohs, Carson said yes.

(Go to 3:10 mark to hear his version of the story.)

The Truth: A person's religious beliefs are their own business, but as CBS pointed out when Carson said the pyramids were "hermetically sealed" in order to "preserve grain for a long period of time," he might have been confusing some facts with a story from the book Genesis.

BuzzFeed asked Yale Egyptology professor John C. Darnell if the grain theory held any truth. Though it was a popular theory in the Middle Ages, he said, well, no.

"The primary content of the pyramids are stones, they would be elaborate massive structures with little internal space to be used as storage of anything," he explained, adding that the story of Joseph in the Old Testament is set at the time of Egypt's Middle Kingdom, which was about five centuries after the pyramids were built. "Pyramids. Not Granaries. We know this with 100 [percent] certainty."

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