PBS Analyst Mark Shields: House Benghazi Hearings 'Will Be A Disaster'

PBS NewsHour analyst Mark Shields started with an admission on Benghazi on Friday night: “Has the White House been transparent? Absolutely not.”

But he lamented that the House special committee hearings “will be a disaster. It won’t be good for the country.” It’s only being done for the Tea Party and Fox News. Apparently, hearings are only productive and wonderful when run by liberal Democrats like Henry Waxman:

SHIELDS: In this — two sentences in a four-page memo to Susan Rice, in which they said, just emphasize the Internet video was the primary cause of the outburst, that, I think, was the road or the mile, the bridge too far for John Boehner.

John Boehner didn’t want these hearings, and he had 190 Republicans sign on that they did, and he held them off because it’s going to be a disaster. It will be a disaster. It won’t be good for the country.

Running congressional hearings, the short list of successful congressional hearings have been run by exceptional legislators, people of great preparation, a thorough knowledge, a great staff of long time and of deep intelligence, John Dingell, Henry Waxman, Tom Davis, they did on baseball, Carl Levin, Sam Ervin.

Only Davis was a (moderate) Republican. He continued:

And the failures, where people just go out and grab a headline, get on cable news that night — and, you know, all they want to do is get Hillary Clinton up there. And each of them wants their tete-a-tete with Hillary Clinton. And I think she will knock their socks off.

But I just think it’s not good for the country. It does sweeten the base for the Republican Party. The Tea Party is very energized on this. Fox News lives and dies with it. And so I think that’s basically why the hearings are being held.

In his turn on NPR's All Things Considered on Friday night, pesudo-conservative analyst David Brooks proclaimed "I bow down to the science" on global warming. He wanted to insist he's no "denier" on the matter:

MELISSA BLOCK: I want to end by talking about the release this week of a dire new report on climate change. It talked about longer and hotter summers, coastal cities flooding, a lot more extreme weather, more deaths coming from all these changes and the report says it's very clear that warming is primarily the result of human activity, the burning of fossil fuels in particular. David, does this become a campaign issue and should it become one?

DAVID BROOKS, NEW YORK TIMES: I think it probably should. I mean, I bow down to the science. There seems to be a reasonable consensus, which I bow down to. Whether it's going to become a campaign issue practically, I think almost certainly not. You look at some of these vulnerable Senate races, places like Louisiana - believe me, voters in Louisiana do not want some big climate change legislation. To me, the most obvious solution is a carbon tax. That's a political nonstarter for both parties. You know, I just look at the politics of this thing and I think if there's going to be a solution, somehow it's going to come through technological innovation of the private sector because I just don't see a political solution.


BLOCK: E.J., does this report in any way change the discussion of the Keystone XL Pipeline or anything you see headed toward November?

E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: I don't think it'll have a big impact in November, but I think it begins to change the discussion. A New York Times editorial had a nice summary of what it said. It said the Southwest will fry, the East will soak, and Alaska will keep melting. And I think the radicalization of the Republican Party has unfortunately stopped action on this.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis