Now that CBS reporter Lara Logan has frittered away her credibility by conducting a sloppy background check on a fraudulent eyewitness to the terrorist attack on our consulate in Libya, suddenly liberals are salivating to talk about Benghazi.
Last fall, investigations by the U.S. State Department and the House committees on Armed Services, Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, the Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform all concluded that the administration’s claims that the attack had been precipitated by spontaneous protests over an inflammatory YouTube video were false, and that the premeditated attack had been the product of growing Islamic radicalism in the region. Liberals just yawned.
When Anderson Cooper reported that murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens’ diary had documented his fears of growing instability in the region and of being on an al-Qaeda hit list, liberals sniped that CNN was invading Stevens’s family’s privacy.
When multiple news sources produced evidence that al-Qaeda-linked groups were involved with the attacks, liberals sneered, “What difference does it make?”
Hundreds of heavily armed attackers had carried out the assault on the anniversary of September 11, but liberals couldn’t see the connection. Libya’s president attributed the attack to al-Qaeda and was infuriated by the U.S. claiming it was caused by a video, but liberals told us to get a life. A group of SEALs reported that the administration had denied their request for backup during the attack, but Facebook suspended their account.
But now that a feverish reporter has foolishly trusted a witness one year after the 2012 Presidential election, when it can’t possibly benefit Republicans electorally, liberals have suddenly decided it’s time to jabber about Benghazi.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes opened his show Monday night with a segment on Dan Rather’s pre-2004 election presentation of forged National Guard documents showing that President George W. Bush hadn’t fulfilled his military service. Hayes segued to Logan interviewing now-discredited eyewitness Dylan Davies and then a clip of her apologizing. He gasped, “We all remember the last time 60 Minutes made a blunder this big… That time around, CBS News then embarked on a mission to do everything possible to prove to the public it was worthy of their trust… Given the obvious similarities with this Benghazi story, many were expecting a similar level of self-examination and explanation… There are still a lot of questions about how this happened, [including] why CBS News doesn’t think we deserve an answer to how that happened.”
I still have a lot of questions about how Benghazi happened, including why the Obama administration doesn’t think we deserve an answer to how it happened, but I’m not holding my breath for answers.
Logan, you may recall, is the reporter who flounced around in Tahrir Square during Egypt’s “democratic” uprising interviewing supposedly moderate young male protestors, and subsequently found herself being groped and assaulted by these idealistic reformers. So Logan’s blind acceptance of a fraudulent witness’s testimony isn’t exactly evidence of a blinkered right-wing Benghazi conspiracy movement.
The major difference between the Rather and Logan stories is that Rather trotted out the former just weeks before a Presidential election, in a calculated attempt to impugn Bush’s character and sway the results. In contrast, the latter involved a center-left news outlet agreeing to talk to a witness who had approached them a year after an election.
Showcasing the forged National Guard memos fifty days before the 2004 election was the equivalent of detonating a block of C4 in a powder keg. Interviewing nobody Dylan Davies a year after the 2012 election is the equivalent of tossing a wet cigarette butt in a flowerpot.
Hayes then made the hilarious point that Republicans kept “shifting their story” as to why Benghazi was a scandal. He cited the following reasons offered by Republicans: Obama didn’t appreciate the growing threat of Islamic radicalism in the region; the administration failed to increase security in the face of increasing violence; Obama didn’t put enough troops in Libya and depended on unreliable local militias; Obama failed to react quickly enough to the situation; Obama didn’t want to admit that al-Qaeda’s influence was on the rise; Obama rebuffed Republican Congressmen’s attempts to gather information about the attack; and the administration delayed its investigation into the attack until after the election.
In fact, Benghazi was a scandal because of all of the above reasons, which conservatives highlighted one by one as investigators uncovered the facts behind them. That doesn’t mean conservatives were shifting their story; it means Democrats were stonewalling and covering up. If the administration had been a bit more forthcoming from the start, Republicans might have been able to weave a more consistent storyline from Day 1.
But give liberals credit for their impeccable timing: just when Americans are getting tired of talking about Benghazi, the left drags out the whole affair again as though the past twelve months of Republican evidentiary hearings never happened.
Remember those old Olympics scandals when the U.S. would accuse some Communist Eastern European country of cheating? The accused country would lob counteraccusations at us but still be found guilty—because only guilty parties make accusations requiring investigation when their misdeeds have been exposed and they have nothing to lose.
Similarly, Democrats are fighting back on Benghazi, only because they know they lost on this issue a long time ago, and they might as well lob grenades at Republicans in the hope that some of them hit their targets.
Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics
- ’60 Minutes’ Airs Apology on Benghazi (nytimes.com)
- McClatchy shreds the tattered remains of 60 Minutes Benghazi report (dailykos.com)
- Questions about ’60 Minutes’ Benghazi go beyond Dylan Davies interview; CBS conducting ‘journalistic review’ (mcclatchydc.com)
- How can CBS possibly not fire Lara Logan? (salon.com)
- Media Matters’ Mission to Bury Benghazi (frontpagemag.com)