What’s more frustrating: A national media that purposely relinquishes its journalistic integrity to protect the Obama administration from a political scandal, or a Republican party that gets a prime shot to demand the answers the media failed to, but completely blows the opportunity?
For me, it’s the latter.
You see, I lost faith a long time ago in the media’s capacity to provide Americans with single-standard, fair political coverage. I lost faith a long time ago in their appetite to investigate stories that could potentially harm the people who represent an ideology they adamantly subscribe to. The Benghazi coverup is merely another example – albeit a particularly bold one – of why that faith is gone.
Let’s face it… Had this happened under the Bush administration, the controversy would have spawned a jihad of media coverage that would have rivaled that of Watergate. If, two months before a presidential election, high-ranking Bush administration officials (including the President himself) repeatedly spread a lie to the American public about a terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of four American patriots, there would have been hell to pay. And rightfully so!
One has to only contrast the media’s handling of Benghazi with the months-long circus that surrounded Plamegate to find the proof of what I’m saying.
I don’t expect a lot from the media these days. However, I did expect our elected officials in the Republican party to address the injustice of the Benghazi coverup with the seriousness that it deserves.
They got their chance on Wednesday, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down to deliver congressional testimony on Benghazi. After several months, Congress finally had the opportunity to ask direct questions of arguably the most important, relevant official in regard to what happened on September 11th, 2012, and in the following weeks. What did they do? They absolutely wasted it.
I, of course, wasn’t expecting any of the Democrats to challenge Clinton, and they didn’t. They each chose to use their five minutes of allocated time to fawn over Clinton and praise her with compliments on her service to our country.
What I wasn’t expecting, however, was for the Republicans to be completely ill-prepared in their questioning.
Half of them spent nearly their entire five minutes grandstanding about the failures of our government to protect the four Americans whose lives were lost, which in many cases, left no time for actual questioning. Others spent their time asking Clinton questions she had already answered numerous times throughout the day, regarding the findings of an investigative board.
Where were the questions regarding the coverup?
By my count, only two Republicans (both U.S. congressmen) bothered to bring up the infamous anti-Islam YouTube video that the Obama administration falsely claimed was the catalyst for the attack in Benghazi. I found that absolutely extraordinary. Previous congressional hearings had already uncovered the fact that our government believed almost immediately that what happened in Benghazi was a coordinated terrorist attack. Yet, for weeks, the administration continued attributing the attack to the video’s proclaimed influence on a spontaneous mob (that didn’t exist). This was perhaps the most controversial revelation of the entire Benghazi aftermath, and only two people thought to ask about it? Inexplicable!
Additionally, the two congressmen thoughtful enough to bring up the video lumped their query in with several other questions, which gave Clinton the luxury of picking and choosing which ones she answered.
The result? After several hours of testimony, Clinton’s only forced comment on the video was that she never personally associated it with Benghazi, but rather with protests that were occurring in other parts of the Arab world. The reality, however, is that Clinton spoke of the video in a speech she made while standing in front of Ambassador Christopher Steven’s casket on September 14th when his body was brought home to the United States. She also told Charles Woods (father of Tyrone Woods, an American hero who was killed during the Benghazi attack), as a way of assuring him of some justice for his son, that the man who made the video was going to be arrested. Again, this was all at a time when the government knew that the video didn’t spawn the Benghazi attack.
And regardless of what Clinton said personally, other high-ranking government officials (including Susan Rice and President Obama himself) were still pushing the video narrative weeks later, without any of them being corrected by Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
Contrary to Clinton’s assertion to Senator Ron Johnson that it doesn’t matter what the motivation of the attackers were, it absolutely DOES matter. It matters because what the administration confidently told the American public, regarding those motivations, was a lie. That lie was spread just weeks prior to a presidential election, in which the incumbent president was proudly telling the public that Al Qaeda had been decimated. So when four Americans were killed by Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists in Benghazi, and a lie was told to explain why, it was extremely important to find out where that lie originated and why it was repeated for weeks.
Unfortunately, our Republican leaders in Washington proved that they just weren’t up for the task, which is remarkable considering how many months they had to prepare. And because of their failure, there will be no accountability for the administration’s willful dishonesty on Benghazi. That ship has sailed.
It’s a slap in the face to anyone who finds it reprehensible for the deaths of brave Americans to be played as a political pawn to spare a president’s campaign strategy.