Time passed, and he won reelection. When Congress got around to its Benghazi hearings during the past few weeks, “Benghazi” had become a watchword for right-wing obsessiveness and lack of perspective. Polite commentators could barely suppress a snicker when uttering the word.

Last week, outgoing secretary of defense Leon Panetta revealed under questioning that after a previously scheduled meeting with the president at the White House at 5 p.m. at the outset of the attacks, he had no other communication from the president or anyone else at the White House the rest of the night. Neither, according to his own testimony, did chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey. This raises the question of what President Obama was doing during the long hours of an attack that killed a U.S. ambassador for the first time since 1979.

Or it should raise the question. The press isn’t much interested in asking it. Given the opportunity to query the president directly in his joint interview with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes stuck to more pressing matters, like any sense of guilt Clinton might feel about not preventing the attacks.