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Washington, DC -- Two weeks ago, I reported here that the Obama administration had dug itself into a minefield of lies about the Benghazi terrorist attack that the president would have to cross to get to Election Day. Whether he will do so unscathed remains unclear, but if Barack Obama is re-elected president on November 6, it will be for one reason only. It will be because the US media threw themselves on every Benghazi bombshell that threatened the president, shutting down democracy in the process.
Not all of the media, of course. Fox News, WND.com, Daily Beast, Reuters, CNN, CBS and others have reported most of the key facts now available. These include, first, the revelation that intelligence immediately indicated the US consulate in Benghazi was destroyed in a planned terrorist attack, not as the result of a “spontaneous” protest triggered by a Youtube video. The latter scenario, however, is the demonstrable lie the Obama administration, including President Obama, repeatedly told for weeks. Later, the State Department established the fact that no “protest” at all occurred before the attack. The Obama administration explanation for these and other discrepancies? “Bad intelligence” or “fog of war.” The major media largely agree, no questions asked. Literally.
This past week, a new set of factors emerged darkly underscoring the appearance of a White House cover-up. These include the publication of the email bulletins that alerted the highest administration officials that the US consulate in Benghazi was under terrorist attack. These emails began arriving in Washington within the first hour of what would stretch into an eight-hour battle. We also learned that the Americans under rocket and mortar fire in Libya repeatedly called for military support; that military support was within two hours’ flying time; and that no help was ever deployed. Four Americans, including the US Ambassador, were killed in the attack that left many others wounded.
Did President Obama order the US military not to come to the aid of Americans under attack on 11 September 2012? This is the terrible question that inevitably forms on grasping the newly established sequence of events –- only not if you’re a member of the US media elite. Take Brian Williams, the $13-million-per-year anchorman of NBC Nightly News. On Friday, October 26, after news of the email alerts and reports of unheeded distress calls had broken, Williams’ single Benghazi question to the president was the following: “The question becomes: Have you been happy with the intelligence, especially in our post 9-11 world? … Were you happy with what you were able to learn as this [Benghazi] unfolded?
Obama sat for another interview that same day, this time with a reporter in the hotly contested state of Colorado. This far more professional (if less highly paid) local reporter asked Obama whether Americans in Benghazi were denied military relief during the attack – and he asked the question twice. Perhaps flustered, Obama finally replied that he made his priorities clear “the minute I found out what was happening.” He continued: “Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.”
If Obama issued ever such a directive, we know it wasn’t carried out. This would be a scandal, a failure in the chain of command that led to many casualties. If, however, Obama didn’t issue this order and is lying, the situation is even worse. Either way, it’s a tremendous news story – only not in the estimation of the editors of the Washington Post, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. These and other leading newspapers failed to report anything at all about Benghazi in the following days. As for the Sunday political affairs TV shows, every one of these well-known hosts (Fox News’ Chris Wallace excepted) failed to bring up Benghazi. And in most cases (CBS’s Bob Schieffier excepted), they shushed up the guests who did. “On the issue of trust, what is going on with regard to Libya?” one Republican guest asked, bringing up Obama’s Friday comments in Colorado. “Well, let’s get to Libya a little bit later,” said David Gregory, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Later never came.
The national press has continued to punt their opportunities to extract information from the president. “Why,” MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski asked Barack Obama, “has it been so easy for critics to say the administration does not have its story straight on Benghazi?" Maybe because the administration hasn’t told a straight story, a fact which fails to pique the curiosity of the White House press corps. After the story about the email alerts broke, White House spokesman Jay Carney held a briefing. How, Carney was asked in Question #8, were the emails alerts “compatible” with the idea that a “spontaneous” attack had taken place? (Question #7: “Would you say that it’s your campaign that has the momentum?”) Carney dismissed the email evidence as being part of “a variety of information” that was coming in. That settled it, judging by Question #9: “How much did you guys sleep last night?”
After Charles Woods, father of slain ex-Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, decided to speak out recently, Benghazi-gate took a dramatic turn. Woods recounts how on the day his sons’ remains returned home, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised him, in effect, that revenge would soon be taken against the producer of the Youtube video. She said the moviemaker would be arrested and prosecuted, thus simultaneously obscuring the terrorism that killed Woods’ son while eviscerating the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech. To date, Woods’ story has appeared only in conservative media. Producer Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, meanwhile, has indeed been arrested and remains in jail on “parole violations.” And no one in the mainstream media except Britain’s Daily Mail has touched Woods’ account of Vice President Biden’s crude attempt at extending condolences: “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?”
Benghazi-gate, of course, is about much more than demented insensitivity. “You don’t just passively allow Americans to remain under attack for eight hours at a time when you have forces within range and do nothing,” Robert C. McFarlane, former National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan, told Fox News. “To have known what he [Obama] had available, to have known that Americans were under fire, and to have done nothing, is dereliction of duty that I have never seen in a Commander in Chief from a president of any party.”
If anything, the media’s dereliction of duty is even worse.
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