Wrapping up a report on Wednesday's NBC Today about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's upcoming congressional testimony on the Benghazi terrorist attack, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell sympathetically observed: "It will be a grueling day, first in the Senate, then in the House. Not how the Secretary of State had planned to wind up what is widely viewed as a stellar term as the nation's top diplomat." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the segment, Mitchell seemed to lament that Clinton would have to endure such questioning after recent health problems: "The Secretary of State has had to deal with a serious illness, amidst swirling and discredited conspiracy theories, but is now finally able to answer questions about security failures in Benghazi. After a fall, a concussion, and a blood clot, Hillary Clinton will face questions today Republicans have wanted to ask for months."
On Tuesday, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson broke on Twitter that the Obama administration "has indicated that it will not be answering Benghazi question we've been asking since Oct." Attkisson, who has provided hard-hitting reporting on the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, listed many of the questions that the executive branch has yet to answer about the story.
The journalist noted in a later Tweet that "CBS News FOI'd Benghazi info from State Dept, CIA, FBI and Defense Dept. None has been provided." Attkisson also pointed out a false claim by the administration:
During a retrospective on 2012 on the December 30, 2012 edition of CBS's Sunday Morning, Charles Osgood ludicrously oversimplified the continuing scandal over the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Osgood conspicuously omitted U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's Sunday show appearances five days after the assault, which conflicted with intelligence agencies' early conclusion that the attack was pre-planned.
The journalist's 14-second look at the story merely consisted of two sentences noting who died in the American installation and one of the most recent developments [audio available here; video below the jump]:
As 2012 winds down, we're reliving some of the worst media bias of the year with our Best Notable Quotables of 2012. Yesterday, I recounted some of the nastiest barbs journalists threw at the GOP ticket; today, a look at some of the most egregious favors committed on behalf of Barack Obama's campaign.
While conservatives like Rick Santorum were often cast as radical or weird, journalists lovingly fawned over President Obama as if he was still the rock star of Campaign 2008. Sherri Shepherd, co-host of ABC's The View, won our "Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award," for obsequious Obama interviews, after a September 25 encounter in which Shepherd seemed intent on casting the President as the Romancer-in-Chief.
On December 18, in covering the aftermath of the official report on the terrorist raid on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the Associated Press reported in the first three paragraphs of its coverage that "Three State Department officials resigned under pressure," identifying those who had stepped down as "Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, and Raymond Maxwell, the deputy assistant secretary of state who oversees the Maghreb nations of Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco."
It wasn't until the fourth paragraph that readers who got that far -- clearly a tiny percentage compared to those who saw the headline ("State Department security chief, 2 deputies, resign after damning Benghazi attack report") or only heard headline-based reports on broadcast outlets -- learned that "Some of the three may have the option of being reassigned to other duties." In other words, they might not be losing their jobs or even receive cuts in pay. At the New York Post this morning, Josh Margolin is reporting that the three identified by the AP plus one other person aren't being meaningfully punished in any sense:
News of the State Department report on the U.S. government’s failures surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, broke too late last night for the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, but all three broadcast networks had full reports on their Wednesday morning shows.
Of the three, ABC’s Good Morning America was the most perfunctory, with a less-than 90 second report from correspondent Martha Raddatz that completely failed to mention the controversy over the Obama administration’s preposterous initial explanation that the attack was the result of a “spontaneous” demonstration over an anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube.
But as detailed in the very first of the official report’s “Findings,” the determination that there was no “spontaneous” demonstration: “The Board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity.”
Following Hillary Clinton’s illness last week, which prompted a fainting spell and a mild concussion, Good Morning America on Tuesday morning hyped the busy career of Ms. Clinton, proudly dubbing her the “Most Traveled Secretary of State.” The story began with GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos, a former President Clinton operative, mentioning that Ms. Clinton is, “On the mend now" although "she may be still out of action for most of her remaining time as Secretary of State."
ABC News Correspondent Reena Ninan described in detail the accident Ms. Clinton experienced, as this was the second time in eight years the Secretary has fainted because of a stomach bug. While Ninan and Stephanopoulos both emphasized the rest Mrs. Clinton requires, neither mention the fact that as a result the Secretary will miss the December 20 hearing scheduled to receive her testimony on the September 11 terrorist strike on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. You may recall that Clinton's State Department received numerous complaints from the late Amb. Chris Stevens about insufficient security on the ground in Libya. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
Following Susan Rice’s abrupt withdrawal from being considered for Secretary of State, NBC's Andrea Mitchell felt it important to sneer that Republican opposition to Ms. Rice was racially motivated.
Speaking on MSNBC’s The Cycle Thursday afternoon, Mitchell’s immediate analysis of Rice’s withdrawal was that, “this is not going to help Republicans at all, the fact that a woman and a woman of color has been forced out of a confirmation process even before she was nominated.” Andrea Mitchell must have forgotten that four years ago, Republicans in the Senate confirmed an African-American woman named Condoleezza Rice to be Secretary of State. But that wouldn't fit the liberal narrative NBC and MSNBC continue to peddle that Republicans have racist motivations behind their objections to Rice’s nomination to Secretary of State. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
Add Barbara Walters to the list of journalists pushing for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2016. For the third time now, Ms. Clinton has been featured on Barbara Walters’s annual 10 Most Fascinating People special.
Given that Ms. Walters had a one-on-one sit-down interview with Clinton, it would seem logical that the topic of the Benghazi fiasco would come up. It didn't, despite the fact that, as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton oversees all U.S. Embassies, and is directly responsible for protecting our diplomats around the world, especially in troubled regions where security threats are more acute. [See video below break. MP3 audio here.]
As NewsBusters colleague Kyle Drennan noted today, the liberal media has mobilized their legions to defend embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, complaining that the criticisms leveled by Republicans are motivated by racism, sexism or both.
But there most certainly is a double standard at play as Eliana Johnson of National Review noted in an excellent November 21 post in which she detailed how left-wing journalists and members of Congress attacked Condoleezza Rice as an incompetent Bush hack. Johnson wrote that:
Attempts by liberal MSNBC pundits like Touré and Richard Wolffe to dismiss conservative criticisms of Amb. Susan Rice as racially-motivated are evidence of the "militant, radical Left flexing its muscles" post-Obama reelection, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Sean Hannity on the "Media Mash" segment of the Fox News host's November 29 program.
"Where were" liberal journalists when "Clarence Thomas was smeared in his confirmation hearings" or "with Allen West in Florida?" Bozell asked. "When a conservative black man is attacked," the media are mute, failing to consider if perhaps there is racism at play in the criticisms leveled by liberals. What's more, if Rice were white, the media would simply complain Republican critics are "anti-woman," the Media Research Center founder observed [watch the full segment below the page break].
Jay Leno continued pressuring Barack Obama Thursday night.
During his opening monologue on NBC's Tonight Show, the host said, "This is very dangerous to the White House if journalists should suddenly start asking real questions” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
A front-page "news analysis" Thursday by New York Times intelligence reporter Scott Shane, "Talking Points Overshadow Bigger Libya Issues," downplayed the seriousness of the controversy and attempted to reduce GOP criticism of UN ambassador Susan Rice, a possible Secretary of State candidate, into just more food for the partisan "meat grinder."
Shane questioned why "four pallid sentences that intelligence analysts cautiously delivered are the unlikely center of a quintessential Washington drama, in which a genuine tragedy has been fed into the meat grinder of election-year politics." The paper wasn't so forgiving about President George W. Bush's famous "16 words" in 2003 about Saddam Hussein looking for nuclear material in Africa.
Good Morning America on Thursday allowed a scant 23 seconds to the latest on Susan Rice's possible Secretary of State nomination and her troubled role in providing false information on the Libya. Yet, the same program devoted over two minutes of the precious 7am half hour, supposedly the time for hard news, to the claim that Bigfoot is "real." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Guest co-host Amy Robach opened the show by enthusing, "Part-human, part-primate. Is Bigfoot real, after all?" Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos hyped "a prominent veterinarian who says she can prove Bigfoot exists and that he's related to all of us." Reporter Nick Watt could barely contain himself: "Oh my goodness, I want to believe. Can you imagine if Bigfoot is actually real?" Contributor Laura Spencer declared, "Yeah, I believe. I totally believe."
In what has been a daily and exhausting exercise, Richard Wolffe, executive editor of MSNBC.com, continues to push the slanderous claim that opposition to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is racially motivated.
Appearing on Thursday’s Martin Bashir show, Wolffe and fellow liberal journalist Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post continued to slam Republicans for their investigation of Susan Rice. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
In an exchange with MSNBC Harball host Chris Matthews on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie pondered the possibility that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice lied about Benghazi: "...should she have been more direct that the information she was providing to the American people was at that point, not just preliminary, but incomplete? I guess the bottom line is, did she mislead?"
Matthews replied by wondering: "...was she a flack...just out there mouthing the words that somebody told you, or is she a thoughtful cabinet minister – to be a potential cabinet minister?" He then laid the blame entirely on the intelligence: "But from what I'm told, she got the facts directly unchanged, unspun by the White House, nobody changed anything. If anybody's at fault here, it's the intelligence community, for giving her incomplete information for their own purposes."
Wednesday's New York Times front page featured Susan Rice's failed attempt to assuage concerns of three Senate Republicans on her false statements about the Benghazi massacre in "Rice Concedes Error on Libya: G.O.P. Digs In." Inside was an unflattering photo of a peeved-looking Sen. John McCain. Posing Republican senator and Rice critic McCain as the bad guy, an on-line text box accompanying the article highlighted a reader comment from "Them or Us": "If you think these three Senators walked in with open minds and no agenda, I'd like to sell you a bridge that crosses the East River into Brooklyn. McCain's little kangaroo court is about as transparent as his anger." Meanwhile, on the back pages, two liberal Times columnists disagreed on Benghazi's significance.
In the front-page story, reporters Mark Landler and Jeremy Peters minimized the import of the policy scandal by focusing on the personal, portraying Rice, who may be nominated by President Obama to the post of UN ambassador, as offering an olive branch that "hostile Senate Republicans" rejected.
In what has become a daily occurrence on MSNBC, liberal hosts and pundits on the network continue to attack the GOP for their scrutiny of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s post-Benghazi spin for the White House on September 16 editions of the network Sunday interview programs.
Appearing on Wednesday’sMSNBC Live, network contributors Joy-Ann Reid of TheGrio.com and Ari Melber of The Nation appeared on anchor Thomas Roberts's program to continue casting aspersions on Sen. John McCain and other Republicans who have dared to criticize Susan Rice as unfit for a promotion to Secretary of State. Melber and Reid threw in charges of racism and sexism and a conspiracy theory about electing Scott Brown to the Senate. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America's reporters on Wednesday continued to fret about the fate of Susan Rice, lamenting the GOP "buzz saw" the UN Ambassador ran into on Tuesday. ABC's Martha Raddatz hyped all the pressing issues in the world as a possible reason to just confirm the potential Secretary of State nominee quickly.
Martha Raddatz worried, "You have got Iran that is trying to acquire a nuclear weapon. You have got North Korea. There's satellite photos just out showing that North Korea would like to test another long-range ballistic missile." She then reminded that this is "such a critical time in Afghanistan." GMA co-anchor George Stephanopoulos referenced the fall of David Petraeus and hyped that all of these vacancies are "happening when there's a lot of hot spots in the world bubbling up."
Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren has reached her boiling point after seeing yet another person at MSNBC hurl a gratuitous, objectively false charge of "racism" at Arizona Senator John McCain for having the gall to believe that Susan Rice would not be a good choice to be the next Secretary of State.
Well, if the President himself can call a sacked consulate and four dead Americans who deserved adequate security and didn't get it "bumps in the road," why not?
Monday morning, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, presented a story in advance of United Nations ambassador Susan Rice's meeting today with certain Republican senators -- a meeting from which Rice, who engaged in serial falsehood peddling during the weekend after the September 11 Benghazi attack, apparently falsehood-peddling Rice emerged today even worse-off than before. In that story, both the headline and first paragraph of Anne Flaherty's coverage characterized Benghazi as a "PR (public relations) disaster."
It’s one thing for a leftist pundit to appear on MSNBC and smear Republicans as racist and bigoted. It’s another when the editor of MSNBC.com, a supposedly professional journalist, joins the ranks of liberal pundits slamming the GOP for its criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s comments following the attack on our Embassy in Benghazi.
Appearing on Tuesday’s NOW with Alex Wagner, Wolffe started off the show by having the audacity to claim, “there has been a witch hunt against every prominent person of color that has served alongside this president.” [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
Others can comment on the entirely of the Sunday New York Times story by Serge F. Kovaleski and Brooks Barnes (used in Monday's print edition) about Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the maker of the infamous "Innocence of Muslims" YouTube trailer the authors characterize as a "film" a dozen times in their write-up. Nakoula has now been in jail for two months.
I'm only going to comment on the following two sentences from the writeup which follow the jump:
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Sunday fought back against attempts by George Stephanopoulos to cover for the Obama administration's handling of the terrorist attack in Libya. The This Week anchor and former aide to Bill Clinton pushed Graham, a vocal critic of the President, to retreat on opposing the elevation of UN Ambassador Susan Rice's elevation to Secretary of State.
Stephanopoulos pushed, "All of the evidence is that Ambassador Rice was using the information given to her by the intelligence community." After playing a clip of Rice insisting she was only repeating intelligence information, Stephanopoulos cajoled, "Do you accept the explanation of Ambassador Rice?" Graham aggressively fought back against's Stephanopoulos' spin: "There was an al Qaeda storm brewing for months. I blame the President above all others! And we'll get to the bottom of this." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
It’s commonplace for a news organization to be attacked for failing to cover certain major news events. On the other hand, it is rare for a news outlet to be attacked for doing its job and reporting the news.
According to Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Thomas Ricks, Fox News’ extensive reporting on the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi is not only a waste of time but an example of how Fox is, “the wing of the Republican Party.” Appearing on Monday’s Happening Now, Ricks openly called out Fox News for its coverage of what he dismissed as merely a “small firefight.” [See video below break. MP3 audio here.]
Taking a strange, hostile stand toward free expression, the journalists at the New York Times assumed an amateurish YouTube video sparked deadly riots in the Muslim world, and asked the imprisoned director if he had any regrets for making the movie.
Monday's front-page report from Los Angeles came from Serge Kovaleski and Brooks Barnes and appeared in print under the guilt-assuming headline "From Man Who Insulted Muhammad, No Regret." The headline on the front of nytimes.com: "After Fueling Deadly Protests, No Regret."
At the end of Joe Klein's stupefying defense of Susan Rice and the Obama admin's misinformation campaign on the Benghazi outrage on today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough asked Time's Klein whether President Obama had invited him to play golf, "because you are just gobbling up the talking points like Thanksgiving turkey." H/t NB reader Carmel.
Here were some of Klein's astounding assertions: There are no unanswered questions about Benghazi. Ambassador Stevens had all the security he wanted. Rice's talking points were "absolutely accurate"--it was a spontaneous demonstration by extremists. Al qaeda was not involved in the attack. Not clear that reports from Stevens asking for more security exist. View the video after the jump.
The Washington Post is once again kissing a Washington posterior. Two days after lauding liberal Sen. Patty Murray, the Post hailed Hillary Clinton with the dominant headline on Monday’s front page: “The secretary of 1,000 things.”
Like any other Hillary superfan, Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen could only wonder whether Mrs. Clinton would now prepare a 2016 presidential run or – perish the thought – “this might really be it for one of the most iconic figures in American political history.” Benghazi? That’s a small speed bump on the Road to Gush-gush:
As I wrote this morning to the NewsBusters editor who alerted me to the Washington Post's editorial, "The GOP’s bizarre attack on Susan Rice," I don't read WaPo much, but somehow assume they're not quite as extreme as the New York Times." Silly me, judging by WaPo's ugly, over-the-top opinion item.
Here's the ugly last paragraph from today's editorial: "Could it be, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus are charging, that the signatories of the letter are targeting Ms. Rice because she is an African American woman? The signatories deny that, and we can’t know their hearts. What we do know is that more than 80 of the signatories are white males, and nearly half are from states of the former Confederacy." More after the jump.