Watergate became an issue, and ended a presidency, only because of the dogged pursuit of the truth by the press.
The famous team of Woodward and Bernstein risked everything to pursue a damaging story about the most powerful man on Earth, the president of the United States. It took more digging than the Panama Canal did. It took the cultivation of a news source so secretive that he was given the name “Deep Throat,” and his identity was never acknowledged until his death just a few years ago.
Ultimately, the lonely persistence of those two reporters resulted in a feeding frenzy in the media and hearings on Capitol Hill and the resignation of Richard Nixon.
Let’s compare all that to the scandals of today – and how the media have handled those.
First there was Fast and Furious – a gun-running program under the U.S. Department of Justice in which mega-dangerous Mexican drug cartels were actually supplied powerful weapons by the U.S. government. The guns have been linked to dozens of murders, including mass murders – as well as the killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Congress has tried for months and months to get to the bottom of the scandal, but Attorney General Eric Holder has given testimony that conflicts with documented evidence, and he has refused to provide papers subpoenaed by the House. He has been found in contempt of Congress, and President Obama has tried to avert further scrutiny by claiming the documents in the scandal are protected by executive privilege.
Like Watergate, except that no one was killed in that scandal.
Now we have the Benghazi Bungle.
This administration allowed its consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to be grossly underprotected – even after the nearby British pulled up stakes and left, and after our ambassador there and other officials pleaded the Obama administration for more security. On Sept. 11, 2012, the embassy was attacked by what is now described as an al-Qaida-style band of well-armed terrorists. Yet, for nearly two weeks after the attack, the Obama administration described the attack as a protest gone bad
over an anti-Muslim Internet video.
Evidence now indicates there was never any protest, and that the Obama administration knew very quickly that it was a terrorist attack, despite its repeated claims to the contrary.
In short, they lied through their teeth to the American people for days on end.
To cover up their lies, they’ve been claiming that intelligence officials were wrong. Yet, State Department e-mails reportedly indicate that officials knew of the likely link to terrorism within hours of the attack, and that an al-Qaida-linked group was claiming responsibility.
Again, this might be like Watergate, except that four people, including an American ambassador, were killed.
Yet, at an Obama campaign event in Ohio recently, person after person after person had no knowledge of the Benghazi attack or its aftermath.
That might be because the news media are trying their best to give Obama a pass on this, as well as the Fast and Furious scandal.
They once clawed and scratched and dug to get at Watergate in off-the-record conversations and back alley interviews. Today, the media have had the evidence of two scandals dumped on their desks – and, with just a few exceptions, they appear to have little desire to get at the truth.
Interesting. And very sad.
If this administration gets away with this, and is even rewarded with re-election, what won’t it lie about?