The Scandal is the Press

The terrorist attack on America’s consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths an ambassador and three other Americans, was a multi-faceted scandal. There was the ill-advised “leading from behind” military strike that deposed a despicable but defanged dictatorship and created an anarchy where terror groups thrived, the shockingly lax security provided to the Americans sent into that chaos, the bald-faced lie that the subsequent deaths were a result of a spontaneous demonstration rather than an organized al Qaeda terror attack, the scapegoating and eventual imprisonment of a filmmaker who had exercised his constitutional right to criticize Islam, and the ongoing attempts to cover it all up. The lack of interest by the most prominent media is a scandal, too.
Despite the indifference of the big papers and wire services and television networks, more information about the Benghazi affair is slowly being made public. A newly released batch of e-mails offer further proof that White House officials were directly involved in concocting the false story that United Nations ambassador Susan Rice and other officials, including President Barack Obama, told the American public in the days leading up to the 2012 presidential election. In one of the e-mails White House Deputy Communications Director clearly states that among the “goals” of the story were “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, not a broader failure of policy,” and “to reinforce the President and the Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”
Such intriguing information was not unearthed by The New York Times or The Washington Post or CBS News, but rather by a conservative group called Judicial Watch. A search of The New York Times’ web site finds that the Paper of Record’s last mention of Benghazi came in a short item about Rhode’s account of the affair in the “Sunday Breakfast Menu” of last January. The Washington Post’s only forthright account of the new e-mails came in a blog post by token and tepid conservative Jennifer Rubin. Over at CBS News, where Rhodes’ brother is the head honcho and ace reporter Sharyl Attkisson has quit in frustration over the network’s resistance to her reporting on Benghazi and other administration scandals, there was a story about how Republicans are still demanding answers about the terror attack, as well as another story about a Central Intelligence Agency official’s assurances that there’s nothing political going on here. USA Today also went with the partisan, prefacing a rather straightforward account of the facts with the words “Republicans say.”
They could just as easily write that “newly released e-mails say,” but that sounds rather damning. The ladies and gentlemen of the press are quite busy these days explaining a fresh batch of foreign policy blunders, from the “apartheid state” of Israel to the formerly independent portions of Ukraine to those countries neighboring an increasingly aggressive China where Obama was recently trying to convince the nervous populations that the president and administration is strong and steady in dealing with difficult challenges, and what with racist basketball team owners in Los Angeles and botched executions in Oklahoma they have little time for four brave Americans who died more than a year-and-a-half ago. They might even be wondering what difference, at this point, does it make?
The truth still matters, though, and the woman who notoriously first asked that callous question is a front-runner to be the next strong and steadfast question. A lack of outrage is perhaps the biggest scandal of them all.

— Bud Norman


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