As I've noted before, Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Anne Gearan has demonstrated in the past a penchant for hagiographic coverage of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Well, yesterday Gearan turned her puffery to work for Susan Rice the outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations whose dutiful peddling of fallacious talking points after the 9/11 Benghazi attack ultimately doomed her nomination to succeed Clinton at Foggy Bottom.
Gearan devoted her 17 paragraphs story to explaining to readers of the June 6 Washington Post how "Rice, known for [her] toughness, has [her] work cut out for her" as the president's new national security advisor, a possible that does not require Senate confirmation. Apart from a brief reference to how Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) remain critical of her, the vast bulk of the story was strewn with glowing references to Rice, particularly from Democratic defenders (emphasis mine):
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.
This morning the Washington Post website announced that the paper had decided to endorse President Barack Obama for reelection. That endorsement should hit the print edition tomorrow. But make no mistake, endorsing the president is not the only cover the paper is granting the president. Witness the Post's treatment of the latest, damning development in the Benghazi fiasco.
The story began: "A series of missteps by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in criticizing President Obama’s account of the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, might make it harder for him to continue using the incident as the heart of his wider complaint about the incumbent’s foreign policy record."
Updated at bottom of post | Bit by bit, slowly but surely, the Obama administration's initial story about what transpired in the deadly September 11 terrorist attack unraveled over the past few weeks. At the same time, we learned, no thanks to broadcast network newscasts that largely ignored the story -- that the consulate was poorly secured, that security personnel had been reduced in the weeks preceding 9/11, and that Amb. Chris Stevens feared for his life.
So how did the Washington Post cover yesterday's House Oversight Committee hearing into "The Security Failures of Benghazi"? According to Post staffer Anne Gearan, it was a "highly charged" partisan exercise that "produced few new revelations about the attack" although it "underscored the administration's political vulnerability over the Benghazi episode four weeks before the presidential election."
Four Americans are dead from a September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and it's becoming abundantly clear that security at the compound had been incredibly lax and that the Obama administration may have actively attempted to deceive the public about the terroristic nature of the strike in the first few days subsequent to it. A House committee is holding a hearing as I write this to get to the bottom of things.
So how did the Post cover the story in the Wednesday, October 10 paper? By worrying about the political impact on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Here's how staff writer Anne Gearan opened her page A1 story headlined "Deadly Benghazi attack could mar Clinton legacy":
On Tuesday, three weeks after the deadly terrorist strike on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, two House Republicans sent a letter to Obama Secretary of State Hillary Clinton detailing "incidents dating to April" that evidence "a pattern of threats" against the late Amb. Chris Stevens, many of them "new revelations" such as the fact that "Libyans working as private security guards at the U.S. compound were warned by family members in the weeks before the assault to quite their jobs because of rumors of an impending attack."
Yet Post editors placed the story on the matter, headlined "Probe in Libya moving slowly," on page A10 of the October 3 paper. In the same article, Birnbaum and Gearan quote from one Walid Faraj, "a member of the militia that local officials tasked with securing Americans in Beghazi" who "said he saw the attack nearly from start to finish." Faraj insists he has yet to be interviewed by either American or Libyan investigators. "Since that day, nobody has called, nobody cared," Faraj told the Post. "How is it the Americans didn't anticipate anything?"
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.
Anne Gearan of The Washington Post reported Friday that the Obama administration paid $70,000 to buy ads on Pakistant television disavowing the “Innocence of Muslims” video on YouTube in an attempt to defuse street protests. “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation of respect, that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” Obama says in the ad, which is stamped “paid content.”
This is a different kind of political ad, with an important U.S. government goal. But will it draw scrutiny from Post “Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler, a former State Department correspondent for the Post? It can’t be accurately stated that Obama and his financial supporters (ahem, Bill Maher) have rejected “all efforts to denigrate” Christians. [Ad below]
Two Republican presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, are both promising to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if they should become the nation's next president. There's literally no way to "fact check" something that is only a promise, but Gearan wasted over 500 words pretending to do just that. She couldn't even buy a clue that her item's title ("FACT CHECK: Israel embassy promise may be empty") gives away the, uh, fact that it wasn't a "fact check" at all. Jim Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web minced no words in critiquing AP's and Gearan's cluelessness (bolds are mine):