On Tuesday night, CBS and NBC led their evening newscasts with the arrest of the supposed mastermind of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya while ABC reported it right after two short stories on devastating tornadoes in the Midwest.
To their credit, CBS and ABC made a serious attempt at bias-free reporting but NBC’s Nightly News fell short. On top of that, the peacock network continued their biased perspective this morning on the Today show. [See video below. MP3 audio here]
In a passionate interview with host Brooke Baldwin on the June 17 edition of CNN Newsroom, Patricia Smith – mother of slain U.S. diplomat Sean Smith – voiced her frustrations about the lack of answers she has received from the Obama administration regarding Benghazi.
Smith had one basic request for Hillary Clinton, a simple phone call [MP3 audio here; video below]:
On Wednesday, Salon's Simon Maloy suggested that the Attkisson-Heritage relationship is a match made in conservative heaven given that Attkisson's Benghazi-related resignation from CBS was an "act of career martyrdom" which made her "a candidate for canonization by right-wing pundits and activists."
"Conservatives," Maloy snarked, "love [Attkisson] for her willingness to flog Obama scandals long after they’ve been debunked and/or ceased being relevant." He added that as it stands, "the Daily Signal will have to lean heavily on whatever gravitas Attkisson provides because the rest of the site is just awful."
During a fawning segment on Thursday's NBC Today promoting Hillary Clinton's People magazine interview, co-host Savannah Guthrie parroted the former Secretary of State's spin on the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya: "On Benghazi, Clinton said the chance to testify was the most important thing to her, despite a fall and concussion that's brought some Republican hard knocks on her health." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie touted Clinton's thinly-veiled attempt to question the health of Republican Congressman Paul Ryan: "Clinton told People that 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told her he had suffered three concussions, one serious." Guthrie then noted: "Team Clinton has set up a rapid response team to address criticism about Benghazi during her book tour."
Addressing the critics of the Obama administration’s prisoner swap for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky posited that this controversy represents the Right’s new Benghazi, by which he means a new scandal obsession which will prove fruitless.
The absurdity in the piece is unrelenting; Tomasky claims that “Bergdahl may well end up being the flimsy excuse for the impeachment hearings they’ve been dreaming of.”
On Thursday, Charlie Rose spent the entire commercial-free hour of his PBS show interviewing Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, yet never asked her a single question about the 2012 Benghazi attacks or her role in disseminating faulty talking points afterward. In fact, the B-word never escaped Rose’s nor Rice’s lips during the entire show. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
There were, however, a few moments when a question about Benghazi would have seemed appropriate. Early in the interview, Rose asked where in the world America’s core interests were under attack at the moment. Rice pointed to the ongoing terrorist threat:
On Friday, both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning dutifully promoted quotes from Hillary Clinton's new memoir leaked to Politico of the former Secretary of State blasting critics of her mishandling of the Benghazi terrorist attack. Today co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "If there was any doubt Hillary Clinton's clearly ready to go on offense on this." Political director Chuck Todd agreed: "There's no doubt at all. In fact, there's a concerted campaign effort." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On CBS This Morning, correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "...the former Secretary of State strikes a defiant tone about the attack and all the investigations into it..." Moments later, Cordes observed: "Democrats are going to see this as a kind of template for how to talk about the Benghazi attacks. In fact, the Clinton team is reportedly meeting with Democratic groups to explain her tone in the book so that everyone is on the same page."
At the top of her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: "The Benghazi dozen, five Democrats now agreeing to join seven Republican inquisitors after failing to block the new Benghazi probe. Is it a witch hunt or a truth squad?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an interview that followed with Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, Mitchell wondered why Democrats would bother being part of the select committee investigating the scandal: "...why the decision by your caucus – and a divided caucus it was – you had your microphone cut off by [House Oversight Committee Chairman] Daryl Issa....you and others, I think, were against playing a role in what could be, you know, a real witch hunt, according to you....Why even play the game?"
MSNBC guest host Ari Melber devoted significant attention on Monday night's The Last Word to shielding potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton from scrutiny, both on questions about her health and on her record as President's Obama's first-term secretary of state.
As part of that effort, Melber and two panelists tackled recent comments by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) regarding Mrs. Clinton's handling of the Benghazi fiasco. Melber lamented that Graham was heretofore a member of the “serious wing” of the Republican Party who is flushing that down the drain in the interest in going down "what Jon Stewart called the Brainghazi rabbit hole to pull at her health in this theory."
The right has directed most of its anger over the handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack at President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice, but when lefty blogger Martin Longman reflects on reactions to Benghazi, he thinks of a different villain: Mitt Romney.
In a Saturday post for the Washington Monthly web site, Longman recalls that a few days after the attack, he was "seething about Romney’s behavior" re Benghazi, and that within three weeks, he "was in disbelief that the Romney campaign was chortling with glee at the death of four Americans."
The Daily Beast on Tuesday drew attention to an important story that has been under-reported by the major broadcast networks. According to an article written by Eli Lake, Libya has become a hub for al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists since the September 2012 Benghazi attacks. This information came from various “current and former U.S. counterterrorism officials.”
Lake summarized the situation in his second and third paragraphs:
Appearing on Monday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, Washington Post reporter Dan Balz touted Democratic spin that the ongoing Benghazi scandal could actually help Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign: "I talked to somebody over the weekend, a Democrat, who said, you know, this could actually be good for Clinton because the degree to which the right is really after her helps her with her left....if she's under attack by the right, the Democrats across the spectrum will be more forgiving of her." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Host and NBC political director Chuck Todd led off the exchange by wondering if the House GOP was just "playing politics" with the issue by announcing a select committee to investigate the 2012 terrorist attack. Balz declared: "I mean, I think the base of the Republican Party is very stirred up and continues to be very stirred up over Benghazi." Todd whined: "And they believe the worst in this conspiracy about the White House. And they believe it to the core."
On Monday, the three network morning shows provided 12 minutes 24 seconds to Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner but only CBS This Morning reported House Speaker John Boehner on Friday announcing a new investigation into Benghazi – a news brief that totaled a mere 47 seconds. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Charlie Rose noted: "Both parties on Capitol Hill are sniping over new a investigation of the deadly Benghazi attack." After a soundbite of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham discussing the scandal on Sunday's Face the Nation, Rose added: "House Speaker John Boehner is calling for a new investigation based on a White House memo released last week. Republicans say the document proves the Obama administration tried to spin the attacks for political gain." NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story on Monday.
After White House emails released on Tuesday showed the Obama administration had a direct hand in crafting false talking points about the Benghazi terrorist attack in 2012, Wednesday's CBS This Morning was the only network broadcast to cover the latest developments in the ongoing scandal. None of the network evening newscasts covered the story Tuesday night, with NBC and ABC continuing to be out to lunch Wednesday morning.
Introducing a full report on the Benghazi emails, This Morning co-host Charlie Rose announced: "New emails are renewing controversy this morning over the Obama administration's response to Benghazi. The documents were obtained by the conservative organization Judicial Watch. Four Americans died in the 2012 assault, including Ambassador Chris Stevens." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
For the first time since her infamous 2012 interview, National Security Advisor Susan Rice appeared on Meet the Press on Sunday February 23 to discuss a variety of foreign policy issues, most noticeably Benghazi.
Throughout the interview, which focused primarily on the recent violent protests in Ukraine, host David Gregory provided Rice with a variety of softball questions on Benghazi, and allowed her to push White House talking points without any significant pushback.
Not accustomed to being asked difficult questions about his failures in office, President Obama attacked Fox News host Bill O'Reilly during a pre-Super Bowl interview on Sunday for daring to demand answers about the Benghazi terrorist attack and the IRS targeting conservative groups. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly pressed: "Your detractors believe that you did not tell the world it was a terror attack because your campaign didn't want that out. That's what they believe." Obama ranted in reply: "And they believe it because folks like you are telling them that." O'Reilly responded: "No, I'm not telling them that, I'm asking you whether you were told it was a terror attack."
On Wednesday the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a devastating report that blamed the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s State Department for security failures leading up to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.
While the Big Three (ABC, CBS and NBC) networks covered the report for a day, they found another event far more compelling -- The First Lady’s 50th birthday bash, spending twice as much time on the White House party than Benghazi. (chart and video montage after the jump)
Wednesday marks the one year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead and sent the Obama administration scrambling for a cover story that the Big Three broadcast networks initially bought and were slow to unravel.
A similar pattern has emerged in 2013. As new information about the administration’s actions before and after the attacks have been revealed through congressional testimony, whistleblowers, and eyewitnesses, the Big Three have responded by censoring, breezing past or spinning politically damaging bombshells. (full special report after the jump)
MSNBC continues to do its best to protect the Obama administration from any accusations of wrongdoing in the Benghazi fiasco. On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host went so far as to ask whether it is even legitimate to call Benghazi a scandal.
Witt was setting up her pre-taped “Office Politics” interview with Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor of The Grio and frequent MSNBC contributor, when she announced that she "asked Joy-Ann about the fallout from the Benghazi attacks and if it's legitimate to call that mess a scandal.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Defending the indefensible can make a liberal journalist a little prickly. How else do you explain Washington Post columnist Colbert I. "Colby" King's specious attack on his fellow Post colleague and Inside Washington panelist Charles Krauthammer this weekend?
It all happened when Krauthammer responded to a Post editorial, published in Thursday’s paper, which asserted that UN Ambassador Susan Rice did not mislead anyone about the nature of the September 11 Benghazi attack. Ninety-seven House Republicans had signed a letter charging that Rice did mislead the public, and the Post editorial demanded that those Republicans apologize to Rice. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The PBS NewsHour led off its Thursday evening telecast with a story about the three scandals that currently envelop the Obama administration: the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, the Justice Department’s subpoena of AP phone records, and the Benghazi attack. Rather than following the package with analysis from a journalist, as PBS often does with stories like this, the taxpayer-subsidized network brought on White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri to provide the White House's spin on these scandals.
Even worse, anchor Judy Woodruff did not rise to the occasion with any tough questioning, allowing Palmieri to spin her way right out of trouble. All of Woodruff’s questions dealt with President Obama’s reaction to the scandals; she never grilled Palmieri on whether the White House was involved in any of this. The assumption seemed to be that the president was an innocent bystander in all of these scandals. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Last night on his PBS talk show, Tavis Smiley sat down for a cozy conversation with Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for left-wing magazine The Nation. Scahill was critical of the Obama administration, as well as the journalists who fail to hold him accountable, throughout much of the interview. However, he did let his mask of objectivity slip at a few points, revealing the liberal face underneath.
Scahill was outraged over the administration’s secrecy surrounding its national security operations, particularly drone strikes. Smiley asked him why the administration has not been more forthcoming about its use of drones, and Scahill partially blamed congressional Republicans: [Video below the break. MP3 audio here.]
It seems the liberal media are desperately determined to shield Hillary Clinton from any attacks on her handling of the Benghazi fiasco. On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host attempted to blunt the criticism by suggesting that Mrs. Clinton’s opponents have taken her memorable "What difference, at this point, does it make?" quote from her testimony in January out of context.
Witt was talking with Steve Thomma of the left-leaning McClatchy Newspapers chain about how far the Benghazi talking points fiasco will go. Thomma predicted that Republicans would use the issue against Democrats in the 2014 midterms and the 2016 presidential race. He pointed out that a GOP Super PAC has already put out an attack ad that excerpts Secretary Clinton’s angry eruption. But Witt had a problem with the way the ad used that quote: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
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.]
MRC Vice President for Business and Culture Dan Gainor appeared on Fox Business to argue that the media’s lack of Benghazi coverage was for protection of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.
After Charles Payne, Fox Business Network Contributor and co-host of “Varney & Co,” noted that the media appeared to either brush off Benghazi coverage or defend the administration, Gainor responded that the media “care most about protecting Hillary Clinton as well as protecting Barack Obama” on May 9.
During a Fox News Benghazi report, MRC Vice President for Business and Culture Dan Gainor argued that the media covered-up Benghazi news out of adoration for Hillary Clinton.
Speaking with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly on May 9, Gainor argued that the media have “been doing this throughout, this is sort of continuation of their policy to minimize a scandal that makes Hillary Clinton look really bad.” He continued to say, “The why is, she’s running for election in 2016, and the media have always loved Hillary.”