Hillary Clinton’s testy “What difference at this point does it make?” response to Ron Johnson certainly had the media in awe, which as Allahpundit noted yesterday is both unsurprising and a little discouraging. These are supposed to be the people eager to “hold the powerful to account” and/or “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” along with a lot of other platitudes about being a Fourth Estate that keeps government in check. Yet there they were yesterday, cheering on a government official for telling an oversight committee that promoting a false narrative either through incompetence or intent after the deaths of four Americans in a terrorist attack was just groovy.
Not all of the media has decided to play cheerleader for indignation in the face of accountability, however. Michael Ramirez provides his own answer to Clinton’s question in today’s editorial cartoon at Investors Business Daily:
Jonah Goldberg connects the dots in his column at the Chicago Tribune today:
But just to be clear, Clinton lied and is still lying. When asked about the claim that the attack was sparked by a protest over a video, she responded, “I did not say … that it was about the video for Libya.”
That’s simply untrue. When she stood by the caskets of the four Americans killed in Libya, she directly blamed an “awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.” Afterward, she reportedly told the father of Tyrone Woods, the former Navy SEAL who was killed in the attack, “We will make sure the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted.” Why tell the man that if the video had nothing to do with it?
Moreover, Clinton was part of an administration that crafted an entire PR strategy to blame these attacks on “an awful Internet video.” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was unequivocal: This was a “response to a video, a film we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.” In his address to the United Nations, President Obama mentioned the video six times but al-Qaeda once. When he appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” he blamed the video directly. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice went on five Sunday shows blaming the video. All of this happened when they already knew it was not true on the day of the attack, and even the president of Libya publicly called the protest explanation ridiculous.
But again, the lying, while outrageous, is incidental to the real offense, which is twofold. First, why did the administration lie? Well, it wanted to conceal its utter failure to prepare for terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 — which is like being surprised by Christmas falling on Dec. 25. Also, the Obama administration, by which I mean the Obama campaign, was desperate to protect its hyped record of fighting terrorism. A “spontaneous” attack invited not by the administration’s shortcomings but by some nutty video was just the ticket.
And why does this “difference” matter? Goldberg nails it:
Which brings us to the second part: the nature of the lie. Remember, not all lies are equally harmful. In this case, the U.S. government responded to the murder of four Americans by treating our constitutional rights as part of the problem. A former teacher of constitutional law, Obama was happy to watch the country argue new limits on free expression and the necessity of giving bloodthirsty savages and terrorists a heckler’s veto on what Americans can do or say.
Clinton was in on that lie, and that makes all the difference in the world.
A truly independent media interested in speaking truth to power would have known that without having to be told. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions like Erik Wemple at the Washington Post, most of the Fourth Estate seems content to cheerlead the lies and indignation rather than demand accountability.
Update: Peter Kirsanow recalls when the American media was less interested in cheerleading the administration:
When the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal broke, there was outrage among members of the press, Congress, and the public at large. Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld was excoriated — and not just by Democrats – when he testified about prisoner abuse before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Numerous Democrats called for his resignation. A general was demoted and nearly a dozen soldiers were court martialed and sentenced to prison. The New York Times ran front page stories on Abu Ghraib for 32 consecutive days.
Fast forward a few years. Four Americans are dead because the State Department provided insufficient security to the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, despite numerous warnings and pleas for help — including directly to the secretary of state herself. A false story is promoted by the administration as to the nature of the attack on the consulate — a story that just happens to serve the administration’s electoral narrative. Any outrage about the debacle is not on the part of the mainstream press — indeed, the New York Times can barely be troubled to mention it. When Secretary Clinton testifies about Benghazi before two congressional committees, Senators Johnson and Paul are excoriated for daring to point out the State Department’s gross negligence and mismanagement leading to the Americans’ deaths. As for the others, congressional Democrats heap praise on the secretary. Not a single person is fired and the perpetrators are roaming free. And when the person ultimately responsible for this debacle is asked about the impetus behind the attack, she replies, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” And her reply is cheered by many in the mainstream media.
They’re more interested in power than truth.
Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history. Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here. And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.