Benghazi: Obama lied, media shied away

posted at 12:01 pm on October 11, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday’s hearings on the Benghazi terrorist attack that left four Americans dead, including our Ambassador, provided a rather enlightening moment about the US broadcast media — when it should have been a belatedly enlightening moment for our broadcast media.  The hearing produced several jaw-dropping highlights, including the State Department assertion post-attack that we “had the correct number of [security] assets in Benghazi,” a grotesque declaration after the sacking of the consulate.  Diplomatic Security personnel had despaired of getting assistance from State (even while Austria kept its full security detail — and got a fleet of Chevy Volts, apparently), and felt that “the Taliban was inside the [State Dept] building.”  Only the night before the hearing did State disavow their initial story on the attack being a “spontaneous protest” that “spun out of control,” which should have been a huge red flag to the broadcast networks that an administration cover story had completely fallen apart.

So how did the broadcast networks cover the story last night?  Twitchy has the details:

That’s not to say that the media didn’t cover it at all.  Dana Milbank, for instance, drilled down instantly to the real crux of the issue — the fact that Republicans are talking about CIA missions and spilling their secrets:

When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA’s cover.

The purpose of Wednesday’s hearing of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee was to examine security lapses that led to the killing in Benghazi last month of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others. But in doing so, the lawmakers reminded us why “congressional intelligence” is an oxymoron.

Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a “consulate” and a nearby “annex,” was a CIA base. They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing.

Wow!  None of us knew that … except those who read it in the New York Times on September 24th:

Among the more than two dozen American personnel evacuated from the city after the assault on the American mission and a nearby annex were about a dozen C.I.A. operatives and contractors, who played a crucial role in conducting surveillance and collecting information on an array of armed militant groups in and around the city.

“It’s a catastrophic intelligence loss,” said one American official who has served in Libya and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the F.B.I. is still investigating the attack. “We got our eyes poked out.”

Since both posts got overrun and are to this day unsecured, and the CIA has evacuated its personnel from Benghazi, the business conducted at those facilities is not exactly a state secret any more.  However, I can understand why Milbank may have been confused on this point.  In the 17 days since the New York Times reported this, his own newspaper has managed to make just one mention of this — and that came from Jennifer Rubin, whom Milbank apparently doesn’t read.

In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I argue that whether or not the response to the security situation in Benghazi before and after the attack is incompetence or worse, it’s a major scandal that should be getting more attention from the national media:

In this case, it’s hard to argue that the cover-up is worse than the “crime” of incompetence that led up to it.  After all, four people died in that attack, and perhaps even a higher level of security might not have prevented it.  It has become clear, though, that the State Department didn’t recognize that Benghazi and its environs had become a nest of the very terrorists we now fight in places like Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and other hot spots, and that this was no ordinary case for consular security.  Instead of listening to people on the ground and acting to provide some kind of extraordinary security, the Benghazi mission was left to just “hope that everything would get better.”

On top of that, the administration at the very least allowed a false narrative to unfold about the nature of the attack – a narrative that had specific political benefits for President Obama.  That might be coincidence, but that’s difficult to believe.  At the very least, it shows a remarkable level of incompetence to send the UN Ambassador to five Sunday talk shows five days later to push the false “spontaneous protest” narrative when the White House itself had designated it a terrorist attack within the first 24 hours.

At worst, this looks like a political cover-up intended to disguise the fact that Obama’s policy in Libya has given al-Qaeda a fresh launch and another safe haven for its operations against the US.

Either way, this requires immediate and thorough scrutiny, from Congress and the national media.  That may make some journalists uncomfortable in an election season, but we need to know the truth about national and diplomatic security – so that we don’t have even more dead Americans and further cover-ups about the circumstances of their deaths.

At one time, journalists and broadcast networks considered it their mission to hold government accountable. These days, they seem at least as comfortable with covering up the news as with covering it.

Update: Coincidentally, PJ Media is announcing their Duranty Prize winner today.  They’re going to need a lot more statuettes next year, I think.


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Americans died.
Obama lied.
The media hide.

Drained Brain on October 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Whatever. Romney hates Big Bird.

aunursa on October 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM

The media’s job is to report on accusations – not make them.
You seem selective as to when to hold them to this.

verbaluce on October 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Well we knew this would happen. Nothing will stick to obama. He’s their Messiah, and they will do anything to make sure he is reelected…

sandee on October 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM

I have to give Fox credit, they have been all over this from the get go!
L

letget on October 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Big Bird’s letter of the day is “L”..for liars…

PatriotRider on October 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM

obama denied
people died
obama lied
media shied….
obama needs to be tried…

ted c on October 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM

The Children’s TV Workshop could have done a better job handling Foreign policy.

Electrongod on October 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM

The media see their job as protecting Obama, Hillary, and other Dems at all cost–including their own credibility–everything else be damned.

Christien on October 11, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Ammo for Ryan tonight…if he needed any more…

jimver on October 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a “consulate” and a nearby “annex,” was a CIA base. They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing.

No, the STATE DEPARTMENT spilled those beans and Jason Chaffetz called a point of order and objected to that information being given in a public hearing. Issa had several minutes of questioning about what was and wasn’t classified.

Did Milbank actually watch the hearing?

Pablo on October 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM

BTW, Michelle Malkin did a fantastic job last night on this issue!

http://nation.foxnews.com/benghazi-gate/2012/10/11/michelle-malkin-goes-den-lying-liars-and-crap-weasels-white-house-over-libya-attacks
L

letget on October 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM

I have to give Fox credit, they have been all over this from the get go!
L

letget on October 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM

No, actually it was CNN. HotAir and Fox were following the meme for over a week.

faraway on October 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM

“Benghazi: Obama lied, media shied away”

The media is complicit thus lied every bit as Obama does.

lilium479 on October 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

People Died!
Obama Lied!

jaydee_007 on October 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I can’t be more appalled at this administration or the MSM that covers it.

CoffeeLover on October 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Yawn
-lsm

Despicable

Only if this is a gop administration will the lsm give a hoot

cmsinaz on October 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM

people died, obama lied, more people died!

screwauger on October 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM

The media’s job is to report on accusations – not make them.
You seem selective as to when to hold them to this.

verbaluce on October 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Yea, the whole Bengazi terrorist attack and complete coverup by our dishonest admin is a nothingburger. The fact that 4 American heroes are dead is just a couple of “bumps in the road”. Do you even realize what a douchebag you are?

VegasRick on October 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Abortion….that’s the ticket

cmsinaz on October 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM

faraway on October 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Thanks, I stand corrected.
L

letget on October 11, 2012 at 12:22 PM

I can’t be more appalled at this administration or the MSM that covers it.

CoffeeLover on October 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I can, and they never fail to live up to my expectations.

Flora Duh on October 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM

The media’s job is to report on accusations – not make them.
You seem selective as to when to hold them to this.

verbaluce on October 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

And, you seem like a pompous, Liberal jackwagon.

Oh, wait…

kingsjester on October 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM

The media’s job is to report on accusations – not make them.
You seem selective as to when to hold them to this.

verbaluce on October 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

The media’s job is to report on accusations – not make them. Unless there’s a Republican in the White House, then all’s fair in love and politics.

Talk about a selective memory.

Flora Duh on October 11, 2012 at 12:28 PM

I can, and they never fail to live up to my expectations.

Flora Duh on October 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM

amazing isn’t it? I am sure they’ll be even more outrages.

CoffeeLover on October 11, 2012 at 12:28 PM

I have to give Fox credit, they have been all over this from the get go!
L

letget on October 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM

The more interesting thing here is that CNN has been all over it. Because they found Ambassador Stevens’ journal in the burned-out consulate, and had an exclusive on it’s contents, the lure of breaking the story first, and then defending it, overrode any network desire to suppress the story in order to protect the president’s re-election hopes.

It’s the same media phenomenon as with CBS News and “Fast and Furious” — they broke the main parts of the story, so they are continuing to cover it as an important news event, because in their minds, it’s ‘their’ story. But you’ll also notice when a network breaks a story first on a scandal involving Republicans, the other networks and news outlets have no compunction at jumping on the bandwagon, in the case of Benghazi or F&F, the other big media outlets have to be dragged kicking and screaming into covering the story.

It’s not their scoop, it doesn’t help their candidate(s), so in their minds, it’s not a legitimate story, albeit in some online quarters, like ABC News with Jake Tapper’s posts, the Libyan scandal is being covered, even if only 5 percent of the network’s news viewers ever click over to get that information.

jon1979 on October 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM

O/T It just occurred to me that when Hillary went out and talked about the protests caused by the video in.her.very.halting.speech.pattern, it reminded me of POWs in Hanoi telling us they were being treated well while blinking out morse code to the contrary.

Was Hillary telling us she was being pressured to speak those words? If so, she should have simply resigned.

Just a theory

freedomfirst on October 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM

This is no coincidence. It’s the Cole anniversary.

Schadenfreude on October 11, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Dear God, please destroy Obama/Hillary and the media over Benghazi.

If you have a sense of justice and irony you’ll do it.

Schadenfreude on October 11, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Very, very nice post, Ed.

jaime on October 11, 2012 at 12:35 PM

freedomfirst on October 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Not only that, she did it with the dead body of ambassador Stevens, the SEALs and others in her back.

Schadenfreude on October 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Schadenfreude on October 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Not convinced this entire episode ever will be revealed.

freedomfirst on October 11, 2012 at 12:39 PM

We “had the correct number of assets at Little Big Horn” — George Armstrong Custer

J_Crater on October 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM

The media’s job is to report on accusations – not make them.

You seem selective as to when to hold them to this.

verbaluce on October 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Verbaluce? Verbaluce, Woodward and Bernstein on line one.

Fallon on October 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Milbank, just another liberal dweeb who’s very SELECTIVE in what he gets “outraged” about.

GarandFan on October 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Obama lied; the media died.

Philly on October 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM

A lot of Pulitzers will go wanting for what is essentially the Tet Offfensive of this Administration. And thats a shame…democracy needs an informed electorate and relies on an honest media to do that job. Our media has failed.

Diogenes02 on October 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Heh. That Duranty Awards link uo top is a fun read.

a capella on October 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Benghazi: Obama lied, media shied away

…what is this “media” you talk of?
…is that the “medium” that is only around during Republican administrations?

KOOLAID2 on October 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Have the msm’s eyes turned brown yet? Wake me.

Kissmygrits on October 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Remember all the outrage when a (former) CIA spook (AKA “Ms Flame”) was “outed” by the White House err State Department and “Scooter” Libby went to jail (for being convenient).

… and there is nothing here to see ??

J_Crater on October 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM

The Seals tried
But four died
America cried
Rice lied
Hillary denied
The MSM hide
WH credibility gap wide
Obama sighed
And ate dog Bo fried

MaiDee on October 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM

You gotta wonder if the regime was smart enough to have set Stevens up for a fall or if it was all coincidence. He had to have become a political liality either way.

rodguy911 on October 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Yea, the whole Bengazi terrorist attack and complete coverup by our dishonest admin is a nothingburger. The fact that 4 American heroes are dead is just a couple of “bumps in the road”. Do you even realize what a douchebag you are?

VegasRick on October 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM

haha are you kidding? A partisan punk like verbaluce doesn’t have the requisite brain activity for that kind of self-awareness.

Anti-Control on October 11, 2012 at 1:01 PM

State Department assertion post-attack that we “had the correct number of [security] assets in Benghazi,”

I suppose if your objective was to have your Bhenghazi consulate attacked, burned, and gutted by terrorists and four of your personnel captured and killed by those same terrorists, then yes, yes you did have the correct number of security assets in place. If your objective was to preserve and protect the consulate and its personnel, providing a means and mechanisms to escape such attacks, especially given the location you were in and the significance of the date, then I’d say you were woefully understaffed security asset-wise. But then, that’s just me, I’m just an engineer and program manager, I don’t have a good grasp of such complex issues.

AZfederalist on October 11, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Look, whether increased security could have prevented the deaths of our brave Americans is something we’ll never know. But it is reasonable to expect that increased security, especially after the first attack on the compound walls, might have prevented the attack in the first place. We call that a “show of force”. Something alien to this administration.

BKeyser on October 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

we are being lied to at every level of govt, and the MSM refuses to report on it. Americans died, Obama lied, and MSM closed their eyes

burserker on October 11, 2012 at 1:16 PM

State Department followed the Benghazi attack in real time…

d1carter on October 11, 2012 at 1:07 PM

That makes even more despicable the idea that Obama went to bed that night not knowing the fate of the people in the consulate. That is not the markings of a leader.

AZfederalist on October 11, 2012 at 1:17 PM

It is not enough to say that Obama and his administration are incompetent. Not enough to say they’ve been dishonest.

His handling of this entire episode, and his treatment of the families of the slain Americans, are evidence beyond any shadow of a doubt that Barack Obama is a cold, callous, hateful, soulless shell of a human being.

And I’d love to hear one of his acolyte tools like lester or sesquipedalian refute that.

Right Mover on October 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Benghazi: Obama lied, media shied away

Oct 11, 2012 12:01 PM by Ed Morrissey

Or:

Benghazi: Americans died, Obama lied, media shied

ITguy on October 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

The headline SHOULD read, “People died, Obama lied, media shired”.

Let’s get things straight and in its proper order and perspective.

Al-Ozarka on October 11, 2012 at 1:27 PM

verbaluce on October 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Really? Explain Watergate in light of your comment.

chemman on October 11, 2012 at 1:28 PM

The MSM has no pride.They have seen the polls and know the majority doesn’t trust or believe them.You have to be a gutless,sniveling slug to live with yourself in that job.

docflash on October 11, 2012 at 1:30 PM

AZfederalist on October 11, 2012 at 1:17 PM

give the guy a break he had to rest up for that big campaign event in Vegas. /s

OT: Big storm coming through tonight. You going to get hit? I’m right in the middle of the storm line.

chemman on October 11, 2012 at 1:36 PM

AZfederalist on October 11, 2012 at 1:17 PM

And how did some in the State Department get the idea this was a protest gone wrong..?

d1carter on October 11, 2012 at 1:45 PM

perhaps even a higher level of security might not have prevented it.

Lemme guess – you’re “just sayin”…

Make the consulate a hard target and terrorists would rather not bother…they prefer soft ones.

Maybe a higher level of security wouldn’t have prevented it, but a lower level of security certainly invites it…in either case, we’ll never know…

RMCS_USN on October 11, 2012 at 1:45 PM

In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I argue that whether or not the response to the security situation in Benghazi before and after the attack is incompetence or worse,

It’s worse. Incompetence would be failing to see what was happening in Benghazi…but all the signs were more than obvious.

Remember this guy…

Geoff Porter, a risk and security analyst who specializes in North Africa, said the sudden and stark shift from “predictable violence to terrorism” in the east over the summer was unmistakable.

“The U.S. intelligence apparatus must have had a sense the environment was shifting,” he said.

Unmistakeable he said. Not to mention all the reports that State was getting first hand from those on the ground. They knew very well that conditions surrounding Ambassador Stevens and the others at the consulate had completely deteriorated and it was a willful decision to do nothing more to help.

lynncgb on October 11, 2012 at 1:47 PM

The government has possession of a fifty minute tape that was taken that night at the Benghazi consulate. The House Committee has requested it but hasn’t received it.

d1carter on October 11, 2012 at 1:47 PM

OT: Big storm coming through tonight. You going to get hit? I’m right in the middle of the storm line.

chemman on October 11, 2012 at 1:36 PM

We’ve already had some sprinkles come through this morning. Would be nice to get some rain.

AZfederalist on October 11, 2012 at 1:47 PM

New Libya Ambassador!?

US veteran diplomat Laurence Pope named as new charge d’affaires to Libya following murder of Chris Stevens – @AFP

1 hour ago from http://www.straitstimes.com by editor

http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/world/story/us-names-new-diplomat-libya-20121012

canopfor on October 11, 2012 at 2:16 PM

I can’t be more appalled at this administration or the MSM that covers FOR it.

CoffeeLover on October 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

There FIFY

Missilengr on October 11, 2012 at 3:36 PM

When I looked yesterday at the coverage of the congressional hearing on Benghazi on the various alphabet network web sites, I found nothing on ABC, CNN. There was a side bar link to the CBS article, and it was below the fold at MSNBC. When Diane Sawyer blew Barry on air, the subject never came up.

bayview on October 11, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Idiot Cutter

Schadenfreude on October 11, 2012 at 3:55 PM

The media did not shy away from these lies by this administration, they parroted these lies. The MSM has forfeited their Constitutional rights under the First Amendment, they have ceased to be the watch dog of the government and became the propaganda organization of the Democratic Party. These journalist are not journalist, they are proponents of liars.

savage24 on October 11, 2012 at 3:59 PM