Asked on Sunday’s Reliable Sources if the wider media dismissed the Weekly Standard story, by Stephen Hayes about the Benghazi talking points getting altered to take out any references to terrorism, because of his affiliation with conservative media, The Hill newspaper Managing Editor Bob Cusack agreed.
Then he turned his criticism on his colleagues: “If you look at the time line of how this administration dealt with Benghazi, there’s been a lot of contradictions from the get go. So, the media hasn’t looked at it as extensively as they should have.”
If you were a journalist reporting on Benghazi whistleblower Gregory Hicks, wouldn't you find it interesting that he was a Democrat who voted for Barack Obama twice?
Someone at NBC News didn't according to Hicks's attorney Victoria Toensing who disclosed the spike job to NewsMax host Steve Malzberg on WMAL radio Saturday (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
My alternate headline for this item: “NBC’s Today Show on Benghazi: ‘There Are So Many Issues the Country Faces. This Is One of Them.’” That dismissive attitude came from ABC News veteran Mark Halperin, now MSNBC’s senior political analyst who also toils for Time magazine, putting the burden on Republican to make an issue of Obama administration dishonesty on Benghazi.
Failing to see any role for the news media after months of malfeasance, Halperin put the burden on a political party: “I think the events of this week mean Republicans now have a chance to make the case to the American people. There are so many issues the country faces. This is one of them.”
Kirsten Powers said something Saturday that should deeply embarrass so-called journalists across the fruited plain.
Appearing on Fox News Watch, Powers - who was Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Public Affairs in the Clinton administration - said of the job the current White House is doing with the Benghazi cover up, "Bill Clinton would not have gotten away with this" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"CBS News President David Rhodes and ABC News President Ben Sherwood, both of them have siblings that not only work at the White House, that not only work for President Obama, but they work at the NSC on foreign policy issues directly related to Benghazi."
So stated political consultant and media commentator Richard Grenell on Saturday's Fox News Watch (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Despite all the information that has come out about the September 11, 2012, attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Bill Maher still agrees with United Nations ambassador Susan Rice.
As hard as it might be to believe, the host of HBO's Real Time on Friday called the tragic event that left four Americans dead a "riot" possibly sparked by an anti-Muslim movie (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Apparently the folks at MSNBC have decided that the Benghazi investigation is merely a political ploy by the GOP to hinder Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions in 2016. Instead of addressing the substantive issues that potentially resulted in a cover-up surrounding the attack, MSNBC anchors and pundits have been going out of there way to protect the Obama administration and smear Republicans.
Doing her duty to defend team Obama on Martin Bashir May 10 program, soon-to-be MSNBC host and former DNC Communications Director Karen Finney laid the blame for the dead in Benghazi on, who else, congressional Republicans:
But I believe that is what the GOP is most terrified of having to talk about. Because they know they screwed up. Their austerity measures may have endangered this man’s life and they don’t want to talk about that. [See video after jump.]
Appearing as a guest on Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, right-leaning FNC political analyst Charles Krauthammer recounted that the initial State Department reports on the Benghazi attack identified it as an attack by the terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia, and theorized that the Obama administration must have covered up the initial reports of it being a terrorist attack for political reasons during the election campaign.
He also underscored the significance of State Department official Gregory Hicks apparently being demoted after criticizing the administration's story about the attack. Host Bill O'Reilly brought up Hicks:
On his Thursday night PBS program, Charlie Rose attempted to fulfill his duties as a liberal media member by defending the State Department’s dishonest talking points following the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi. Rose was grilling Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who was involved in the Benghazi hearings, about his views on the matter.
When Rose asked Chaffetz if he believed there was a coverup, the congressman was ready. He brought up the fact that for days after the attack, the administration claimed the incident had been sparked by a spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Islam YouTube video. But Chaffetz and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that to be a blatant lie: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
When it comes to NBC and its sister network MSNBC, Chuck Todd is one of the few journalists that actually attempt to be fair. However, there are times when Todd will make a statement that makes you pause and question how much he's co-opted by the network's determination to be Obama boosters.
On his May 10 Daily Rundown program, the veteran White House correspondent claimed that when it comes to Benghazi, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “is going to benefit it seems a little bit in this one respect if [it appears] that her opponents try too hard."
New York Times reporter Mark Landler reported on the ongoing controversy over Benghazi on Friday, as House Republicans demanded the White House release what they consider an incriminating email showing officials knew Islamic terrorists were responsible for the attack, yet blamed an anti-Islamic Youtube video instead: "Benghazi Debate Focuses on Interpretation of Early E-Mail on Attackers."
"When Hillary Clinton testified in January, she got five [and a half] hours on MSNBC," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity on the May 9 edition of his eponymous program. By contrast, the Obama-boosting "Lean Forward" network failed to show any live testimony from the May 8 Benghazi whistleblowers hearing. "They're a little bit selective," the Media Research Center founder wryly remarked.
At this point, the cable news networks are "not news networks anymore" as "they are censoring news" on Benghazi, even as they have compelling whistleblower testimony. "How can it not be news," Bozell wondered, that Hillary Clinton insisted she took full responsibility for the Benghazi fiasco and yet the review board she commissioned to investigate the State Department's handling of the fiasco failed to interview her? "How was that not a story yesterday?! This is such a coverup taking place," Bozell argued. [watch the full "Media Mash" segment below the page break]
ABC journalist Jon Karl actually followed up on Wednesday's Benghazi hearings, exposing that CIA talking points on the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack were "dramatically edited" a total of 12 times by the administration. In a report airing on Friday's Good Morning America, Karl explained to viewers that, between the first version and the last, "all references to al Qaeda and all references to CIA warnings before the attack about the terror threat in Benghazi" were removed. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An ABC graphic went so far as to wonder, "Benghazi Statements Not True? White House Statements contradicted." Karl quoted from Hillary Clinton's State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland. Playing politics, Nuland said of the information in the warnings, "[It] could be abused by members of Congress to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that?" An online version of Karl's story showcased a full paragraph that was removed.
Appearing on Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor, left-leaning FNC political analyst Kirsten Powers criticized the behavior of Democrats in the wake of the Benghazi hearings in Congress, as she cited the testimony of official Gregory Hicks as compelling. After complaining about Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings's reaction to the testimony, she continued:
As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC gave no live coverage to yesterday’s congressional hearings on the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi. Instead, the network aired a mere six minutes and 20 seconds of a highlight from the hearings. Those snippets were spread across four hours, and some of them were redundant.
Contrast that with the way MSNBC treated Hillary Clinton’s testimony on Benghazi back on January 23. On that occasion, the liberal cable network broadcast a whopping five hours and 28 minutes of live testimony.
Editor's Note: This was intended for publication on Wednesday. We apologize for the delay.
It's on. As the White House grapples with a growing backlash over its Libya lies and lapses, President Obama's apologists are gearing up for battle. Put on your hip-waders. Grab those tar buckets. Get ready for Operation Smear Benghazi Whistleblowers.
Capitol Hill hearings this Wednesday on the deadly 9/11 consulate attack by jihadists will feature three compelling witnesses, all State Department veterans: Gregory N. Hicks, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya and highest-ranking U.S. diplomat in the country at the time of the Benghazi jihad attacks; Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine who now serves as deputy coordinator for operations in the agency's Counterterrorism Bureau; and Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was the top security officer in Libya.
On Wednesday evening, CNN barely covered the congressional hearing on the Benghazi attack from earlier that afternoon. Instead, the network provided wall-to-wall coverage of the Jodi Arias trial verdict and the Cleveland kidnappings.
From the hours of 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. ET, CNN gave a whopping 4 hours, 9 minutes of coverage to the two crime stories, but a measly eight minutes to Benghazi -- over 30 times more coverage. And three of CNN's prime-time shows didn't even mention Benghazi.
The evening news broadcasts on NBC, ABC, and CBS on Wednesday all offered full reports on the compelling congressional testimony regarding the Benghazi terrorist attack, but only after all three programs led with coverage of the Cleveland abduction case.
NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News both at least informed viewers of the hearing during top-of-the-show teases, but ABC World News failed to make any mention of the hearing until a report nine minutes into the program (though anchor Diane Sawyer did find time to preview a story about tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams).
On Wednesday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes was gleeful over media coverage of the Benghazi hearings being preempted by both the story of three girls kidnapped and held prisioner for a decade in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as the verdict in the Jodi Arias murder trial. Hayes flippantly referred to the crime stories as "the next Lifetime original movie" as he teased the segment at the top of the show:
Regardless of the facts, some at MSNBC continue to peddle White House talking points surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Appearing on Morning Joe on May 9, Richard Wolffe, the executive editor of MSNBC.com, gleefully used Democratic talking points in his denunciation of congressional hearings on Benghazi.
The segment began with co-host Joe Scarborough challenging the White House narrative that Eric Nordstrom, a 22-year State Department veteran who was in Tripoli during the Benghazi attack, was not demoted for speaking to members of Congress about his doubts over the response to the attack. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
While many in the liberal media are doing their level best to spin and/or downplay yesterday's testimony at the Benghazi hearings, Guy Benson of Townhall.com has done a great job summing up a dozen damning revelations from the career Foreign Service staffers who testified yesterday.
You can read Benson's full story here. Below the fold I've excerpted from just the first five revelations from Benson's piece, "The Damning Dozen":
The network morning shows on Thursday went into tabloid overdrive for the Jodi Arias verdict and an abduction case in Ohio, offering a staggering 56 minutes of coverage. In contrast, NBC, CBS and ABC allowed just under seven minutes combined to hearings on the 2012 terrorist murder of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya. This is a disparity of eight-to-one.
Good Morning America proved to be the least interested in the national security issues raised by Benghazi. The morning show devoted 19 minutes to the Arias conviction and the kidnapping of three women in Ohio. Yet, whistleblower testimony in Washington D.C. warranted a mere 53 seconds. The four hour-long Today show on NBC spent 27 minutes on the two cases and a scant two and a half minutes on Libya. The most balanced network turned out to be CBS.
Thursday's New York Times led with the congressional hearings into the Obama administration's response to the terrorist attack on Benghazi, Libya on the anniversary of September 11 that left four Americans dead: "Envoy Testifies Libya Questions Led To Demotion," reported by the team of Scott Shane, Jeremy Peters, and Eric Schmitt. But the paper still treated it as a partisan game of gotcha in an online symposium titled "Serious Investigations, or Partisan Ploys?"
In what could be seen as either ignorance or more likely denial of reality, NBC News's David Gregory seemed to minimize the severity of the potential cover-up following the September 11 terrorist attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on May 9, the Meet The Press host simply claimed that the Benghazi talking points were merely handled by the Obama administration with "sloppiness." [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
CBS's Sharyl Attkisson is apparently viewed by network executives as "wading dangerously close to advocacy" in her coverage of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, as Politico's Dylan Byers asserted in a Wednesday item. Byers reported that "Attkisson can't get some of her stories on the air, and is thus left feeling marginalized and underutilized."
Attkisson's minute-long report about the House Oversight Committee's latest hearing on the attack on Wednesday's CBS This Morning was actually the first time since November 23, 2012 that the journalist reported about the story on air, according a search on Nexis.
Wednesday's congressional hearings on the September 11 terrorists attacks in Benghazi provided a stark contrast between Fox News and MSNBC. From the time the whistleblower testimony began at 11:36am through their conclusion after 5pm, Fox devoted 108 minutes to simply airing the hearing with no anchor commentary. MSNBC, in comparison didn't allow any live coverage. Instead, the cable network aired a scant five minutes and 20 seconds of taped snippets of testimony. [See a chart of coverage below.]
CNN came in second, allowing a mere 17 minutes of footage. After the 2pm hour, CNN lost all interest, instead the network's anchors eagerly promoted the coming verdict in the Jodi Arias murder trial. (FNC's reporting on the story after 2pm dropped off to five minutes of taped footage.) The hearings commenced at 11:36 and so did Fox's coverage. CNN waited until noon to break in and MSNBC came in last at 12:17 (with a taped piece and discussion only).