- Conservative parts ways with Fox News
- Says he needs freedom to consider his political options
- That may include a 2016 presidential bid
Dr. Ben Carson's path to the White House begins by walking away from Fox News.
On Friday, amid media reports about Carson's preparations to possibly run for president, Carson and Fox confirmed that his relationship with the cable news channel had been severed.
From now on, when Carson appears on Fox, it'll be as a newsmaking guest, not as a paid contributor.
Carson, formerly a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, signed up with Fox back in October 2013. Earlier that year, he had garnered attention for speeches at the National Prayer Breakfast, the Conservative Political Action Conference and elsewhere.
While contributing to Fox programs, he openly flirted with the possibility of a presidential run in 2016. In September, he told the radio host Hugh Hewitt that the chances of a run were "reasonably good," but that he was waiting for a "few more months."
It's been a couple of months, at least. Earlier this week, The Washington Times (which publishes columns by Carson) reported that a flattering documentary about him, titled "A Breath of Fresh Air: A New Prescription for America," is set to air this weekend in local markets across the country.
"A production company run by conservative personality Armstrong Williams filmed the documentary and is paying for the airtime," The Times reported. "Mr. Williams is also Mr. Carson's business manager."
Soon after the hourlong ad telecasts were reported, Fox said Carson was no longer a contributor. Fox took similar action with two contributors, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, in the run-up to the 2012 election.
Carson said in a statement Friday evening that "at this time, no decision has been made to run for president."
"However, recognizing the possibility, Fox News felt I needed complete independence to fully examine my options," he said. "My departure has been thoroughly amicable and is in the best interest for both Fox News and myself."
Fox's own website quoted a GOP strategist, Tyler Harber, as saying, "The man's running. He's been running for two years."