Appearing on Sunday’s edition of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program, Huffington Post correspondent Jennifer Bendery dismissed the Benghazi scandal, telling host John McArdle that “there’s really not a whole lot of ‘there’ there” when it comes to the September 2012 attacks.
It’s offensive enough that Bendery abandoned any sense of objective journalism in her interview with McArdle. It’s even worse that she repeated nearly verbatim a phrase used by President Obama in his press conference last Monday (transcript of the May 13 press conference via The Wall Street Journal):
And the emails that you allude to were provided by us to congressional committees. They reviewed them several months ago, concluded that, in fact, there was nothing afoul in terms of the process that we had used. And suddenly, three days ago, this gets spun up as if there’s something new to the story. There’s no “there” there.
It’s clear that Bendery and The Huffington Post are just acting as a mouthpiece for the Obama administration – and its refusal to address the attacks that killed four Americans last September. But Bendery later doubled down, claiming that Americans simply don’t want to talk about the scandal.
To me, it’s important to look at where people are outside of the Beltway on these issues. And by and large, there’s polling on this already, the American public just isn’t that interested in talking about Benghazi and the IRS.
Host McArdle boosted her argument by discussing a Gallup poll released Thursday which found that 53 percent of Americans are following the hearings on the Benghazi attacks, a “comparatively low” figure “based on historical measures of other news stories over the last two decades.” But McArdle and Bendery completely ignored another question in that very same report, asking if Americans agree that the Benghazi scandal needs to be investigated.
Gallup found that 69 percent of Americans either “agree” or “strongly agree” that the events in Benghazi require further investigation, while only 21 percent “disagree” or “strongly disagree.” Apparently in Bendery’s world, 21 percent constitutes “the American public.”
Bendery rounded up her trashing of the Benghazi scandal by diminishing the magnitude of the attacks, claiming they weren’t “anything except a tragic attack that left some people dead and maybe a call for better security at an embassy.” Anything except? It appears Bendery cares even less than the administration about the horrible events of that day.
The full interview is available on C-SPAN's Washington Journal website, under "President Obama's Second-Term Agenda." The relevant segment of the interview runs from 0:30 to 9:25. Read the full transcript below the jump:
7:51 a.m. Eastern
JOHN McARDLE: Talk about where the president is on the Benghazi story versus the IRS story. A better position, if we’re talking about trying to handle the fallout of some of these stories?
JENNIFER BENDERY: Well, I think that it is kind of funny that we’re talking about two in one. And plus, people in Washington know, this week has been really focused on it’s three scandals all happening at once. You’ve got Benghazi, you’ve got the IRS, and now you’ve got the Justice Department subpoenaing phone records for like, twenty reporters. And these things all kind of collided this week. You’ve got Republicans trying to turn it into this triad of scandal. But, in terms of Benghazi I think that it’s pretty clear at this point. They’ve been doing hearings on this for months. They’ve had hearings, they’ve had testimony, they’ve solicited documents. And in the end, there’s really not a whole lot of ‘there’ there. So that issue, as tragic as it was, it was horrible. There’s not really a scandal, a cover-up, that some Republicans have being trying to find and attach to this. So, I think that issue is going to start petering out a little bit. They just don’t have anything to hold on to in terms of Republicans attacking Obama on it.
BENDERY: To me, it’s important to look at where people are outside of the Beltway on these issues. And by and large, there’s polling on this already, the American public just isn’t that interested in talking about Benghazi and the IRS.
McARDLE: But Jen Bendery, you bring up some of the polling that’s out there – America’s attention to the IRS and Benghazi stories. Here’s the Gallup poll report from this past week. It notes that “slim majorities of Americans are very or somewhat closely following the situations involving the Internal Revenue Service,” about 54 percent, “and the congressional hearings on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and its aftermath,” 53 percent, that’s “comparatively low based on historical measures of other news stories over the last two decades.” The poll report notes that “despite extensive news coverage of these stories in recent days, the level of attention being paid to each is below the average of 60 percent of Americans who have closely followed more than 200 news stories Gallup has measured over the past several decades.”
BENDERY: Exactly. In your day to day life, when you wake up and you go to work if you have a job, carry out your daily activities, come home, eat, see your family if you have one, watch TV, go to bed. This is a lifestyle that many people in this country lead. It’s not like during the day you’re just sitting there gnawing on your arm wondering what’s going to happen with the IRS, or what next investigation there will be into Benghazi when there have been so many going on already. They haven’t produced anything that suggests anything except a tragic attack that left some people dead and maybe a call for better security at an embassy.
Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that 74 percent of Americans "agree" or "strongly agree" that the Benghazi scandal should be investigated further. The correct figure is 69 percent.