Ingraham and Hume Scold NYT’s Zeleny and Media for Not Pursuing Obama Administration’s Dissembling on Libya

With New York Times political reporter Jeff Zeleny sitting next to her on the Fox News Sunday set, radio host Laura Ingraham demanded: “I would hope that the New York Times, as they camped outside of Scooter Libby’s house, during the whole Valerie Plame thing -- are you guys camped out of the Susan Rice residence?” After reciting the administration’s dissembling, she concluded: “This is ridiculous and I think the press is partly culpable here.”

Zeleny avoided her point and instead contended Mitt Romney has an opening at the next debate to question President Obama, conceding Obama “hasn’t really explained himself and they have a lot of questions to answer.”

To which Brit Hume scoffed: “I do think Laura’s made a good point. It shouldn’t be up to the campaign and candidates to try to get to the bottom of this before election day. This should be a job for all the good investigative reporters in the media to be out on this story...”

Yes, it “should be,” but it’s not.

Audio: MP3 clip

One glimmer of light: CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday led with Libya, though host Bob Schieffer asked Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, re the hearings this week held by Republican Congressman Darrel Issa: “Do you think this was simply a witch hunt?”

From the October 14 Fox News Sunday:

LAURA INGRAHAM: I would hope that the New York Times, as they camped outside of Scooter Libby’s house, during the whole Valerie Plame thing -- are you guys camped out of the Susan Rice residence? Seriously, whether she was put out as a sacrificial lamb or not. We have a dead ambassador, two Navy SEALs dead, another security officer dead. The President answers this the next morning by flying to Vegas for a fundraiser. I submit that if it were a Republican President and this went done this way you’d have reporters camped outside of Hillary’s house, Rice’s house and demand that the President do a full-blown press conference on what happened. Maybe it’s just incompetence, maybe it’s a series of innocent mistakes, but my goodness when you have three violent attacks inside Benghazi, on the Red Cross office, the consulate and then postings on Facebook that we’re coming after you on September 10th. They didn’t have actionable intelligence? What? I mean, this is ridiculous and I think the press is partly culpable here.

JEFF ZELENY: ...I think the Obama administration and the campaign has created a pretty large opening here for Governor Romney to make the broader argument about competence and leadership and things, and it is up to the President to answer some of these questions. I don’t think we have all of the answers right now, and I’m fascinated to see how he’s going to respond, you know, when asked by a real person or when asked next week by a moderator about this. He hasn’t had many press conferences, he hasn’t really explained himself and they have a lot of questions to answer.
.....

BRIT HUME: Well, without suggesting that Jeff ought to leave early and get over to Susan Rice’s residence, I do think Laura’s made a good point. It shouldn’t be up to the campaign and candidates to try to get to the bottom of this before election day. This should be a job for all the good investigative reporters in the media to be out on this story, investigative teams such as they are should be all over this. This does have, it seems to me, an extremely strong scent of cover-up and it does looks like that it was engineered in some way. There’s just something about those five appearances on a Sunday with a story that they had to know was off base. That doesn’t smell right and ought to be exposed.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center