Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media recently held a conference on last year’s tragic attacks on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. This event not only served as a launching pad for a new group called the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, but also called attention to some largely unknown facts about Benghazi that have been covered up by the administration and the mainstream press.

First, we learned from the Obama Administration that it was a YouTube video that sparked the protests—a false narrative gladly perpetuated by the media as long as possible. Currently, the media and the administration are pushing the story that attempts to investigate Benghazi constitute a Republican vendetta, the perpetuation of a “phony scandal” to incite the populace against the President and former Secretary of State—and presidential hopeful—Hillary Clinton.

To this end, it is not surprising that key details of the recent congressional hearings on Benghazi went largely unnoticed by the mainstream media. Instead, media consumers are left with the narrative that this is a political battle rather than a search for the truth, and that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his Oversight and Government Reform Committee are composed of belligerent politicians who care little about decorum or etiquette. (That, according to Politico, seemed to be the greater takeaway.)

What inspires headlines on the topic of Benghazi today? Political theater, such as Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) tweet that the World War II Monument had more security on hand than Benghazi did that terrible night.

Displaying an increasingly hostile tone, Republicans Thursday sought to discredit the findings of a report on last year’s deadly assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and criticize former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response,” reported Ginger Gibson for Politico in September (emphasis added). “California Rep. Darrell Issa, the committee chairman, cut witnesses off, interrupted fellow lawmakers and accused the administration of withholding witnesses from the panel and obstructing his investigation,” she wrote (emphasis added).

Gibson took the time to point out that “Most Republicans focused their questions on [former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Michael] Mullen, virtually ignoring the two witnesses who conducted a separate best practices investigation and focusing only a handful of questions on [Thomas] Pickering.” But she failed to report on one key instance which might have called Mullen’s “independence” into suspicion, and which was a subject of many inquiries during the hearing. As outlined in Darrell Issa’s Committee report (pdf), Admiral Mullen apparently chose to call up Hillary Clinton’s Counselor and Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, to give her a friendly “heads up” that he didn’t think Charlene Lamb would comport herself well in front of Congress. Lamb was scheduled to testify on October 10, 2012, before Congress; the Accountability Review Board (ARB), of which Admiral Mullen was Vice-Chair, had been announced on October 3 by Hillary Clinton. Admiral Mullen had just interviewed Lamb for the investigative purposes of the ARB, and went out of his way to make this friendly call to Mills. The call to Mills occurred just days after she had called Mullen to ask him to be the co-chair of the ARB.

“If this is so independent [a board] why are you giving the State Department a heads up about a witness coming in front of this committee?” asked Rep. Jim Jordan at the hearing. Also, Breitbart reported that “He [Mullen] was asked if he ever alerted officials at the State Department or Department of Defense about ARB activities.”

“He told them they contacted Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, ahead of time because it may be a difficult appearance for the State Department.”

MSNBC didn’t mention these telling moments with Admiral Mullen, either. But then again, they chose to ignore a whole lot of information that would be important in determining whether the ARB was actually independent. As mentioned in the hearing, the ARB investigators did not transcribe their interviews, they only took “diplomatic notes.” Neither Politico nor MSNBC found this newsworthy. Thomas Pickering explained during the hearing that he felt that transcribed interviews for the ARB would have hindered the kind of give-and-take he was soliciting from those he interviewed. It does, however, diminish the objective record of what happened during this investigation.

“The State Department’s refusal to turn over documents and materials reviewed by the ARB has limited the Committee’s ability to evaluate the thoroughness and accuracy of the ARB process,” stated the report from Issa’s Committee.

“Pickering pushed back on the accusations that the committee assembled to testify before the review board about Benghazi did not contain any ‘true outsiders,’ and that the report was biased,” wrote Traci G. Lee for MSNBC. What she failed to mention is that the Secretary of State chose four out of five investigators, and then the investigative board found that it wasn’t necessary to interview Clinton at all for her role in the Benghazi attacks.

Lee’s piece from MSNBC doesn’t address other concerns, such as the fact that the report from Issa’s committee asserts that the mid-level employees targeted by the ARB may have been unfairly targeted (instead of Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, or even more senior officials), and that they received little due process at the hands of the State Department. However, Lee cites the report in the first line of her article. Perhaps she hasn’t read it? It is, after all, 99 pages long—too long, perhaps, for the drive-by media.

On the preceding day, Ambassador Kennedy had outlined what was happening to the four State officials who were previously on administrative leave: “One of them has been reassigned to a lower-level position in the Bureau of African Affairs. One is the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions and the other, the other two are in the process of being reassigned to positions of lesser responsibility with no worldwide purview,” he said. According to Issa’s report, the latter two may be considered for positions of some prestige. When asked about this, Kennedy didn’t give a straight answer.

Instead, Lee writes: “As a result, four State Department officials were relieved of their duties.” The link goes to a 2012 ABC News article. She doesn’t even bother to educate the reader that these officials were recently reinstated to lower positions by Secretary of State John Kerry, after a “thorough review” of their performance which didn’t include talking to their supervisors. One wonders, does she even know?

Considering the mainstream media’s dismissive attitude about facts they don’t agree with, it’s little wonder that the American people know so little about what went on in Benghazi.




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Comments

  • joshuasweet

    the behind closed doors weapons deals by the Obama administration to supply the Muslim Brotherhood compatriots, sealed with the blood of the one that offended the person.

  • beaujest

    John Boehner will not appoint a special counsel to get the truth out ! WHY ?
    Pickering is a Muslim tool !

  • terryk

    Isn’t AIM’s “Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi” — laden with birthers, Obama-haters and anti-Muslim activists — political theater too?

  • kellyleach

    Those that take the time to investigate and use common sense know how corrupt both the Clintons and Obamas are. In Obama’s heart he is a Muslim, but he knew that being so would harm his political carrier. And with the Clintons, remember Whitewater, Travelgate, and those lost papers that just showed up one morning on the breakfast table in the Whitehouse? There has never been two more corrupt families in the Whitehouse than the Clintons and Obama. Now Obama has taken over our schools with Common Core, just like “Rules for Radicals” preaches to do.

  • CommanderTaya

    Just pure stonewalling and bias by omission. This investigation must be kept in the forefront. Too much time and the public develops a short term memory loss for grave issues like this. Not going to mention the Obamabot media. Lost cause.

  • terryk

    So, the answer is yes?

  • kellyleach

    To the indoctrinated like yourself, nothing reaches your brain that is derived from common sense. When you lean so far left, you tend to fall that way and it’s really difficult to stand up straight again. Yes the sky is green, don’t you believe that? If Obama told you that you sure would. Ask yourself why this administration lied about the video, then hid all those that were witness to the killings and require they take lie detector tests once a month to prove they haven’t spoken about what they saw. Yes to you anything this Whitehouse says is true. Go find common sense, you seem to have lost it.

  • terryk

    Because I’m not a right-wing winger and don’t agree with you means I’m “indoctrinated”?

    Ask yourself why AIM would put on this bit of political theater called a “citizens commission” and stack it with birthers and Obama-haters. It’s certainly not because they want to find the truth.

  • kellyleach

    Still avoiding answering why they lied and blamed it on a video? Then hid those that witnessed it!!! Answer why that happened.

  • terryk

    I think the truth will out eventually, and that AIM’s so-called “citizen’s commission” will have little or nothing to do with it, being staffed as it is with birthers and Obama-haters.

    You didn’t answer my question — am I “indoctrinated” simply because I disagree with you? Have you considered the possibility that you’re the one who’s been indoctrinated?

  • oxco

    Have you? That is the pot calling the kettle black.. Where are the birthers?? what a lame generalization all you libs do is attack with baseless claims. Move along troll,
    Liberals cannot ‘coexist’ with those that disagree, hypocrite

  • terryk

    It’s a fact that at least four members of AIM’s “citizen’s commission” have questioned Obama’s eligibility. That makes them birthers. Why did AIM feel the need to put discredited birthers on its panel?

  • kellyleach

    Still no answer, just a response. Why did they lie about the video and hid the witnesses? Answer that! Those are facts that are not in dispute. Why did they deceive the American public? Why!

  • kellyleach

    Someone questioning Obama’s legal right to be president is not lying about the deaths of four citizens. We have a legal right to question, but Obama and Clinton do not have a legal right to lie and deceive the American public. That is illegal and they both have harmed the country by doing so.

  • terryk

    If you’re questioning the right of Obama to be president, that indicates a clear bias that may make it more likely that an anti-Obama findings will influence the “citizens commission” findings. It’s a very relevant issue.

  • terryk

    Do you really you’ll get a trustworthy answer to that questions from a bunch of birthers and Muslim-haters?

  • oxco

    Agree completely

  • oxco

    Then why question Cruz citizenship, oh plz only when the dems question it is ok. God forbid the other side question any democrat. You’re all a bunch of ‘coexist’ hypocrites

  • oxco

    move along paid troll, time to hit another website

  • terryk

    Why aren’t the Obama birthers going equally hard after Cruz, who by their standards is even less eligible to be president than Obama?

  • terryk

    Hate to break it to you, but I’m not a paid troll — I’m just trying to ask legitimate questions about AIM’s little kangaroo court.

  • kellyleach

    What you’re trying to do is hide behind a made up progressive/leftist name such as birther. But what I’m asking is a fact that you won’t answer. Why did they lie and blame it on a video and are hiding the witnesses? Why wouldn’t Hillary answer questions afterwards and say they had the flu, then fell down and all the other lame excuses to not face questions on Benghazi? She has people like you to do her “hide the truth” and you feel no shame in doing so.

  • oxco

    Sing it Kelly 🙂

  • oxco

    Sure, I am Donald Duck

  • oxco

    give me your facts, instead of baseless claims

  • terryk

    I don’t know the answer to that. I do know, however, that Republicans are shown they are determined to gin Benghazi up into something it probably isn’t solely for the purpose of spite, and AIM’s birther-stacked “citizen’s commission” is part of that.

  • kellyleach

    If you were honest and wanting the truth you’d be asking why they lied about the video and why Hillary went into hiding so she couldn’t be asked. Then demand answers as to why those that witnessed what happened have had their names changed and are required to take lie detector tests and not speak to anyone about what happened in Benghazi. Even the most indoctrinated of liberals has to have some shred of decency and should care why 4 of our citizens were left to die. The family of those 4 dead Americans is mad as hell that they were lied to. If it were your family member would you still be protecting those that are trying to cover it up?

  • terryk

    I do care. I’d rather get my answers from people who don’t have such a nakedly partisan agenda like AIM’s “citizens commission.”