Benghazi and the Right Wing Media: Facts on a So-Called ‘Scandal’

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Hillary Clinton

By Nick Sheppard
From The Sheppard Post

When it comes to Benghazi, the Conservative commentariat is willing to make an association with almost anything that happens, past or present, domestic or international, relevant or irrelevant.

On the Fox network’s show The Five, Andrea Tantaros opined about the missing Malaysian airliner: “Think how long it took for them to get this kind of media attention. I mean, living in Malaysia, the government seemingly ignored these people, they didn’t want their stories to get out. They weren’t talking to them…it feels like the families of Benghazi, just saying.”

During a discussion about Governor Chris Christie’s bridge controversy in New Jersey, Karl Rove offered this comparison: “The amount of attention paid to Chris Christie makes the coverage of Benghazi at the same time and the coverage of the IRS pale in comparison.”

He then said that, due to how Hillary Clinton handled Benghazi, “I think it will be hard for Democrats to turn this [Bridgegate] into an issue.”

When another panellist tried discussing what the staffers who have been implicated with this bridge scandal must have been thinking, Rove brought up Benghazi again, saying: “So did Benghazi, and so did the IRS. It came out of appointees of Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in an interview with George Stephanopolous” also compared Chris Christie’s bridge scandal to Benghazi. “The reality is, things go wrong in an administration. And frankly, you know, he was in campaign-mode at the time, during campaign-mode you miss a lot of things. You’re not paying as much attention. We see that with Benghazi.”

Roger Ailes of Fox news even managed to equate Benghazi to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal during the Bush Administration. Benghazi, he said, is “a story worth staying on because we didn’t get the story. The same thing happened at Abu Ghraib during the Bush administration. I mean, we were faced with looking at photographs that were totally outside the culture of the United States and would do us more damage, because some moron in the operation did that. So we cover – and it doesn’t matter what the politics of the situation is.”

South Carolina’s senior senator, Republican Lindsey Graham, has hammered away at the Benghazi issue since the beginning. Remarkably, he found a way to link Benghazi to the showdown in the Crimea. He tweeted: “It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression #Ukraine”

According to this painfully tenuous analogy, Putin, remembering that terrorists attacked representatives of the U.S. in Benghazi in 2012, then made the calculation that if Obama didn’t do whatever Senator Graham seems to think he should have done in response to that attack, then it would be unlikely he would face any resistance if he took over the Crimea.

An article published in December 2013 by the New YorkTimes revealed that a Libyan journalist working for the Times was present during the event, when dozens of heavily-armed Libyans attacked the U.S. compound and set it on fire. Some of the attackers told the reporter and other onlookers that they were acting in response to an anti-Islam video that had been posted on YouTube.

Fox and Friends co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy responded to this revelation – which undermined months of Fox News claims that the video had played no role in the attack – by questioning the motives and decisions of the Times reporter who had been present.

Republicans are frustrated by the fact that Barack Obama went through an entire term without a major scandal. They tried with “Fast and Furious,” but that went nowhere. They tried with Solyndra, but that didn’t produce the criminality they hoped for either. The I.R.S affair, despite grim predictions it could be ‘fatal’, for the administration, similarly faded after numerous hearings and revelations that Liberal groups were also targeted.

After innumerable, exhaustive hearings and investigations, it became apparent that the President of the United States is not responsible for the activities within a Cincinnati branch of the I.R.S, and that a Secretary of State is responsible for the security logistics of a consulate building. This graph offers further perspective:

graph-attacks-on-US-diplomatic-targets

For the sake of perspective, it’s necessary to remind ourselves of the standard to which this President should be held. An actual Presidential scandal is a two year national nightmare involving a cover-up over a burglary that culminates with the President resigning on live television, then flying away in a helicopter. An actual scandal involves Iran and Contra rebels, and culminates with fourteen indictments and eleven convictions within an administration. An actual scandal is when a president lies about an affair with an intern, and the investigation and ensuing coverage drags on for a year, culminating in an impeachment vote in the Senate. An actual scandal is when the entire premise for the invasion of a Middle-Eastern country is revealed to be the result of misinformation, hubris and incompetence, and the ensuing war, which spawns other scandals such as water-boarding and the Abu Ghraib prison fiasco, drags on for eight-and-a-half years.

So that’s no, “I am not a crook”, no “arms for hostages”, no “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms Lewinsky,” and no “We know there are weapons of mass destruction.” There are still a few years to go, and troubles may arise, but if Benghazi is the most damning thing the right can come up with, then, with a few years perspective, the Obama Administration, compared to preceding administrations, will be remembered as a remarkably scandal-free era.

© 2014, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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  2 comments for “Benghazi and the Right Wing Media: Facts on a So-Called ‘Scandal’

  1. July 23, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Good for you, Glynn.

  2. July 23, 2014 at 11:40 am

    You know, I covered part of the Abu Ghraib scandal for Time magazine. Benghazi is no Abu Ghraib. Only on Fox News and talk radio.

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