Green Room

WaPo and CBS reporters: Yeah, actually, it makes a difference, Hillary

posted at 3:01 pm on January 23, 2013 by

“What difference does it make?” an angry Hillary Clinton retorted when Senator Ron Johnson pressed her on why the administration pushed the false narrative on Benghazi.  I’ve already responded, but in case that’s not enough, CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson has a thought on that question:

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple explains why:

No matter your view of the media’s role in Benghazi; no matter your take on whether U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice leveled with the country on the Sept. 16 talk shows; no matter your view of Fox News’s Benghazi campaign, it surely does make a difference whether it was “because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans.” It makes a difference to the media, the public, the government, everyone.

The trustworthiness of the administration’s version of events — even the early one — makes a difference. Whether it was hard-core terrorism or a spontaneous attack or something else — that makes a difference too, with strong implications for intelligence accountability. Goodness gracious, in her very own statement, Clinton herself even seems to acknowledge that it makes a difference, when she says, “It is our job to figure out what happened …”

At one point in the proceedings, Clinton stated, “Maybe we didn’t do a good enough job of explaining that we didn’t have a good picture.” Yes, that would have helped.

National Review’s Eliana Johnson points out that it mattered to the White House — when they could blame it on a YouTube video:

Setting aside Clinton’s bizarre decision to assign varying weights to these matters, her response is uncharacteristically flippant for someone of her stature. Isn’t it essential why four Americans were murdered, and why this information wasn’t promptly or accurately conveyed to the American people? Wasn’t answering that question one of the central purposes of today’s hearing?

Clinton’s dismissal of the impetus behind the attack also stands in stark contrast to nearly everything senior officials of the Obama administration said publicly about it in the days that followed, including both the president and Clinton herself — that is, when the administration was blaming the attack on a YouTube video. In opening remarks for a strategic dialogue with Morocco — video below — which occurred four days after the Benghazi attack, Clinton said, “There is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence. We condemn the violence that has resulted in the strongest terms.”

The idea that the cause of the attack should now take a backseat to other concerns seems all too convenient.

And transparently so.

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