The headline writers at the Daily Beast are either dumber than a box of rocks, or really, really don't like the content of Eli Lake's story today. The smart money should be on the latter.
As of 5:20 p.m., Lake's story concerning previous attacks on Benghazi, numerous security warnings, and the State Department's refusal to beef up protection was Number 2 in the rotation on the Daily Beast's home page, but with the headline seen after the jump.
Today marks three weeks to the day after the deadly terrorist strike on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and yet the scene of the crime remains "unguarded" and the FBI has yet to do an investigation on the ground there, much to the confusion and dismal of local residents of Benghazi, Washington Post staffers Anne Gearan and Michael Birnbaum reported in today's Washington Post.
Yet the article, headlined "U.S. pulls all personnel from eastern Libyan city," was buried on page A12 of the October 2 edition of the Post.
CNN reported a new bombshell in the ongoing Libya fiasco on Monday night, while the networks had already moved on from the story. CNN's Erin Burnett disclosed that "key intelligence" was left out of the post-Libya narrative given to the American public. The networks made no mention of Libya all day Monday and through Tuesday morning after being late to new developments in the story.
"[T]here were a decision made as to some of these key things that obviously are now considered to be crucial to this – essential to this attack were left out of the briefing points given to Congress and given to the American people," Burnett reported.
In the October 1 broadcast of NewsNation with Tamron Hall, a segment featuring former State Department Middle East officer Joel Rubin focused on how the Romney campaign was “trying to put all of these things in a big pot hoping that something picks up steam” concerning President Obama’s foreign policy. Yep, it’s still the same game with some in the media – which is to trivialize what can hurt the president to prevent it from becoming news.
"President Obama has almost a psychological need to be totally blind to the realities of Islamic extremism."
So said former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on Fox News's Hannity Monday during a discussion about the political impact of new revelations concerning the terrorist attack on our consulate in Libya.
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, BBC America Washington correspondent Katty Kay dismissed the electoral impact of the Obama administration's mishandling of the crisis in the Middle East: "I'm not sure that who said what, when, and when the intelligence came out...I'm not sure that that's going to be a huge issue for voters in the course of this election." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, she did bemoan the fact that ongoing chaos in the region may blunt Obama campaign attacks against Mitt Romney: "It does mean that it's harder for the White House to keep focusing on what was a pretty disastrous response from the Romney campaign initially. So it kind of draws a line under that." And what of the "pretty disastrous response" by the President of the United States?
Let's see. Who has the bigger problem with Libya and the Middle East? Is it the guy who's in charge with a foreign policy in disarray who has described the first murder of a U.S. ambassador in 33 years a "bump in the road"? Or his presidential campaign challenger Mitt Romney?
If we're to believe Mike Allen, Jim Vandehei, and Politico, it's Romney, where "Romney advisers at odds over Libya" was the only thing visible on my computer screen when I went to the web site's home page at 10 p.m. ET. You have to go almost all the way to the bottom of the home page to see stories about how "at odds" Obama administration advisers have been and still are about the U.S. positions on Libya, terrorism, Israel, and the Middle East during the past several weeks. Several paragraphs from the Romney story, wherein one learns that there really isn't much in the way of conflict, accompanied by yet another round of "the polls say Romney's doomed," follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Does anyone remember anybody in the establishment press speculating over who might hold Cabinet positions during a second Bush 43 term in the fall of 2004 without qualifying it with "if Bush is reelected"? Neither do I.
But at the Politico on Thursday, the closest Josh Ragin got in an item found at the web site's "The Cable" section speculating on whether John Kerry or Susan Rice is better positioned to be Obama's nominee to be "America's next top diplomat" (i.e., Secretary of State) was quoting a Republican Senate aide who merely referred to the possible fireworks "if it's the beginning of a second Obama term." That doesn't even qualify as a qualifier either, because a victorious Obama might attempt to confirm a new nominee to replace Hillary Clinton during a lame-duck session. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, as the panel discussed the media's lack of attention to revelations that the Obama administration knew that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was a pre-planned terrorist attack in spite of dismissing the event as a protest that got out of hand, left-leaning FNC analyst Kirsten Powers declared that the media have had a "really disturbing lack of curiosity" about the episode, adding that they "should be holding" the Obama administration's "feet to the fire in a a serious way."
Since MRC president Brent Bozell was busy celebrating at the MRC's 25th Anniversary Gala on Thursday night, Fox News asked him to appear for a "Media Mash" segment on Friday night's Hannity. Bozell and Sean Hannity focused mostly on the emerging scandal of Team Obama's lies about the attacks at the Benghazi consulate that killed four Americans. As we've reported, the networks have been very slow off the mark on this one. ABC's Jake Tapper showed spokesman Jay Carney pooh-poohing it was a “pre-planned attack," which now looks like a lie. Networks didn't want to underline the government knew within 24 hours it was a terrorist attack.
Bozell asked, "Who shows up to a demonstration with rocket-propelled grenades?...Where are the press? They should have been doing this two weeks ago!" Hannity lamented, "They’re covering up the death by terrorists of Americans by terrorists!" And "CBS has yet to cover this,” Bozell said. (Video below)
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer gave quite a scolding Friday to his fellow panelists on PBS's Inside Washington.
During a discussion about the murder of our ambassador in Libya, Krauthammer said, "I just want to respond to my liberal pals over here. I can’t believe you guys are covering for the administration on the Susan Rice thing when they themselves said five days later it was obviously a terror attack" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ABC's Jake Tapper's Thursday report on World News stands alone as the only Big Three coverage so far of what The Daily Beast's Eli Lake reported on Wednesday - that U.S. intelligence officials had "strong indications" within a day that Islamist terrorists were behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi - not a mob enraged at a controversial Internet video.
By contrast, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw tried to point the finger at Mitt Romney on Friday's Today show for the media's apparent lack of curiosity at the inconsistencies in the Obama administration's narrative about the terrorist attack. Otherwise, NBC only aired two reports on the story since Wednesday - twice running the same Ann Curry interview of Libyan President Mohammed Magarief.
While ignoring breaking news in the Obama administration's Libya fiasco on Thursday night, CNN's Piers Morgan dumped on the Romney campaign for a good portion of his show, saying Mitt is "in a hell of a lot of trouble."
Morgan cited four polls in Virginia showing "Obama comfortably ahead," even though one of the polls was actually a tie and another had Obama leading within the margin of error. "Your guy's in a hell of a lot of trouble, isn't he?" Morgan asked GOP pollster Kristen Soltis. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
"Consulate attackers had ties to al-Qaeda," blares a page A1 Washington Post headline in this morning's edition. "But terrorist group didn't plan assault in Libya, U.S. officials say," the subheader adds.
Yet six paragraphs into his article, Washington Post reporter Greg Miller noted that (emphasis mine) "The intelligence picture assembled so far indicates that militants had been preparing an assault on the U.S. compound in Benghazi for weeks but were so disorganized that, after the battle started, they had to send fighters to retrieve heavier weapons."
On Friday's NBC Today, special correspondent Tom Brokaw demonstrated the blatant media effort to ignore Obama administration failures surrounding the consulate attack in Libya: "Romney turned out to give the President air cover. There are serious questions about what happened in Libya and the absence of security and what is our Middle East policy, but Romney's missteps really have given the President more camouflage than he would have expected." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Brokaw lamely attempting to blame Mitt Romney for the failure of the media to ask tough national security questions of Obama echoed a recent revealing statement by CBS News political director John Dickerson, who declared that it was solely Romney's responsibility to hold the President to account over Libya because the media would not.
On September 25, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell was joined by numerous other conservatives in an open letter to ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN executives protesting their blatant bias and noting that they are encouraging Americans to get their news from other, more balanced sources.
The following night, Fox News's Greta Van Susteren referenced the letter in a segment with fellow FNCer Brit Hume, who noted that while every presidential election he's covered he's observed the media's bias against the Republican candidate, that this year is markedly different in the intensity of that bias (watch the video embedded below the page break):
ABC's Good Morning America hasn't once reported on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's claim on the September 16, 2012 edition of This Week that the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was "a spontaneous - not a pre-meditated - response to what had transpired in Cairo." Even worse, the morning show hasn't reported on the subsequent developments on the consulate attack over the past 12 days that cast doubt on Ambassador Rice's statement.
NBC's Today show also hasn't covered Rice's talking points on the attack, after she appeared on Meet the Press on the same day as her This Week appearance. News reader Natalie Morales merely reported on September 19 that "the White House says there is currently no evidence that last week's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was planned and pre-meditated. Officials say it appears that the violence was sparked by that anti-Islam film made in the U.S." Two days later, Morales gave an update on how "the White House is now classifying the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack....But intelligence officials now believe it was a planned attack in the guise of a protest."
Both of those programs provided voluminous coverage of Romney's "47%" tape, but have no time to scrutinize the Obama administration's public statements about an incident that claimed the life of an American ambassador?
Corrected from earlier | Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel appeared on the September 27 Morning Joe to give viewers a preview of the latest issue of the magazine, the cover story of which is devoted to Mitt Romney's Mormon faith. At the tail end of the segment, teasing other articles in the issue, Stengel plugged Bobby Ghosh's interview with Mohammed Abdel Rahman, the son of Omar Abdel Rahman, the "blind sheikh" serving time in a federal prison for his role in aborted 1993 bombing plot targeting the World Trade Center.
"We have a great piece by Bobby Ghosh, who's been on here before about the rise of the Salafis, in the Middle East, they're the Tea Party of Muslim democracy, and that's a fantastic, insightful story as well," Stengel noted. Neither Joe Scarborough not co-host Willie Geist threw a penalty flag at Stengel's unnecessary roughness, comparing the Tea Party to radical advocates of stringent Sharia law. [MP3 audio here; video at bottom of post]
In an article published shortly before 5 a.m. EDT on the morning of Sept. 26, The Daily Beast's Eli Lake revealed that three separate U.S. intelligence officials confirmed to him that within 24 hours of the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the Obama administration had strong reason to suspect al Qaeda ties to the deadly violence.
Lake noted that the identities of at least four of the participants in the attack on the consulate were found within 24 hours, one of which has been tracked by his use of social media. This of course conflicts with the administration's early story. You may recall that four days after the attack, on Sept 16, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations insisted to CBS' Bob Schieffer that the attack was spontaneous and tied to an obscure video on YouTube.
In a dispatch today, an unbylined AP report headlined "Romney: Benghazi a 'Terrorist Attack'" seems to act as if this is some kind of revelation to the GOP nominee even though everyone except Obama administration insiders desperately trying to bring life to the corpse formerly known as the Arab Spring have been saying that for well over a week. It gets much worse than that in the report's third paragraph:
In the wake of a rather tragic and tumultuous events regarding American foreign policy in the Middle East, President Barack Obama plans to forego the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to the UN this week. The reason is simple. It just could not wait. The president needed to have a sit down with Barbara Walters and the rest of gals at The View.
Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler published a column yesterday attempting to debunk the claim in an American Crossroads television spot that President Obama skipped almost half of his intelligence briefings. Kessler assigned the assertion a 3 out of 4 possible Pinocchios. No matter how Kessler spins it, however, the fact remains that President Obama failed to receive in-person intelligence briefings in the days leading up to the September 11 assassination of Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The New York Times is certainly not treating Barack Obama's statement on 60 Minutes that the death of four Americans in Libya, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens, as one of a few "bumps in the road," as a callous and politically damaging gaffe. Reporter Ashley Parker reluctantly covered Romney delivering "talking points" to the media on the matter, in "Republican Team Attacks Obama on Foreign Policy," but her story opened by highlighting Romney's "tough" time, including yet another mention of Romney's "47 percent" comment at a private fundraiser.
In an interview that aired Sunday, Obama was asked by CBS's Steve Kroft whether "the recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?"
Obama responded in part: "But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam."
On Monday, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today failed to air any full reports on the continuing inquiry into the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and mentioned the issue only in passing. CBS This Morning did devote a full segment to the dispute between the State Department and CNN over their use of a Ambassador Chris Stevens' personal journal, but didn't mention President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by name.
Matt Lauer vaguely referenced the "new wave of anti-Americanism" in the Islamic world during an interview of Tony Blair, but it took the former British prime minister to specifically point out the "tragic death of your ambassador" in Libya. During a report on the presidential race, ABC's Jake Tapper did briefly note how the President "described some of the events as bumps in the road. The Romney campaign saying that the death of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador in Libya, is far worse than a bump in the road."
Who knew that "a source familiar with Ambassador Steven's thinking" may have been Ambassador Stevens himself?
Citing an unnamed but mysteriously close source on Wednesday, CNN's Anderson Cooper reported that Christopher Stevens was concerned about security threats, Islamic extremism, and an al-Qaeda hit list in the months leading up to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
Two days later, Cooper admitted that some of the information from that report secretly came from Stevens own handwriting, in a seven-page personal journal that the network had found at the scene of the attack.
Only our totally unbiased watchdog media could turn the burning of U.S. embassies in countries where Barack Obama had recently supported mob revolts into Mitt Romney's blunder. Journalists couldn't risk having Obama's campaign slogan "Osama is dead" being amended with "and so is our ambassador."
After our ambassador to Libya was murdered in a preplanned, coordinated attack on our embassy last week, preceded by an attack on our embassy in Egypt (and followed by attacks on our embassies in Yemen, Indonesia, Tunisia and Lebanon), Romney criticized the Obama administration for "sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt."
In a hearing yesterday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, an Obama administration official admitted what all of us already knew through credible reports in foreign media: Amb. Chris Stevens died on September 11 "in the course of a terrorist attack." As Karen DeYoung reported in today's Washington Post, National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen told the committee that "the people involved in the violent assault" on the consulate in Benghazi hailed from "several militant groups, including localized extremists in eastern Libya as well as affiliates of al Qaeda."
Fox News reported moments ago that the leader of last week's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, may have been Sufian bin Qumu who was released from the detention center in Guantanamo Bay in 2007.
The New York Times reported April 24, 2011, on the release of a prisoner named Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu that appears to be the same man:
This week we learned what really gets the liberal media in a ... well ... rage. It isn't the act of perpetrating violence upon the innocent. No, it's calling out that rage for everyone to see. In Liberal Land, words speak louder than actions.
The media on the left side of the aisle took more umbrage with a Newsweek article titled, Muslim Rage, than they did with the incidents that demonstrated that rage - the killing of four Americans in Libya, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and the hoisting of Islamist flags on sovereign U.S. soil. Outlets like Think Progress called the Newsweek cover, which featured an image of a group of obviously agitated Muslims, Islamophobic. Newsweek for their part did not apologize for their portrayal of events in the Middle East saying: