I wanted to get this up earlier but was pulled away. My apologies. It seems a bit late in the race to put it out there, but I guess that was what CBS was hoping for. Either way, in the off chance an undecided stumbles over here before voting tomorrow, at least he/she will get to see it somewhere since the mainstream media chose to ignore it, again.
The Beghazi story/cover-up has become a personal obsession of mine over the last few months for a number of reasons. The first being obvious; American lives were lost and their families were told untruths and outright lies even as their bodies were being returned stateside for burial. Second, I was appalled by the media’s coverage of the story – or the lack thereof – and it did little more than make me question what else they’ve covered up and/or brushed under the rug in my lifetime. The last is personal; for a different set of reasons altogether, but related to the first two all the same.
I’ve been at this whole “covering” politics” business for some time now and I continue to struggle with what the end game truly is. While my work here at RR is anything but “objective journalism”, I do believe even the most partisan rarely read blogger has an obligation to (at least attempt to) do a decent job of sharing the “facts.” Don’t get me wrong, if you put yourself out there as a clearly biased source, facts are obviously delivered in a fashion most favorable to your candidate or your party. I get that. Hell, I do that here. But if you fancy yourself a “journalist” in the truest or even most perverse sense of the word, I think the bar should be raised a little higher.
If not, what’s the point? Then the New York Times and CBS News are just glorified blogs with greater resources.
The Benghazi “story”, from the earliest days, just didn’t add up the way the media was presenting/covering it…
First, I didn’t buy the whole YouTube video mob scene narrative; not even for a minute. Nothing about it added up. For as much as Lefties love to argue that Bush administration policies and American Imperialism are to blame for fundamentalist Muslims “hating America”, it seems rather strange that they would so casually overlook the “bigger picture” with this one. A video? Not a society that lets such a video be produced? Not a country that “shares in those views?” Not a country that “hates Muslims” for being Muslim? Not a country that “invaded” Muslim territory? It just didn’t seem to square with the liberal narrative. It was far too “easy.”
Second, the fact that the mainstream media appeared almost complicit in helping sell that narrative was disheartening and terribly alarming. Would they have went along with the administration’s version of the facts if it was a Bush administration and not an Obama administration? I think not. Most likely, they would have pointed to that list of reasons stated above. The video angle would have been flatly rejected on its face.
Third, the fact that they continued to ignore the story as if was never a story to begin with says really all that needs to be said about the mainstream media. They were clearly covering for the president. A foreign policy debacle could have been damning for his re-election chances, so they chose to make it go away. It was as if network producers and executives issued decrees saying “though shall not speak about Benghazi.” And when they did address the story, it was usually in an attempt to discredit Fox News for continuing to gather the actual facts and question the narrative. Unconscionable.
Fourth, the Candy Crowley debate “act of terror” Romney-Obama fact checking debacle may be the most egregious act of media bias interfering with a presidential election I have seen in my lifetime. Even if it was a non-issue or non-story, the fact that she played such a heavy handed role was both unthinkable and unimaginable. She not only defended the president, she got the facts wrong. The president used “act of terror” in a general sense by saying “they will not be tolerated.” He was not speaking about Benghazi and anyone that watched the Rose Garden press conference knew it. And because the average debate viewer was not among those watching the Rose Garden press conference, Crowley “settled” the issue in Obama’s favor; regardless of the facts.
That brings us to today. Well, last night – I suppose.
Just hours before the election, CBS News quietly released extended footage of an Obama interview with Steve Kroft conducted the day of the Rose Garden press conference. It was actually the second time that CBS has offered extended footage of that interview – the last time coming after the debate. While it is typical for parts of an interview to get cut on the production room floor, one would think a second release would offer anything relevant that had been omitted in the first release. One would think.
I’ll have more in a minute, but first let me share the transcript of the first release (after the second debate fiasco)
KROFT: But there are reports that they were very heavily armed with grenades, that doesn’t sound like your normal demonstration.
OBAMA: As I said, we’re still investigating exactly what happened, I don’t want to jump the gun on this. But your right that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt. And my suspicion is there are folks involved in this. Who were looking to target Americans from the start. So we’re gonna make sure that our first priority is to get our folks out safe, make sure our embassies are secured around the world and then we are going to go after those folks who carried this out.”
Seems to confirm the president’s position and Crowley interjection at the debate. The administration’s still sorting through the details, but the “Act of Terror” line is neither confirmed nor denied.
But now we get the full transcript and the video of the interview. You’ll probably notice, the first version begins with “but” – implying that Croft was disagreeing or following up on something the president said.
KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack?
OBAMA: Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.
KROFT: It’s been described as a mob action, but there are reports that they were very heavily armed with grenades, that doesn’t sound like your normal demonstration.
OBAMA: As I said, we’re still investigating exactly what happened, I don’t want to jump the gun on this. But your right that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt. And my suspicion is there are folks involved in this. Who were looking to target Americans from the start. So we’re gonna make sure that our first priority is to get our folks out safe, make sure our embassies are secured around the world and then we are going to go after those folks who carried this out.
The same day as the Rose Garden press conference, the president refused to call it a terrorist attack. Kroft even said, “This morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack”; and the president had no objection. He then asked him point blank, if he believed “this was a terrorist attack” and he said it was “too early to tell.”
Watch the video if you’re having troubling following… Even if you never read the Rose Garden transcript or saw the previous release, I think its pretty easy to see why this interview would have and should have been “news” given the role it played in the second debate.
Bret Baier asks the pertinent questions… and has a timeline of the entire non-story story if you need some perspective.
Understand that this interview is just hours after he gets out of the Rose Garden.
How after this exchange and the CIA explanation of what was being put up the chain in the intel channels does the Ambassador to the United Nations go on the Sunday shows and say what she says about a spontaneous demonstration sparked by that anti-Islam video? And how does the president deliver a speech to the United Nations 13 days later where he references that anti-Islam video six times when referring to the attack in Benghazi?
There are many questions, and here are a few more.
Why did CBS release a clip that appeared to back up Obama’s claim in the second debate on Oct. 19, a few days before the foreign policy debate, and not release the rest of that interview at the beginning?
Why on the Sunday before the election, almost six weeks after the attack, at 6 p.m. does an obscure online timeline posted on CBS.com contain the additional “60 Minutes” interview material from Sept. 12?
Why wasn’t it news after the president said what he said in the second debate, knowing what they had in that “60 Minutes” tape — why didn’t they use it then? And why is it taking Fox News to spur other media organizations to take the Benghazi story seriously?
Whatever your politics, there are a lot of loose ends here, a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of strange political maneuvers that don’t add up.
Again, I share this now for a number of reasons – some of them admittedly personal. It wasn’t that long ago that I heard others talk about “media bias” and casually went along with the argument without fully understanding what it meant or the impact it could truly have on a political election or national conversation. It seemed like nothing more than personal views subconsciously seeping into the delivery of the news. Unfortunate, yes; but sinister, no.
My relative short history of covering political matters closely has changed that view and I’ve struggled at times to avoid becoming a total cynic. Its terribly hard to have a mountain of facts sitting right in front of you and then hear “credible” news sources pick and choose which ones they want to present. In time, you begin to question everything you’ve ever heard, been told, or even believed. Its as if the world flipped upside down and what you used to think was “center” is now nowhere near it.
Stories like this one do nothing to counter that drive toward cynicism. The fact that they quietly released this interview the day before the election, when millions have early voted and millions more will vote tomorrow without ever seeing or even hearing about it, is disgusting. How can CBS call itself a “news organization” after this? They’re nothing more than an arm of the Democratic party. They buried this story because they knew it would hurt the president. They hammered Fox News along the way because they knew anyone covering the story would hurt the president. They’re releasing it now to cover their ass; so people like me can’t say down the line, “They held on to it until after the election to help the president.”
The reality is simple. If they wanted to “report” the news; they would have released the full interview after the second debate, even if it was cut for other reasons from the original program. It would have been the “story of the the election.” Their job is to report the news and they had a monster piece of friggin news. Even still, they chose to sit on it.
I’d ask why if I didn’t already know the answer.