NBC and ABC completely skipped a scathing new report that singles out Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for blame after the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. CBS, in contrast, offered full reports on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Evening News anchor Scott Pelley announced, "House Republicans fired off a blistering report today criticizing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell trumpeted, "House Republicans issued a scathing report on the Benghazi attack. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed last September." Yet, the ABC programs World News, Nightline and Good Morning America ignored the development. GMA, however, found time to promote important topics, such as "dancing babies" and the "secrets" behind America's favorite game shows. NBC's Nightly News and the Today show also avoided the subject.
On the Evening News, Nancy Cordes highlighted a cable from April 2012, five months prior to the attacks. Cordes alerted, "Republicans who viewed the cable say it bears Secretary Clinton's signature which they claim contradicts this assertion she made in a hearing this January."
The reporter did make sure to mention that "House Democrats complained they were cut out of this investigation." But she also noted that the White House did "not issue a flat-out denial."
On CBS This Morning, Margaret Brennan offered more details on the report:
MARGARET BRENNAN (voice-over): Hillary Clinton is under fire again for the fatal September 11th attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. House Republicans charge that newly-released White House e-mails show that 'repeated requests for additional security were denied at the highest levels of the State Department'. Secretary Clinton, they claim, personally gave approval to 'systematically withdraw security personnel' from Libya, despite a high-threat environment. They cite a classified cable, sent five months before the assault, that bears her signature. Clinton testified that she had not seen any requests for security.
In a bid to beat the Today show in the ratings, Good Morning America has become increasingly superficial. But, perhaps, a terrorist attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans is more important than dancing babies?
A transcript of the April 23 CBS Evening News segment, which aired at 6:41pm ET, is below:
SCOTT PELLEY: House Republicans fired off a blistering report today criticizing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The issue is the attack last year on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. That attack killed the ambassador and three other Americans. No Democrats joined in today's report. Our congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes has had a look at it.
NANCY CORDES: The congressional report cites a State Department cable from April 2012; five months before the Benghazi attacks. The cable acknowledges the U.S. ambassador's request for additional security, but instead according to the report, "Articulated a plan to scale back security assets for the U.S. mission in Libya, including the Benghazi Mission." Republicans who viewed the cable say it bears Secretary Clinton's signature which they claim contradicts this assertion she made in a hearing this January.
HILLARY CLINTON: I didn't see those requests. They didn't come to me. I didn't approve them. I didn't deny them.
NANCY CORDES: The report also concludes that, "The administration willfully perpetuated a deliberately misleading and incomplete narrative," editing, "Talking points about the attacks not at the direction of the CIA," as the White House has claimed but, "to insulate the State Department from criticism that it ignored the threat environment in Benghazi." The report cites fragments of State Department e-mails expressing concern in the days after the attacks that the original talking points could imply that they were, "Not paying attention to Agency warnings." Even after changes were made, a senior State Department official wrote that "the edits still did not resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership." Two days later after still more changes, those talking points were used by the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, on five Sunday talk shows.
SUSAN RICE (FACE THE NATION): We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.
NANCY CORDES: House Democrats complained they were cut out of this investigation and we were not able to view the State Department e-mails to confirm that the quotes were accurate or that they were taken out of context. The White House did not issue a flat-out denial, Scott, but they did tell CBS News that the report, quote, "Appears to raise questions that have already been asked and answered in great detail."