The journalists at ABC News on Wednesday and Thursday hyped the President for "coming out swinging" and showing "presidential anger" by defending his United Nations Ambassador, Susan Rice, over Libya. These World News and Good Morning America reporters downplayed the issue of what the Obama White House knew and when.
During the November 14 White House press conference, Fox News' Ed Henry spoke of the families of the four Americans who died during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. He directly pressed, "...[They] have been waiting for more than two months. So I would like for you to address the families, if you can. On 9/11, as Commander-in-Chief, did you issue any orders to try to protect their lives?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Instead of highlighting this angle, World News anchor Diane Sawyer began her program by exclaiming "...[Barack Obama] came out swinging in defense of one member of his team and ABC's Jonathan Karl was right there in that room asking questions."
President Obama at Wednesday's press conference defended United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice from criticism concerning the four Americans killed in Libya in September by claiming she "had nothing to do with Benghazi."
This led syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer to ask on Fox News's Special Report hours later, "Then why the hell are you sending her out" to inform the public about what happened?
Following President Obama's Wednesday afternoon press conference, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams continued his longtime obsession with the liberal fantasy film The American President and his eagerness to compare Obama to Michael Douglas's fictional presidential character: "...the President today almost conjuring the wording of Aaron Sorkin from the movie American President, as will be pointed out all day, really decided to throw down." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to Obama's indignation at critics of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who made false statements about the terrorist attack in Libya, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell gushed: "This was President Andrew Shepherd really coming through in the East Room of the White House. Because this was President Obama saying, 'If you want to pick a fight with my U.N. ambassador, and blame her for something that was not her responsibility on Benghazi, then you come after me'....It was dramatic. He is angry."
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell took turns hammering Senator John McCain on Wednesday's CBS This Morning over his promise to block any potential nomination of Susan Rice to be secretary of state. Rose grilled McCain after the Republican slammed Rice for blaming a "spontaneous" mob for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi: "Didn't Susan Rice say that...all the information was not in, and she did not know everything there was to be known....what should she have said, based on what she knew at the moment?"
O'Donnell also tried to shift blame away from Ambassador Rice to a "failure with the intelligence coming out of the CIA." She later pointed a finger at former CIA Director David Petraeus and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. When the Arizona senator confirmed that Petraeus and Clinton deserved scrutiny, Rose interjected, "But why not wait for them before you make a judgment about Susan Rice?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Unless today is a total surprise and runs contrary to most of what we've seen during the past four years, President Obama will go through another "news conference" without a great deal of difficult or aggressive questioning from the assembled press corps.
Carrie Budoff Brown and Josh Gerstein at the Politico seem to think otherwise, and have produced a lame list of seven questions they think Obama will be asked -- so lame that one of them has to do with recently passed marijuana-legalizing initiatives in the states of Washington and Colorado:
Suddenly discovering something that anyone with eyes could see before the election, Josh Gerstein at Politico tells us that "Obama's foreign policy team hits turbulence."
Please. For over a week after September 11, the administration was pretending that a video which wasn't relevant at all caused protests which never occurred were what supposedly led to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. We had different people in the administration taking blame (but not really), and learned that but for the heroics of two of the men who died, dozens of others might have perished. But only now is Gerstein discovering "turbulence." Read on for a narrative which would be funny if it were not so sadly symptomatic of a see-no-evil press corps:
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Tuesday said the White House used David Petraeus’s affair to get the CIA director to give testimony about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that was in line with the administration’s position on the matter.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report, Krauthammer said, "The sword was lowered on Election Day" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On everyone's mind this morning was the resignation of CIA Deputy Director David Petraeus on Friday. Liberal radio talk show host Bill Press did his best to catch his listeners up on the details of the scandal, but then went on a rant asking why it's even an issue.
At no point in his defense of the former Army general and CIA chief did Press bring up the impending hearing concerning Libya on Capitol Hill that Petraeus was scheduled to appear before, nor did he think an FBI investigation was necessary -- despite the confidentiality agreement Petraeus submitted to before accepting one of the highest, if not the highest-level security clearance job there is in the federal government [ video below, MP3 audio here ]:
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Sharyl Attkisson filed a hard-hitting report on the possible ties between former CIA chief David Petraeus's resignation and the continuing controversy over the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Attkisson spotlighted how Petraeus told several members of Congress that "video of the Benghazi attack supports an element of spontaneity, as the administration first claimed."
Anchor Charlie Rose also hyped Rep. Peter King's theory on General Petraeus's resignation: "The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says the timing of the resignation suggests a cover-up. Petraeus was scheduled to testify to Congress this week about the attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya." [audio clip available here; video below the jump]
Greta Van Susteren on ABC's This Week Sunday took exception with a cheap shot at Fox News from Nation magazine's Katrina vanden Heuvel.
This came after vanden Heuvel said of former CIA director David Petraeus, "Don't forget that over at your network at Fox, he was your candidate for a while" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A war broke out on the set of HBO’s Real Time Friday when MSNBC’s sole conservative commentator S.E. Cupp had the nerve to say that Barack Obama’s foreign policy was no different than former President George W. Bush’s.
In the midst of the shouting, actor Samuel L. Jackson said to Cupp, “You don’t want to f—k with Dick Cheney" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Friday that the revelations concerning CIA Director David Petraeus's affair will now make what happened at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, back in September "the hottest story around."
As Krauthammer noted on Fox News's Special Report, this goes in stark contrast to how the media buried this story before Tuesday's election (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As part of a program run by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, representatives of over 60 emerging democracies from around the world were sent to the observe and report on how the election works in this country.
What they saw left them concerned at worst and puzzled at best at the way American elections are run, leaving gaping-wide holes through which voter fraud can be committed. The Foreign Policy Cable's Josh Rogin conducted interviews with some of them for his report.
Should Republicans unilaterally disarm in the media-bias wars? Joe Scarborough seems to think so. Arguing that it distracts Republicans from performing the political blocking-and-tackling needed to win elections, Scarborough has called on Republicans to "stop blaming the media."
Saying "let's makes this personal," Scarborough cited as an example of the supposed distractions to which he was referring the controversy over the tape Morning Joe aired in September from a Romney campaign stop. Readers will recall that the clip seemed to show Romney asking the crowd, which had been chanting "Romney!", to change to "Romney/Ryan." But Scarborough suggested just the opposite: that the crowd had been chanting "Ryan!" and that Romney asked them to change to "Romney/Ryan." View the video after the jump.
Now that their guy will be in the White House for another term, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has apparently commenced its "Cleaning up Benghazi" project -- as, naturally, has the Obama administration.
As part of that effort, the wire service's Greg Risling, reporting from Los Angeles at 6:14 p.m., made only the vaguest of references to how the film "roiled the Middle East" and "sparked violence ... killing dozens," without mentioning how it was dishonestly leveraged by terrorists as cover for protests and violence, and of course without mentioning how Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and so many others in his administration spent well over a week -- despite clearly knowing better -- citing the film as the cause of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens. Excerpts follow the jump (saved here in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):
In his "Winners and losers from Election 2012" feature filed at his paper's website on Wednesday afternoon, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza concluded that foreign policy in general was a "loser" in the campaign, failing to move votes (emphasis mine), "Despite all of the media attention that Libya drew in the final month of the campaign, foreign policy was an afterthought — at best — for most voters," he noted, adding that "Just 5 percent of people in the national exit poll said foreign policy was their most important issue. Interestingly, Obama won that group by 20+ points."
But as we've noted in numerous places on this blog, the administration's ever-shifting storyline on Benghazi failed to get scrutiny in the media, and new, damning revelations were downplayed or ignored, especially as the election drew closer and closer:
Now that the 2012 presidential election is over and Barack Obama has been safely reelected, the journalists at ABC's Good Morning America woke up to the fact that the President has "refused" to provide details the terrorist attack in Libya and that the administration "didn't want to talk about it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Fill-in host Elizabeth Vargas blithely announced, "In the meantime, the Libya issue has been overhanging this election. Allegations of a, quote, massive cover-up, by Senator John McCain about this administration's, really, refusal to really put to rest this issue before voting day." Martha Raddatz, who moderated the vice presidential debate, agreed, saying, "They didn't want to talk about it. Everybody tried to pin them down on that. They did not want to talk about it." "Everybody" tried to pin them down on Libya?
The film "SEAL Team Six" came under fire for being an Obama-booster just before the election. Its Obama-supporting producer Harvey Weinstein gave credibility to those charges when he lauded the President and took shots at Mitt Romney and John McCain on CNN on Monday night.
"I didn't have to do anything to remind anybody about the decision that Barack Obama made to pull the trigger on Osama bin Laden," Obama-donor Harvey Weinstein told CNN. Host Piers Morgan teed him up by calling the drama "quite overtly political in the most magnificent propaganda-style way." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The official Obama 2012 campaign slogan is "Forward." The operational motto of the Obama administration is "Cheese." As in "say cheese." From hollow Greek columns to strategically released Situation Room candids, the Paparazzi President has put self-serving optics above all else.
What did we get after four long years of expertly staged Kabuki-theater-meets-Potemkin-village productions? Sixteen trillion dollars in debt, a pile of dead bodies, troops at increased risk and a gallery of tax-subsidized Kodachrome pictures creating the grand illusion of leadership.
When, ten minutes into the October 28 Meet the Press, guest panelist Carly Fiorina brought up Benghazi, host David Gregory cut her off, but promised: “We’ll get to Libya a little bit later.” The show proceeded for nearly another 50 minutes without another mention of Libya.
A full seven days later -- 168 hours to be precise -- Gregory made good on his belated pledge, raising Benghazi with Obama operative David Plouffe just over ten minutes into the November 4 Meet the Press, but only after trying to discredit administration critics: “A lot of misinformation about this and a politicization of this in the final days.”
New reports (and denials) that the CIA told its members in Benghazi to stand down during the embassy attacks are nothing but "an argument for ideologues" and no election game-changer, sounded CNN's Fareed Zakaria on Friday.
"I think this is a highly politicized set of charges and countercharges," added Zakaria. This from the man who reportedly was considered for a post in Obama's next administration if he was re-elected. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
As the Big Three's evening newscasts ignored the latest in the controversy over the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya for seven straight days, their morning shows aren't doing much better. On Friday, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning together devoted less than two minutes of air time - 1 minute, 50 seconds - to the ambush that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American military veterans.
NBC's Today show mentioned the Libya attack only in passing, when Tom Brokaw noted it as one of a "series" of supposed October surprises in the presidential race, including "the President not showing up for the first debate, Benghazi", and Hurricane Sandy.
For the seventh night in a row, ABC’s World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to the Obama administration’s deceitful response to the terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11. According to the Media Research Center, the last time Benghazi was discussed on one of the flagship network evening news casts was the October 25 edition of CBS Evening News.
Since then, ABC News and CBS News have relegated coverage of the Benghazi terrorist attack to their websites. Jake Tapper’s November 1 report for ABC News landed on the Drudge Report, while a post from CBS News’ Sharyl Atkisson that same day was picked up by Real Clear Politics. But the millions of viewers who tune in to ABC’s World News and CBS Evening News were not permitted to hear these stories on the evening broadcasts.
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell reacts:
Unlike the liberal media who are engaging in a full-scale blackout of the scandal in Libya, Friday’s Fox & Friends engaged in a vigorous debate over the attack on our Embassy in Benghazi.
Fox News Channel liberal contributor Geraldo Rivera engaged in a full-out shouting match with conservative-leaning co-hosts Steve Doocy and Eric Bolling. During the back-and-forth, Geraldo’s main argument was thus: [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Americans of all political stripes were distressed by the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador. But the reaction of the national broadcast networks has been demonstrably and shamefully partisan from the beginning of this story.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack, all three broadcast networks touted the political angle that the events would bolster President Obama — “reminding voters of his power as commander-in-chief,” as NBC’s Peter Alexander asserted on the September 14 edition of Today — while Mitt Romney would be damaged by his supposedly flubbed initial reaction.
But as the story progressed and reports indicated that the Obama administration knowingly misrepresented the nature of the attack, failed to provide adequate security, and refused to authorize a potential rescue mission to save those under fire, those same journalists have been either slow to report those developments, or altogether silent.
Earlier today, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell accurately noted that the Big Three TV news networks are "as guilty in ... (the Benghazi) cover-up as is the administration." He did so based on the fact that "For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11."
Not that it mitigates the legitimacy of Mr. Bozell's outrage, but one can take some comfort in the fact that fewer people are tuning in to the three nightly news broadcasts than were doing so a year ago, and that their ratings in the 25-54 demographic in the past five weeks are down by almost 20 percent from the same five-week period during the 2008 presidential cycle. A table containing individual results from the past two weeks and the average results from the past five is after the jump (a previous NewsBusters post on the first three weeks is here).
For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11. According to a Media Research Center analysis, ABC, CBS, and NBC have failed to cover this devastating story - not to confirm it, not to knock it down, and never mind do their own investigation. The story broke last Friday, long before Hurricane Sandy swamped the news cycle. Further, neither The Washington Post nor The New York Times has committed a single inch of their newspapers to a news story about this report.
According to Fox News, “sources claim officers at the nearby CIA annex in Benghazi were twice told to stand down when they requested to help those at the consulate. They later ignored those orders. Fox News was also told that a subsequent request for back-up when the annex came under attack was denied as well.”
NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell reacts:
The heroic actions of Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty on September 11 in Benghazi, Libya, are a "riveting story" that the broadcast networks should be clamoring to cover, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told FNC's Sean Hannity last night. Similarly, the criticism of the Obama administration by Woods's father has been ignored by major media outlets other than Fox News, Hannity observed.
"There's a massive coverup going on," Bozell noted. "I think it is huge, it's bigger than most people realize it is. I believe that if the truth came out, it would cost Barack Obama his reelection. And the media are so vested in his reelection, they are flat-out complicit in this coverup. They are refusing to report news," the Media Research Center told the audience of the October 31 Hannity. [watch the "Media Mash" segment here]
The Tonight Show host began a series of jokes about the President during his monologue with a jab at the Commander-in-Chief dodging questions about what really happened at our consulate in Benghazi last month (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
NBC’s David Gregory isn’t always a news reporter. As we're seeing with increasing frequency on that network, he's squashing stories. Call him an unreporter. On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” he showed the extent to which he'll vaporize any suggestion that Team Obama failed to offer adequate protection from terrorists at our consulate in Benghazi.
Businesswoman Carly Fiorina slammed Obama’s Libya response: “That attack went on for seven hours…[with the] Secretary of Defense saying he denied requests for help over that seven hours.” Gregory cut her off: “We’ll get to Libya a little bit later.” Surprise: It never came up again.