On this 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, ABC, CBS, NBC and MSNBC appropriately devoted time to commemorating that tragic day in our history. But today also marks the second anniversary of the Benghazi attacks that led to the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith and two CIA contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty.
So how much time did the Big Three and MSNBC, on Thursday morning, devote to their memories and the surrounding controversy around the attack? Zero seconds.
Comparatively Fox News devoted 22 minutes, 31 seconds to the Benghazi attacks from 6am to 12 noon. CNN managed a meager 25 seconds during that same six-hour time period, when New Day co-host Michaela Pereira mentioned: “President Obama will mark September 11 and the second anniversary of the Benghazi attack at a ceremony at the Pentagon.” There were zero mentions of the Benghazi anniversary during the nearly three hours of MSNBC’s Morning Joe before they cut to their annual rebroadcast of their coverage from September 11, 2001.
While the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) morning shows couldn’t find a single second of airtime to spend on the second anniversary of the Benghazi attacks they did manage to find almost 2 minutes to spend on a bear playing with a flag tee at a golf course. In total, NBC’s Today show (43 seconds), CBS This Morning (40 seconds) and ABC’s Good Morning America (35 seconds) spent a combined 1:58 on the “Pole Dancing” Bear.
There were a few other news items deemed more important than Benghazi by the network morning shows. CBS This Morning spent 2 minutes and 45 seconds on electronic collars causing dogs too much stress, and NBC’s Today show devoted 5 minutes and 25 seconds to “Ambush Makeovers.”
In contrast, Fox News managed to find over 22 minutes of time to mark the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya including an emotional segment with the mother of Sean Smith thanking three members of the CIA annex security team who bravely defied orders from a superior to delay their rescue attempt.
Pat Smith’s gratitude toward those heroes made for the kind of riveting moment the Big Three networks usually crave. But Smith also had harsh words for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Maybe that’s why the producers at ABC, CBS and NBC felt a dancing bear was a more important event to cover.
The following is a transcript of the Pat Smith segment as it was aired on the September 11, 2014 edition of FNC’s Fox and Friends:
STEVE DOOCY: These members of the Benghazi security team speaking out just moments ago saying American lives could have been saved if a standdown order or slow down or a stop order hadn’t been given. State Department official Sean Smith was among the four victims in the Benghazi terror attacks two years ago today. His mother, Pat Smith, who has been on the channel over the last two years joins us this morning from San Diego. Good morning to you.
PAT SMITH: Hi there.
DOOCY: Pat, we’ve had a number of conversations about what happened two years ago today and we’ve got with us three of the guys who were there that day in Benghazi. And I understand you wanted to say something to them.
SMITH: I wanted to thank them -- here I go again. I wanted to thank them for everything they’ve done. I’ve tried to read the book. I can only get so far. But I’ll read it. I love those guys and anything they need, anything they need, I will be more than – I will sell my house if necessary for them for what they’ve done. They’re good people.
KRIS PARONTO: Thank you. Thank you, ma’am.
MARK GEIST: Thank you, ma’am.
PARONTO: It’s an honor to finally talk to you, ma’am. We’re really, really happy that you came on with us. Thank you.
SMITH: I wanted to come there to New York or Washington or wherever you are, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do it.
PARONTO: We understand. Please know that and if you have gotten that far in the book, that your son was said prayers when we, when we found him and so we did say our prayers over him.
SMITH: I saw that.
PARONTO: Just, you know, thank you for being on with us.
SMITH: Oh you guys are wonderful. I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t believe every word you said. You were there fighting for them! You were everything! I’m sorry.
GEIST: Thank you. And you know Miss Smith, we will get together sometime in the future and we can meet in a private location.
PARONTO: You can ask as many questions as you need to. We’re here to answer them for you. Okay?
SMITH: Thank you. Very much. I have a million questions and I can’t remember any of them.
PARONTO: We’ll take care and we’ll get it set up as long as you’re willing to meet with us, we’ll come to you.
SMITH: Willing?! Are you kidding? You tried to save my son.
DOOCY: And Pat, I know one of the things that has frustrated you from the get-go was the fact that the phone call where your son revealed, you know, we got the message. “You’re pretty much on your own.” Well these three guys tried to get there a half hour earlier but were told “hold on, let’s straighten things out first.”
SMITH: Yes. But who gave it? Who was the one that ordered that? Who is the stupid idiot that we have in our government that would order something like that?
DOOCY: Well apparently it was Bob the CIA chief, right?
PARONTO: That’s who we got our orders from. And whether he got his orders from high, I don’t know?
SMITH: What happened to Hillary and Obama? Why aren’t, why aren’t they doing something? It was their area! They don’t give a damn about their people! That’s how I feel. I’m sorry.
PARONTO: No, no please. Vent, vent. You can vent to us all you want. It’s fine with us. Please do.
SMITH: But I want to do things for you. I don’t want to vent to you. You guys are wonderful. You’re the son that I don’t have anymore. Now I’ve got three more.
PARONTO: Yeah. You got three and you got two more, too, that just, just in the wings.
SMITH: Yeah I know. Please, I want to meet you all. I want to meet you all personally and give you all a big kiss and a hug.