Attkisson Charges ‘Well-Orchestrated Strategy' Underway to Diminish Benghazi Coverage
Former CBS investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson had some harsh words to share about the Obama administration and its supporters while she was a guest on Monday morning's Fox & Friends program.
After viewing some clips from Sunday's edition of ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos in which conservative pundit Laura Ingraham and Democratic analyst David Plouffe clashed over the death of four Americans in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, Attkisson said she believes that a concerted effort is taking place to divert investigations into that deadly attack, an effort that is being orchestrated by people close to the White House. [See video below.]
“Well, the key words they use, such as ‘conspiracy’ and ‘delusional,’ are in my opinion clearly designed to try to controversialize a story -- a legitimate news story and a legitimate area of journalistic inquiry,” Attkisson asserted.
“To some degree, that's been successful,” she added, “but I think primarily among those who don't want to look at this as a story in the first place.”
Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck began the Fox News segment by welcoming Attkinsson to the program and noting that Ingraham took on Plouffe during the previous day's ABC program, “and she let him kinda have it.”
During the first clip, Plouffe charged: “This has been politicized like we've never seen before. Richard Nixon talked about a 'silent majority' back in 1968. There's a very loud, delusional minority that's driving our politics, that's in control of the Republican Party. There's no conspiracy here at all.”
Ingraham sharply disagreed, stating that an email sent by Ben Rhodes, a White House communication advisor, indicates that "from the beginning, the administration saw Benghazi as a political problem."
“The politicizing was going on at the White House,” she noted, “and that email was clear evidence of it.”
Taking a page from 24 hero Jack Bauer's playbook, Plouffe said:
This was happening in real time, As soon as information was identified, it was released. That’s why over the course of those weeks, we knew exactly what happened.
There was no politicalization. [Obama] in the Rose Garden talked about it as a terrorist attack. What is happening here, and it’s stoked by the talk radio personalities and Fox News, is an alternative reality.
“Oh, here’s the blame game,” Ingraham replied. “You’re masters of this. It’s Fox News’s fault.”
Also during Sunday's program, the radio show host stated:
We have four dead Americans. A U.S. ambassador’s body was dragged through the streets, okay? It was beyond heartbreaking and infuriating. No one in custody. Have an arrest warrant out. No one in custody. And in the immediate aftermath, the response was to go political.
If this were George Bush, [if he] would have done anything like this, you would be going nuts on it. You would be going ballistic.
“The only difference here is that the Bush administration did not put out a false narrative as situations,” added former U.S. senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania. “[The Obama administration] put out a narrative that was not supported by the evidence. … George Bush did not try to move the ball, to deflect it.”
Back on Monday, co-host Brian Kilmeade joined the conversation by stating:
It's interesting that in the past, when something [popped] up, that there was an ongoing investigation about Valerie Plame, for example, you had George Bush say 'I'm going to get a special prosecutor involved,' and he demanded everybody cooperate with the investigation.
Now you have someone, an administration that just puts up blocking signs everywhere you go and tries to go after those who are asking the questions.
He added that Attkisson is “hardly somebody who goes after conservative causes. You go after everybody. So you just are pursuing this story like anything else. How is the answer you're getting different from anything else?”
“I basically am trying to keep my nose to the grindstone,” Attkisson replied, “and if I were influenced by the left-wing blogs and people who are trying to steer the public in a certain way, I would be left covering pretty much nothing but the weather now.”
“I'm still continuing to do what I see as my job, but I can tell you that other investigative journalists have noticed the trend that you've mentioned,” she said.
“I was at a conference about a week and a half ago, and there were reporters, Pulitzer Prize winners from the New York Times and other publications, who were all raising red flags about what the Obama administration has done in terms of restrictions to press freedoms," Attkisson noted, and they were saying things like: 'We have to speak truth to power, and stand up and take action.'”
Let's hope that happens very soon.