How does one “controversialize” a legitimate controversy? Sharyl Attkisson explained to Fox News yesterday that the strategy shifts suspicion from the people who have told shifting stories and hid communications from Congress to the people looking into those acts and the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. It involves a focus on politicization of the inquiry when the issue at hand is the politicization of the event itself as a fraud to avoid responsibility. One might think that would be impossible to conceive let alone pull off, but as the clip itself shows, David Plouffe et al are going to give it their best shot (via Jeff Dunetz):
Attkisson: Well, the key words they use such as “conspiracy” and “delusional” are, in my opinion, clearly designed to try to controversialize a story, a legitimate news story, a legitimate journalistic inquiry. To some degree, that’s successful, but I think primarily among those that don’t want to look at this as a story in the first place. But I see that as a well-orchestrated strategy to controversialize a story they really don’t want to hear about.
Earlier in the clip, Attkisson notes that Tommy Vietor’s infamous “Dude” interview revealed a big inconsistency in the White House narrative on the talking points, and that journalists used to be interested in probing items like that. These days, though, the White House considers asking questions “controversial”:
Attkisson: When you run across apparent inconsistencies like that, we don’t exactly know what’s behind it, but it certainly does raise a red flag covering the story as a journalist. As you said, Mike Morrell, the former deputy director of the CIA, testified last month before Congress, in written testimony and his verbal testimony that the White House did not make any substantive changes nor request any changes, and, in fact, he echoed what Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said all along, which is the only change the White House made was changing “consulate” to “diplomatic post.” But if what Tommy Vietor said on Fox Thursday is correct, it’s directly at odds with those proclamations from the other Obama officials.
Indeed. We’ll have more about Benghazi and Libya later on the Ed Morrissey Show today at 4 ET. Sharyl Attkisson will join me to talk about the meaning of the latest revelations, and on the White House strategy of “controversialization.”
Also joining me will be Andrew Malcolm of Investors Business Daily, as he does every Tuesday — and today he asks the question that still has not been answered almost twenty months after the fatal attack:
Numerous compelling new questions emerged in recent days about the crumbling White House version of the Benghazi tragedy.
They include the faux meme about a “hateful video,” who concocted it, why did Obama stick to that fiction so long, why weren’t rapid response troops in position on 9/11 of all days, why were U.S. diplomats even in Benghazi after other consuls abandoned the dangerous city, why was Benghazi security reduced in the days leading up to the well-planned terrorist attack and why were Amb. Chris Stevens’ security pleas ignored and no rescue attempted?
The upcoming Select House Committee on Benghazi will no doubt pursue these and other lines of obvious inquiry. And the answers will certainly play a large role in 2015-16 politics if, as expected, ex-Secy. of State Hillary Clinton decides to seek her party’s nomination.
But for us the most pressing, curious and disturbing question today remains: Where was the Commander-in-Chief and what was he doing during an eight-hour attack that left four government employees unprotected, abandoned and dead?
We know now, thanks to Bret Baier’s recent interview with ex-Obama aide Tommy Vietor, that the president was not in the Situation Room, the secure, in-house command post where presidents usually go to oversee crises. Remember the Osama bin Laden assassination-night photo with Obama back in the corner and others riveted to a real-time video screen?
Clinton and then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have both said they talked with Obama by phone that awful evening. And Obama’s said he ordered all necessary security for American facilities and representatives abroad.
But that’s it! Nothing more.
At least, not yet.