In the immediate aftermath of the attack last September on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, our media acted more as amplifiers for the Obama campaign and the Obama administration, parroting campaign talking points (about the supposed inappropriateness of then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s critique of the administration) and failing to question the official explanation for the attack (that it was a spontaneous uprising in response to a video about which no one ever heard). In short, all too many in the legacy media reported the story as if their job was to amplify what they heard from the Obama team rather than investigate how said team handled the attack.
The first scandal is thus that of the media giving short shrift to a story with the potential to embarrass the incumbent administration in the midst of the presidential campaign.
The second scandal — and the much bigger one — is the attempts of that administration, with top officials, perhaps up to and including the then-Secretary of State and the President of the United States, to mislead the public for political gain. Citing the Interim Progress Report released by five House Republican committee chairmen released last mont, Michael Barone reported that
. . . the accounts given by the Obama administration at the time were misleading — deliberately so.
It noted that State immediately reported the attack to the White House Situation Room and two hours later noted an al Qaeda affiliate’s claim of responsibility. There was no mention of a spontaneous protest of an anti-Muslim video.
Yet Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and press secretary Jay Carney spoke repeatedly for days later of a video and a protest. Clinton assured one victim’s family member that the video-maker was being prosecuted.
With more news trickling out in the nine days since Barone posted his piece, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there was a lot more deliberate misleading than initially reported.
State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland seemed particularly intent on excising references to terrorist involvement in the attacks. The Obama team wanted to spin the story and offer a version at odds with that of the President of Libya.
This story raises a whole host of questions, most of which should have been addressed to the president — and his team — last September — and not just about how (and why) they changed the talking points, but also about why the State Department had refused to give our diplomatic personnel in that unstable country the additional security requested. Any why the president, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, chose to attend a campaign fundraiser in Las Vegas.
And why our media found this story less interesting that a crazy, stupid remark made by a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri.
UPDATED AND RELATED: Benghazi whistle-blower Hicks: Internal review ‘let people off the hook’