Obama-boosting MSNBC Contributor Reid Annoyed with Ron Fournier's Quest for Truth in Benghazi Fiasco

As more information comes to light regarding the attacks on our embassy in Benghazi, now seems like a perfect time to examine how an objective journalist deals with the Obama administration's evolving view of the attack as opposed to how an Obama-boosting one does. Viewers of the 10 a.m. hour of MSNBC programming got to see such a sharp contrast this morning.

Speaking with fill-in host Richard Lui on Jansing & Co., Joy-Ann Reid of TheGrio.com and Ron Fournier of National Journal were brought on to discuss the recent revelations that former CIA Director Petraeus knew within 24-hours that the attack on our embassy was an act of terrorism.  Hearing the responses from Ms. Reid and Mr. Fournier could not offer a better contrast between Reid's bias and Fournier's dissatisfaction with swallowing whole the media's storyline.  [See video below page break.  MP3 audio here.]

Following Petraeus’ testimony and an interview with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Fournier said that he still remained skeptical about the timeline of events as to why the Obama Administration continued to blame a YouTube video for the attacks despite the CIA claiming it was terrorist related:

I think folks would like to know when was it that the CIA had a definitive proof this was a terrorist attack and why wasn't that information brought to the public immediately? I'm kind of struck by the questions about the affair. I would think that if Petraeus did compromise national security because of this affair, he put himself in a bad position he should be held accountable obviously and if General Allen or Petraeus violated the military code of conduct obviously he should be held accountable.

Contrasting this is Joy-Ann Reid who throughout the segment seemed puzzled over what the actual purpose of the hearings was, going so far as to say:

The administration was given an assessment by the CIA. Susan Rice was the person who went to the public and gave that assessment to the public. When that information changed, the information was given to the public that was new. So I am really not sure what it is that Mr. Fournier and others are looking for because I don't know that there’s anything beyond that.  

Reid followed this up by ridiculously asking, “So the issue is the word terrorism weren’t used to the public satisfaction?  I’m not sure I understand what the scandal is.”  No Ms. Reid, the issue is not over the word terrorism being used. 

The issue as Mr. Fournier pointed out was why the Obama Administration stubbornly clung for days to the explanation that the attack was a YouTube video protest gotten out of hand, sending Amb. Rice on Sunday morning interview programs to peddle the same spin.

Ms. Reid is not the first MSNBC employee to question the investigation in Libya and she seems perfectly content not just accepting the Obama administration’s talking points without skepticism by attacking journalists like Fournier who still smell something fishy and want answers. 

 

See relevant transcript below.


MSNBC

Jansing and Co.

November 16, 2012

10:10 a.m. EDT

RICHARD LUI: Back to our journalists who are with us, Ron [Fournier], to you first here, from what you heard from the Congressman does that help answer some of the questions that you had?

RON FOURNIER: No, it doesn't. Hopefully more will come out of these hearings and follow-up reporting by journalists. I think folks would like to know when was it that the CIA had a definitive proof this was a terrorist attack and why wasn't that information brought to the public immediately? I'm kind of struck by the questions about the affair. I would think that if Petraeus did compromise national security because of this affair, he put himself in a bad position he should be held accountable obviously and if General Allen or Petraeus violated the military code of conduct obviously he should be held accountable. But really the big story here is there are still men and women fighting and dying in Afghanistan and I would think if I'm one of those soldiers over there or a member of their family I'd be more interested in us covering that story and being focused on what is happening or not happening there than the personal lives of these men.

LUI: Joy-Ann [Reid] to you here, you know Petraeus was the only member of the security team that was able to go back to Benghazi since that attack. Is the big question here really timing when you look at it?  I mean did the administration know this was a terrorist attack right away and if so, what Susan Rice said on Meet the Press they're trying to put the timing together with that.  And what does that really say about the video, the reasoning that was given?

 JOY-ANN REID: Right, I think what we recall that the president did call it an act of terror the first time he spoke of the attack there.  And I think if the question is that it is the most important to the public is whether the word "terrorism" was used early enough I'm not sure what the meat of that supposed scandal would be. I think that if there was some sort of a conspiracy you'd have to believe that the head of the CIA General Petraeus, a man that the Republican Party once wanted or thought of as a potential presidential nominee, would have had to conspire to lie essentially about the details of an attack on our own compound. Is that really what is being alleged here because I don't think that even members of the Congress on the Republican side are alleging that.  So I'm really not sure what they're trying to get at. The administration was given an assessment by the CIA. Susan Rice was the person who went to the public and gave that assessment to the public. When that information changed, the information was given to the public that was new. So I am really not sure what it is that Mr. Fournier and others are looking for because I don't know that there’s anything beyond that.   

FOURNIER: Just to be clear, I'm not saying that there's necessarily a conspiracy. What I'm saying is there was a lack of clarity. If the president was indeed clear that first day in saying that this was a terrorist act which by the way I don't think he was that clear, he was speaking generally, then why would Susan Rice a few days later not refer to it as a terrorist act? The fact of the matter is –

REID: So the issue is the word terrorism weren’t used to the public satisfaction?  I’m not sure I understand what the scandal is.   

FOURNIER: One day it was vaguely described. The president is saying that he referred to terror one day and then several days later the Secretary or Susan Rice doesn't even refer to terrorism. She is talking about – linking it right back to the video. The facts weren't clear and clearly described from the beginning.

REID: But isn't that an attack on our compound by definition an act of terror? I'm really not sure that I understand exactly what -- if the scandal is that the public wasn't given the right nomenclature then I'm really not really sure why we're having hearings about that.

LUI: And Joy-Ann and Ron we have 90 minutes more in the Senate where David Petraeus is answering questions.  Perhaps we’ll get more answers to what happened, regarding with the issue you’re talking about and more.   

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.