Accuracy in Media

House Majority Leader, and odds on favorite to become the next Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), has made such a foolish and incorrect statement about the House Select Committee on Benghazi, that the fallout could keep him from ascending to that position, and do great damage to the investigation.

It occurred on Hannity on the Fox News Channel on Tuesday night. “How am I going to be different (than current Speaker John Boehner)? said McCarthy. “What you’re going to see is a conservative Speaker that takes a conservative Congress that puts a strategy to fight and win. And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A Select Committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.”

Needless to say, the liberal media and the Democrats have had a field day. This, they say, provides absolute confirmation that the whole Benghazi investigation has been a partisan effort, a “witch hunt,” as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called it, to keep Mrs. Clinton from becoming president.

McCarthy attempted to walk it back, but it was too little and too late. The damage was done. The next day, his office issued the following statement: “The Select Committee on Benghazi has always been focused on getting the facts about the attacks on our diplomatic facilities in Libya that led to the death of four Americans. This was the right thing to do and the Committee has worked judiciously and honestly. As a result of that work, there are now numerous investigations being conducted—including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These inquiries have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the consequences of what the former Secretary has done and her confusing, conflicting, and demonstrably false responses.”

McCarthy had another chance to walk it back on Fox News’ Special Report on Thursday, but basically stuck to the script, showed no contrition, and acted as if he had not said what he had in fact said. Later in the program, panelist Stephen Hayes said to host Bret Baier, “I think the original statement was stupid, and I think in his attempt to clean it up, he made the matter worse. He didn’t have anything to say to you. He couldn’t defend what he had said. Trey Gowdy has gone out of his way to keep the Benghazi committee from being political, and I think it’s done a darn good job about it. And with that one soundbite Kevin McCarthy stepped on it in a big way that I think will cause other Republicans to take a second look at him.”

Charles Krauthammer weighed in: “Gowdy has spent two years as a prosecutor. Skilled, and very honest, being absolutely scrupulous in the way he’s conducted this hearing. And McCarthy demolished that in 30 seconds. I’m not sure he’s undone the damage.”

The Washington Post published an article online shortly thereafter, which appears on the front page of the Friday edition of the paper, titled McCarthy’s comments on Benghazi probe may be a political gift to Clinton. The article, by Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, argues, probably correctly, that this has completely changed the dynamics of the scheduled appearance on October 22 by Hillary Clinton before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Now she can play the role of victim of a supposed political witch-hunt.

But the article also claimed that in that interview with Bret Baier, McCarthy had said “that he had apologized to Gowdy and regrets his comments.” However, he never said either of those things.

When asked by Bret Baier if he had apologized to Gowdy, McCarthy said, “I talked to Trey and I told him I regret that this has ever taken place.” Given chance after chance, he never said he regretted his comments. He said he never meant to imply what he actually, clearly implied, which was that this was part of a “strategy” to get her “numbers” to drop.

Following a series of rather uneventful hearings on Benghazi, other than Hillary’s line, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” plus the stacked-deck hearing by the “independent” Accountability Review Board, we at Accuracy in Media (AIM) decided to do something about it. In July of 2013, we formed the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB), with a group of top retired military leaders, former CIA officers, and congressmen, including the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra, with the purpose of doing our own independent investigation in an attempt to reveal the truth about what happened—before, during and after the terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11 and 12, 2012—and hold people accountable. We have made much progress, and are still at it.

We started off with an all-day conference in September 2013, which can be viewed here. Leading off the conference was Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), who already had a House bill with approximately 185 Republican House members as co-sponsors, calling for a Select Committee on Benghazi. The advantage of a Select Committee is that it brings all facets of the investigation under one roof, rather than being divided up between various committees, each with a limited scope and purview. Plus, a Select Committee isn’t limited by the normal rules, in which each questioner has only five minutes, which can easily be eaten up by a single answer. Wolf was the real driving force in Congress behind the formation of a Select Committee. You can watch or read his comments here. It had nothing to do with driving down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.

As a matter of fact, the GOP House leadership resisted the formation of such a committee. Speaker Boehner (R-OH) wouldn’t budge, until May 2, 2014, eight months later. The timing was interesting. It was about a week after we issued our Interim Report, but the final straw came from Judicial Watch, which had led the way on extracting documents through Freedom of Information, about Benghazi. They obtained and revealed a document—an email—that showed how the information about the known nature of the attack was politicized so the Obama administration could send then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice out on five Sunday talk shows to mislead the public about the circumstances surrounding the attack. The Washington Post reported that the email “clearly showed a White House top priority was to shield Obama from criticism less than two months before voters decided whether to give him a second term.” Speaker Boehner then caved, and agreed to appoint a Select Committee. To our delight, he named Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) as chairman of the committee.

This was no “strategy” concocted by Speaker Boehner and the GOP House leadership, which included McCarthy, to knock down Hillary Clinton. It was instead a very reluctant concession that could no longer be denied.

My belief is that McCarthy didn’t mean to suggest that this was a strategy, but rather that it was merely a result of the investigation. But the fact that he so misrepresented what happened and why, and in such an ineloquent way, in my view should disqualify him from being the next Speaker.

Hillary Clinton told MSNBC’s Al Sharpton in an interview taped for his new show, which will air this Sunday, that she is “deeply distressed,” by McCarthy’s comments, and that it “demonstrates unequivocally that this was always meant to be a partisan political exercise.” But in reality she is joyful. Finally she has all of her media pals able to change the narrative from her email scandals—which we’ve written extensively about—which is in fact a national security scandal. It involves the mishandling of classified information, and exposing our secrets to amateur and professional hackers throughout the world, making her subject to blackmail, were she ever to accede to the White House.

Bloomberg Politics reporter John Heilemann was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, and was laughing at Hillary’s claim to being “distressed,” saying, “To be clear, the reason that I laughed was not, was because she’s saying she’s deeply dismayed when that’s, she’s, this is like the best possible news, like a birthday present and a Christmas present all wrapped up in one and dropped in her lap. So when she’s saying. ‘I’m deeply distressed and dismayed,’ in fact she’s skipping through the park, inside. That’s what I found funny.” In other words, more disingenuousness from Mrs. Clinton. But who can blame her?

Chris Matthews had a panel discussion about it on his MSNBC Hardball show that same day in which they referred to McCarthy’s statement as a gaffe, meaning that he inadvertently told the truth, and they all had a big laugh. Rachel Maddow and Salon had a great time with McCarthy’s comment, also claiming that it proved what the Republicans were up to all along. Joy Reid, on Matthews’ panel, said that none of the investigations “have found any wrongdoing.” As we’ve argued for a long time, there are plenty of smoking guns, and loads of wrongdoing already on the record, even if nothing else turns up.

Clearly the media double standard is at work here. WMAL radio host Chris Plante, who earlier this year received the Reed Irvine Award for Excellence in Journalism from AIM, reminded us during a two-hour discussion on McCarthy’s comments, of the time that Senator Harry Reid said on the floor of the Senate during the 2012 presidential race that he had heard that Republican candidate Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes for 10 years. He said that Romney should prove otherwise if it wasn’t true. Well, it wasn’t true, and when confronted about that by CNN’s Dana Bash, who asked Reid if he regretted that statement, he replied, no, adding that “Romney didn’t win, did he?”

Now that was a strategy to change an election.

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  • Mike S.

    I watched the interview and as Seinfeld might have said, “Yada, yada, yada.” McCarthy (imagine what Democrats will do with his name, by association??) didn’t seem to have any real spirit, any real conviction. He just mouthed a lot of words concocted from research on how-to-appeal-to-these-conservative-clowns to get what I want.

    This is tangential but didn’t we have a great conservative speaker named Tom DeLay until Bush let him get arrested on phony charges by a Democrat DA and political hack in Texas? DeLay knew Marxism, and he wasn’t shy about educating people, but we can’t have that, I guess, and it’s why we have such a mess today in government. I think DeLay lost a million dollars defending himself against charges that were ultimately dropped — but only after he was destroyed politically and personally.

    To this day, only Republicans have worry about being removed if charged (not even convicted) with a felony, as was DeLay. I wonder what bunch of RINOs got that bullshit covenant enacted? I smell a rat pack led by McCain.

  • John Cunningham

    We can’t make anymore mistakes. Conservatives are on the precipice of destruction. Barack Obama has caused so much damage and I doubt it will ever go back to the America we strived to achieve. No more oops! We need a leader in Congress not another mistake.

  • Worse than Boehner, if possible… Must be rejected as Speaker !!

  • marlene

    McCarthy = Boehner II

  • Gen11American

    Very revealing Freudian slip on McCarthy’s part, proving at this incredibly early stage that he must be rejected as Speaker because what he’s stupidly done is to support Hillary Clinton’s contention that the Benghazi hearing is political, when actually, the terrorist attack on Benghazi was political, and the failure of Hillary Clinton to provide adequate security to ambassador Stevens was political! I hope Trey Gowdy shows large, blown pictures of what the terrorists did to Ambassador Stevens when he was tortured for seven hours while Hillary Clinton was diddling, refusing to allow our forces to rescue him! Hillary Clinton should be crucified for her failures as Secretary of State, for her lyiing about what precipitated that terrorist attack, and for her lying about her server!

  • hap46

    A smart voter will realize that Hillary’s state, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” is meaningful in that she implies it doesn’t matter that four government personnel are buried and gone forever.

  • itoldyou

    Mccarthy must be strongly anti choice that is the only reason congress could put forth an idiot like this. The next election will be about abortion it always is and it is the main reason the Republicans will lose

  • itoldyou

    You are right Have you noticed Hillary, Obama , or Panetta have never gotten mad about the fact The State Dept, Defense and all the rest sent 4 americans into one of the most dangerous places in the world with no plan to protect them. If they are telling the truth then many should have been fired and maybe prosecuted. Obama went to bed and Hillary got drunk and Leon was moving assets around a board

  • itoldyou

    As I said this is all about Abortion it always is

  • John Cunningham

    Abortion? Isn’t that another word for murder? Use the right word don’t be a coward and try not to call it what it is.

  • itoldyou

    My personal feelings about abortion is it should be a states rights issue. Every election turns on the abortion issue and it is a loser for the Republicans. Do you think a woman wants an idiot like hucklebee telling them what is good for them. So the Republicans can elect mccarthy and then they can lose to who ever and that will be that

  • itoldyou

    You are right and if the Republican shut down the Gov they better be ready to follow through and not back down

  • John Cunningham

    I know it is a huge issue but, to me it’s murder and you can’t kill just a little bit. I was adopted in 1950. My Dad who adopted me said to me you should be glad you weren’t born now. No body should be a choice. Women have been around for at 15,000 years and just because Progressives now control the issues doesn’t change the fact it is murder. When Roe vs. Wade was done in 1973 it was early term. Today they are killing Babies as they come out of the womb. In 10 year or less Women will have the right to abort a baby up maybe a year or more. We have as human beings, lost our morality.

  • itoldyou

    I believe most people against abortion use it as an excuse because they want to control women. Just like Muslims I want less gov not more. In maybe 100 years women won’t have children they will all be test tube so they can be engineered. There are about7 billion too many people anyway. Abortion may be murder but many people born are just feeders anyway

  • John Cunningham

    Politics are used like a credit card for Liberals and, it would be better Babies were born in test tubes rather than choice.

  • Anthony Duhe

    Do we need another who will be blackmailed because of his personal life? If you will cheat on your wife–you will cheat the American people.

  • Steven Barrett

    There’s no “blackmail” here Anthony … would be Speaker McCarthy exposed his own lack of necessary major league political smarts needed for the job as the world’s largest lion tamer. His record for “constituent service” doesn’t look all that impressive in terms of what he’s been able to bring home to his district. Oh yeah, we’re supposed to overlook that kind of stuff nowadays in this age of “transparency and accountability” with all the promises to cut down on pork, etc. C’mon, let’s get real as adults, (and I’m not directly pointing this question to you.) If you can’t deliver more than a simple new post office for your district in over ten years of service on Capitol Hill, how the hell can your own party and the nation count on you to deliver much bigger stuff to benefit us all in areas like defense, highway improvement programs, just the basic nuts n’ bolts of keeping the Federal machine rolling, regardless of ideological talking points. One post office. But he’s also managed to pull together a Star Chamber Grand Inquisitor shebang for Hillary later this month. Now thanks to his big mouth, he’s left himself wide open to folks thinking of him as your average back yard or barn “yowser kitty” left howlin’ for milk n’ morsels. LOL, my family used to have one and the resemblance is too funny to ignore and keep under my sleeves. Looks like Nancy’s Democratic Tammany Hall Tigers are able to get the last roar off, again.

  • Steven Barrett

    Ah, c’mon, be more manly and keep the circus-act, esp. the part where the big cat tamer has to do his thing, isn’t shut down. Republicans can’t run a gov’t or tame big cats like that small and “mousy-looking” Nancy Pelosi who managed to whip and lead her Tigers quite well. Instead of pullin’ their tails in and hidin’ in their litter boxes, the Republicans ought to show the public they still have more than a simple “meow” left in their windpipes. Wimpy lap cats.

  • IronChefSandwiches

    It’s so cute how you stack a kangaroo court full of mouth-breathing, Obama-hating birther idiots and consider THAT “not political”, while completely ignoring the REPUBLICAN-led committee’s findings that 99% of the accusations levied against the administration were completely fabricated. Hmmm. This is why only right-wing nutjob dead enders listen to Kincaid and AIM. Get used to saying President Clinton again, folks!

  • IronChefSandwiches

    If the Republicans shut down the government, they will guarantee that they’ll lose more Congressional seats than they’re already going to. Do you people REALLY not understand that? Shutting down the government HURTS people and the GOP will be to blame. People won’t forget.

  • IronChefSandwiches

    1) Stevens was not tortured.
    2) Clinton did not diddle and did not refuse to send in forces.
    3) There is no evidence that she ever lied about any of it.

    These are easily verified facts. There are no questions left to answer. There is no new information to be learned. The Benghazi committee is designed, 100%, to destroy Hilary Clinton. Nothing more. The fact that you meatheads can’t see that is astonishing.

  • bill

    If the GOP dares to vote against Obama’s dictatorial policies, mandates, and executive orders, the president has repeatedly threatened to shutdown the government. That’s been his response to any opposition to dictated policies. The problem is, that threat raises the RINO’s yellow spine stripe so they continually cower and give in. It’s time to dump the RINOs, including McCarthy. There’s a reason Boehner recommended him as his replacement. “Birds of a feather, flock together!” And, why is Boehner still hanging around? Get out of there, you emotional, brown-nosing, political coward!

  • Bill

    Abortion??? Try Loss of individual “LIBERTIES!” We’re losing them daily and America is none the wiser. Sleep on folks. Your worst nightmares are yet to come if we stay on the path of deterioration we’re now going down.

  • IronChefSandwiches

    This is perhaps the dumbest thing ever written. The far right fringe of the Republican party decided that they would NEVER compromise politically on ANYTHING, even though compromise is how things get done. They decided this because they just couldn’t accept the reality that a huge chunk of the country hates them so much that they elected a half-black guy with an Arab-sounding name over their candidates. GOP obstruction in the house and filibustering in the Senate has caused massive gridlock. Electing a Tea Party idiot will only make this worse. On the plus side, it will show more and more people that the Tea Party morons aren’t to be taken seriously, and your grip on Congress will go away. In other words, you (and you personally) are destroying any chance you have of affecting policy. This is awesome! Thank you for being an obstinate child who holds his breath til he gets his way. It’s allowing the rest of us to get stuff done. Enjoy President Clinton 2!

  • itoldyou

    Face it we have lost this country. the whole southwest will soon go to the immigrants. along with the north and so on. If the next Democrat wins CA, NY, and Florida that is about 110 votes. We don’t have any real liberities because the so called constitution is a joke. The worse part was freedom of religion.

  • BillWestern

    Look at the bright side of “politically motivated” Special Committees. Someone is finally calling for a Special Committee on gun violence in America. If a Special Committee over the death of four Americans is warranted, surely the same is required for the death of 33,000 Americans. Let’s see, eight investigations into deaths of four Americans…we should have 66,000 investigations into the deaths of 33,000 Americans. Oh wait, we won’t have any. Because we’ve accepted the wholesale slaughter of fellow citizens, including through abortions. We are surely the exceptional nation; exceptionally sick.

  • FloridaJim

    This was a stupid comment and completely inaccurate The committee is diligently working through a maze of Democratic defenses and lies for Hillary, Cummings and the media. Benghazi is Watergate with 4 deaths! If this were Cheney or Bush involved it would b a national disgrace but the slimy media has controlled the story and Hillary lies endlessly just like Obama. Our government is a disgrace and we will soon become a Marxist country as Obama, Hillary and 60’s radicals have wanted for 5 generations. Putin will lead the world and the democrats will wonder what happened to their power, I won’t.
    Everyone should speak cautiously and not say things that can hang them

  • terry1956

    That call for a” special” committee on ” gun” violence is nothing but a call for either more federal ( or UN or international business roundtable or the Chinese Communist Party) gun control and or more federal ( or UN or the IBR or CCP) control of ” mental” health with the results being more killing and terror in the US by private and public criminals.

  • terry1956

    Na Clinton will not be president, Biden maybe, maybe even Sanders but not Slick Willy’s wife.

  • terry1956

    homicide is a choice but in a civilized society it can not be legal except in self defense.
    Within the states homicide also is not a federal issue normally.

  • terry1956

    If the president vetos funding of the federal government (because funding of Mass Murder INC is not included) submitted by congress then it would be the president doing the partial federal government shutdown.
    I wrote partial and federal to make clear it would not be a shut down of the government even if the federal was totally shut down( because we still have state, county and local) and it would be far from a total federal shutdown.
    Besides if people want to make up the short fall from the federal government not funding planned parent hood it can easily be done privately.
    It appears the funding is around 540 million but lets say a billion, then if 50 millon gave 20 dollars each that would be 1 billion.
    if only 5 million would give a total of 1 billion that would be just 200 dollars each.
    if only 500,000 gave that would be 2000 dollars each.
    If only 50,000 gave that would be 20,000 each.
    Heck Ted Turner could give it all himself, he could ask Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Soros to help.

  • terry1956

    Are you so young that you don’t remember who the GOP nominated in 2008 and 2012?
    Just on the odd chance you are or just wasn’t keeping up then I will let you know that in 2008 the GOP nominee was John McCain and in 2012 it was Mitt Romney. both establishment Republicans.

  • terry1956

    it aint over until it is over.
    While with a few adjustments it might be better to go back to the Articles of Confederation, the US Constitution is a good document but self government can not work as a spectator sport and even just voting makes it that.

  • terry1956

    The Republicans are not going to shut done the government.
    Now if Obama vetos a spending bill of congress then he will partially shut down the federal government but most of it will be open, nor will that shut down the state, county and local governments.
    Durning the last ” shut down” the Western Band of the Cherokee, the surrounding counties in NC and TN volunteered to fund the Great Smoky Mt. National Park to keep it open, it should be turned over to that tribe and the counties anyway.

  • Stephen Noyes

    Accuracy in the Media? LOL!!! Should rename this site Fraudsters in the Media. May the Benghazi be with you all!

  • RobRBarron

    I wonder what Wayne Simmons has to say about McCarthy’s Benghazi comments…can someone PING him pls?