Bozell Column: Reporters Say 'Libya, Schmibya'
Hillary Clinton declared while traveling in Peru – weeks after the 9/11 attacks on our consulate in Benghazi – that she was taking responsibility for the dreadful lack of security that cost the lives of our Ambassador to Libya and three others. But when a CBS reporter asked who’d given false information to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to broadcast nationally via five different Sunday TV interviews, Hillary’s answer was classic Clintonian: You’ll have to ask her.
How’s that for “taking responsibility”? And where, oh where, are the media now?
Will the media elites finally take responsibility to demand answers about this outrageous coverup of a terrorist attack? Or is re-electing Obama is more important than demanding the Obama administration answer the questions about Libya?
Some media outlets – including CNN, which walked out of the consulate with the ambassador’s journal – have been working on this story. But so many journalists and pundits have circled the wagons. Amazingly, but not surprisingly, they are suggesting there is no need to hold the Administration accountable.
The day after Darrell Issa’s House hearing into the failures in Libya, The New York Times relegated the story to page A-3 and an editor huffed “There were six better stories” on the front page. On NPR’s “Diane Rehm Show,” Times reporter Sheryl Stolberg fell in line, stating no one could argue with Joe Biden’s counter-factual claim, during the vice presidential debate, that they had no knowledge of requests for better security in Libya.
Stolberg insisted Biden “said we were very honest with the American people. We were giving the American people the intelligence as we got it. We are investigating this -- what happened here. If there are intelligence lapses, we will make certain they never happen again. So, you know, I don't think you could argue with that.”
Except that it wasn’t true. The White House knew it was a terrorist attack within 24 hours – yet continued, for days, blaming a silly video virtually no one’s ever seen.
Journalists claim they check and double-check everything. But apparently, Stolberg thinks every word that escapes in the hot breath of Joe Biden is unquestionably valid.
Later that day on NPR, both the liberal analyst and the faux-conservative analyst of their “Week In Politics” segment agreed that pressing for answers on this Libya thing was a political loser. Liberal columnist E.J. Dionne insisted: “Republicans are bringing up Benghazi, which [while it] is important, it's a tragic, awful thing that happened, but it will not be a voting issue.”
So-called conservative columnist David Brooks echoed Dionne, as usual: “I have no idea why Mitt Romney's talking about Benghazi. I think it's a tragedy what's happened there, but it's not central. It's not as if it's an illegitimate thing to talk about. But I think it is very hard for them to make the case that Biden knew what he didn't know.”
Unless of course, he knew. Once again, Biden is innocent before anyone knows what happened and why.
It’s amazing that liberals insisted during the Bush years that the president was the dimmest of dimwits, yet he was also responsible for every foreign-policy mistake. Now the geniuses Obama and Biden can claim complete ignorance when our diplomats die, and no worries.
In the Bush years, bad intelligence was pinned squarely on Bush as commander-in-chief. In the Obama years, bad intelligence somehow absolves the White House.
Then there are the bald-faced MSNBC attempts at wagon-circling. On “Morning Joe” on Monday, online executive editor Richard Wolffe declared Libya was “an incredibly chaotic situation for them, in the beginning, and they have to make statements that frankly weren't really sourced right. That's their problem, that you've got intelligence reports coming through that aren't actually factual. And then you’ve got a cleanup job.” But the voters will forgive: “I don't think this is going to play a dime’s worth of difference in terms of the election outcome....most voters will say, Osama Bin Laden’s gone. Even if you look at Libya to the extent that anyone understands Libya, Gaddafi’s gone.”
Earth to Richard Wolffe. When Team Bush captured Saddam Hussein, was that all that mattered? When Saddam was executed, was that then all that mattered? No. MSNBC’s own Richard Engel called the execution “a major public relations blow for the US administration.” NBC anchor Tom Brokaw said it was “folly” for parents to volunteer their children for the mission of rebuilding Iraq.
Hillary Clinton is behaving like a Clinton. The media are covering her like they cover Clintons. It’s deja vu all over again.