Fox News Channel analyst and former anchor Brit Hume asserted Monday night that for Benghazi “to become the scandal it surely deserves to be will require another ingredient: Relentless news coverage of the kind the media typically avoid when the subject is someone or some cause they favor.”
He explained: “That’s why the Gosnell abortion horrors were played down for so long and that’s why the now discredited Benghazi talking points were treated as just an honest mistake.”
CBS used its Sunday evening and Monday morning newscasts to keep the spotlight on the question of a "possible cover-up" surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Jeff Glor led CBS Evening News with the scoop from earlier in the day on Face the Nation – that a "career U.S. diplomat is raising new questions" about the Obama administration's claim that the attack spontaneously erupted in response to an early protest in Egypt.
Monday's CBS This Morning also aired a report on this latest development on the September 11, 2012 attack. Meanwhile, ABC and NBC have yet to pick up on the veteran diplomat's allegations, despite the fact that he is set to testify publicly to Congress on the issue on Wednesday.
Appearing on NBC's Chris Matthews Show on Sunday, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius initially dismissed the Benghazi terrorist attack as being "Fox News's super-story," with left-wing host Matthews agreeing: "This is a big Fox story." Fellow Post columnist Kathleen Parker called out Ignatius: "I know Fox has been covering it, but, you know, that doesn't mean it's wrong." Ignatius acknowledged: "It doesn't mean it's wrong." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Parker, who prompted discussion of the topic, told Matthews: "I knew you were going to roll your eyes on this, but I think it makes you look good to at least mention it on your show." Matthews replied: "David's also rolling his eyes." Ignatius denied the charge, declaring: "No, I think this is, Benghazi is a serious story." Parker prodded him: "Could you say that a little louder, please?" Ignatius reiterated: "Benghazi is a serious story."
Proof Sunday morning that Republicans can use their power to hold House hearings to force media coverage of topics journalists have shown little interest in probing. CBS's Face the Nation led with an “exclusive” which Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committe on Oversight and Government Reform, gave host Bob Schieffer about the upcoming testimony from Greg Hicks, the second in command in Libya at the time of the Benghazi attacks.
“Today,” Schieffer touted, “there is new information raising questions about whether there was a cover-up by the State Department to deflect criticism that it had ignored requests for more security for its people in Libya.”
Thursday's CBS This Morning singled out the FBI's pursuit of three persons of interest who could provide information on the September 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Margaret Brennan touted how "what happened that night is still the topic of debate in Washington", and noted that members of Congress "want to speak to those Americans evacuated from Benghazi, but claim the White House won't release the names."
ABC devoted a news brief to the FBI's investigation on Wednesday's World News, but didn't cover the development the following morning on Good Morning America. NBC apparently didn't find the story newsworthy, as they failed to cover it on their evening and morning newscasts.
All three network newscasts on Monday and Tuesday ignored the shocking assertions made by a whistleblower who told Fox News that special forces could have responded to the 2012 terrorist attack on Benghazi. He also claimed that the United States knows who perpetrated last year's assault on the U.S. embassy. Fox News's Adam Housley interviewed a man he described as a "special ops member who watched as the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi unfolded."
On Tuesday's Special Report, Housley claimed, "However, multiple sources tell Fox News that the U.S. has identified the mastermind of the Benghazi attack who was still in Libya and walks free." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The whistleblower insisted the reason the Obama administration hasn't acted is because "we basically don't want to upset anybody." The operative flat-out declared, "We have all the capability, all the training, all the capacity to kill and capture that only terrorist involved with the specific events of 9/11 and Ambassador Stevens' death." Yet, ABC, CBS and NBC have, thus far, ignored the story.
President Barack Obama will take to the podium in the White House press briefing room at 10:30 a.m. Eastern for a press conference. The occasion: today is the 100th day of his second term in office. We at NewsBusters will be watching and I'll be live-blogging the questions from reporters. Pardon my inaccuracies as I'll be transcribing on the fly.
In the comments section, leave some question that YOU would ask if you were in the room. Which questions should be asked but likely won't?
Wednesday's New York Times story by Cairo correspondent David Kirkpatrick about a car-bombing in Libya buried an important new development in the Benghazi scandal. A report from House Republicans accused then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of rejecting a call for additional security for U.S. diplomats in Libya before the Benghazi terror attack that killed four Americans last year on the anniversary of September 11.
NBC and ABC completely skipped a scathing new report that singles out Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for blame after the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. CBS, in contrast, offered full reports on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Evening News anchor Scott Pelley announced, "House Republicans fired off a blistering report today criticizing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell trumpeted, "House Republicans issued a scathing report on the Benghazi attack. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed last September." Yet, the ABC programs World News, Nightline and Good Morning America ignored the development. GMA, however, found time to promote important topics, such as "dancing babies" and the "secrets" behind America's favorite game shows. NBC's Nightly News and the Today show also avoided the subject.
As the media predictably gush and fawn over the thought of Hillary Clinton as president, there's something extremely obvious they've been missing.
Rather surprisingly, Roger Simon, the perilously liberal chief political columnist at Politico, asked the $64 million question on CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, "How good a job did she really do as Secretary of State?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
While new White House chief of staff Denis McDonough was grilled about the Benghazi terrorist attack on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, NBC Meet the Press moderator David Gregory only lobbed a single softball on the scandal, while fill-in host Jonathan Karl ignored the topic all together on ABC's This Week. The White House was unwilling to even allow Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace to interview McDonough.
On Meet the Press, after providing a fawning biographical intro of McDonough, Gregory only briefly touched on Benghazi, hoping the controversy was over: "I've talked to Republican senators, they've wanted to get additional information about what the President did the night of the attack...Has the President finished on the Benghazi matter? Is there anything else he's going to say or anything else he's concluded that should've been done that was not done?"
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked NBC's David Gregory a question Sunday that should be asked of virtually every media member in this country.
During a heated exchange about the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year, McCain said to his Meet the Press host, "Do you care whether four Americans died?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The same network that wondered if Sen. Rubio's sip of water was a "big deal" is now asking just why Republicans are "so fixated on Benghazi" when they asked Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel about the Libya fiasco.
"This, despite testimony on Benghazi from General Petraeus, Hillary Clinton, Admiral Mike Mullen, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, General Martin Dempsey, among others. But it's not enough," an obviously flustered Carol Costello huffed. The CNN headline later flashed, "Why are Republicans so fixated on Benghazi?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) vowed Sunday to block the cabinet confirmations of John Brennan and Chuck Hagel if he doesn't get full disclosure from the White House concerning the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
Appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, Graham said, "No confirmation without information."
While the NBC and CBS morning shows on Friday both covered troubling Thursday testimony from outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that revealed President Obama's lack of engagement during the Benghazi terrorist attack, ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story. In addition, none of the networks mentioned the testimony on their Thursday evening newscasts.
Friday's CBS This Morning provided the most coverage, with a full report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, who explained: "Panetta revealed that he briefed the President at the start of the attack, but the two men did not speak again that night....Republicans say it's a sign that the President was disengaged the night of the attack. Panetta said his aides and the President's were in touch, but he said as well that he did not speak to Secretary Clinton the night of the attack either."
In the wake of the leaked Department of Justice memo detailing the legality of targeted killings by drones on American citizens, the PBS NewsHour found it fitting to have the ACLU defend its position in why these strikes are troubling, and why American-born al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki should’ve been kept alive to plan acts of terror against the United States.
Of course, this is maddening to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Liberal publications, like The Nation, detail the dark future of drone warfare, and some anti-drone journalists, like Conor Fierdorsdorff of The Atlantic, have compared Obama to Bush. However, even with the media either criticizing, or ignoring, this development, last night’s broadcast of the PBS NewsHour didn’t take into account the hypocrisy of liberals who were on the warpath a few years prior after release of Bush memos related to enhanced interrogation techniques.
Veteran journalist Howard Kurtz chided the media's "romance" of departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, asking "But, particularly in those TV interviews, could you see any Republican outgoing cabinet member getting that kind of treatment?" Another example came in Sunday's New York Times's front-page review of Clinton's career by Michael Gordon and Mark Landler, "Backstage Glimpses of Clinton as Dogged Diplomat, Win or Lose." The Times opened with the administration's hand-wringing over assisting the Syrian resistance (Clinton's more activist support for the rebels was rebuffed at the White House).
Yet the more damaging controversy over the assassination of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was mentioned just twice in the 1,674-word story, once as a "low point" for Clinton, but balanced with the "biggest highlight" of her term -- the diplomatic opening to Myanmar. The other reference noted that while the incident may have "marred" her last months of service, she still has the highest favorability ratings of her career.
Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Anne Gearan has repeatedly blown kisses to Hillary Clinton in the past few months with her gauzy coverage of the departing secretary of state's handling of Benghazi. Today she took her show on the road, make that air, as she appeared on MSNBC's Martin Bashir program with Democratic strategist Kiki McLean and guest host former DNC communications director Karen Finney. With MSNBC looking forward giddily to a possible 2016 presidential run, the segment was titled onscreen as "Until We Meet Again."
Sure "[s]he leaves office without huge accomplishments" like groundbreaking peace talks or the like, but she does have "enormous goodwill around the world," Gearan gushed. "Some of her greatest accomplishments really were just showing up," the Post staffer insisted.
Mara Liasson hyped Hillary Clinton as "the most popular politician in the country" on Friday's Morning Edition on NPR. Liasson asserted that "there's no question that being out of politics for four years has enhanced her political reputation," and devoted her report to touting how the supposedly "fireproof" Mrs. Clinton's experience as secretary of state would make her a "field-clearing frontrunner" in the 2016 presidential race.
The NPR journalist played soundbites from just two pundits during the segment, both of them close political associates of the Clintons: former White House Press Secretary Dee Myers, and Geoff Garin, who was the chief strategist for the former First Lady's 2008 presidential bid. Liasson merely identified Garin as some one who "has worked for Clinton in the past."
In the days of the late Mike Wallace, "60 Minutes" was known for hard-hitting, aggressive journalism that asked the questions viewers wanted answered and held the powerful accountable.
The Jan. 27 program on which Steve Kroft interviewed President Obama (at his request, no less) and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fell far short of that high standard. It was the kind of softball toss you might have expected if Oprah Winfrey or Barbara Walters had conducted the interview.
Contrary to CBS's Steve Kroft, CNN's foreign affairs reporters actually asked the tough questions of outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in their Tuesday interview on The Situation Room.
While Kroft spun his foreign policy questions into softballs for Clinton and Obama on Sunday's 60 Minutes, CNN's Jill Dougherty confronted Clinton on Egypt and Libya. She started off asking if the Egyptian state would survive amidst bloody unrest, and then zeroed in on Libya:
The liberal media's lovefest for Hillary Clinton continues apace. Andrea Mitchell’s interview with the outgoing secretary of state will air today, but don’t expect to see many tough questions. We already know what Mitchell thinks about Clinton, based on a comment she made on Tuesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. Talking with MSNBC political analyst Ed Rendell, Mitchell declared of Clinton, “She has done such a job by everyone’s account as secretary of state.”
Except, of course, for that little Benghazi thing, which Mitchell acknowledged is Hillary’s major regret. And it’s a pretty big blight for someone who has done “such a job.” Such a job covering up the facts, maybe? Such a job misleading the American public about the nature of the attack? [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday's Starting Point, CNN's David Gergen smiled on Hillary Clinton's "wonderful farewell" at the State Department and touted her "very powerful position" for a 2016 presidential run. As CNN noted, Gergen once worked as an adviser to President Clinton.
When asked if anything from Clinton's term as Secretary of State would come back to haunt her as a presidential candidate, Gergen replied "I don't think so. The Benghazi affair, I think, will long be forgotten unless there's some smoking gun we have no idea about." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In a column which went up this morning, Fox News Political Analyst Kirsten Powers, whose political positions certainly lean left and is a self-described liberal, ripped into President Obama and his administration for what she correctly characterizes as their "strategy to delegitimize a news organization" -- hers.
Her column is about far more than Obama's recent complaint to the New Republic's Chris Hughes (covered by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters) that "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it." What Powers recounts is a strategy first employed in 2009 and apparently being revived, now that Obama no longer has to answer to America's voters, to marginalize the only U.S. network which still tries to be fair and balanced (bolds are mine):
CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft "ought to hand in his journalism card" if there actually were such a thing, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham concluded in an interview with substitute host Eric Bolling on the January 28 edition of Your World w/Neil Cavuto. Graham was referring to the January 27 puff piece that the newsmagazine aired in which Kroft failed to ask any tough questions of the president and his departing secretary of state.
"Look, this is Steve Kroft's history," Graham told Bolling. "This is the reason why we wrote a report called 'Syrupy Minutes.' With the Democrats, this is what they do." And yet, "This is the same show that broke Abu Ghraib on Bush's head. This is the same show that tried to destroy Bush with fake National Guard records." [MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell gushed over Steve Kroft's interview of President Obama and Hillary Clinton, twice emphasizing the supposed "warmness" between the two Democrats. O'Donnell asserted that the interview was "a long way from where they were in 2008 in that bitter primary battle....This time, they were leaning into each other. There was clearly a warmness between them."
John Dickerson later hyped how the Kroft segment on Sunday's 60 Minutes came at an opportune time for Mrs. Clinton, after her contentious appearances before a Senate committee about the Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
Surely without intending to do so, liberal radio host Bill Press has providing a compelling argument against renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.
On his radio show this morning, the easily piqued Press sniffed in disdain at the sheer effrontery of Republican senators asking pointed questions of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. (audio clip after page break)
On Thursday morning, CNN's John Berman hammered a Democratic congressman who said the cause of the Benghazi attacks doesn't make a difference at this point. In contrast, anchor Soledad O'Brien didn't ask about the controversy over that remark shouted first by Secretary Clinton.
"But, Congressman – don't the facts always make a difference and doesn't knowing the facts and knowing them quickly always help in evaluating the situation so it can be prevented in the future?" Berman pressed. [Video below the break. Audio here.]