And how do the news media respond to a lying White House caught red-handed – in a scandal far worse than Watergate, the political scandal by which all others are judged?
Virtually all major news outlets Tuesday ignored the newly declassified emails that confirm – for the first time – that top White House officials put forth lies about the 2012 attack at the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed four Americans.
The emails, the first hard evidence leading straight to the White House, actually spell out that the purpose of the false narrative was to insulate President Obama from foreign policy criticism during his re-election bid.
Obtained through court order by Judicial Watch – after the “most transparent administration in history” stonewalled Congress for months – the emails clearly show White House officials promoted the now-infamous Internet video/spontaneous mob outrage cover story in order to deflect attention from the premeditated terrorist attack by al-Qaida affiliates on Sept. 11, 2012.
Most national news outlets have been either lazy or just derelict in their pursuit of the Benghazi scandal since the story first broke. Now they’re going beyond indolent, turning a blind eye – or at least a jaundiced one – to damning evidence that’s being served up on a platter.
A junior sleuth from a high-school newspaper could connect the dots on this one. There’s no elusive paper trail to follow, no obscure documents to uncover, no shadowy Deep Throat sources to interrogate.
The evidence is right there in black and white. It’s. All. Right. There.
The question now is, where did the lie originate? A top CIA official already has testified it wasn’t there.
This shameless obfuscation goes beyond hero worship, willful ignorance or good, old-fashioned liberal bias. This is the two most powerful institutions in America – the government and the media – joining forces to add their own clouds to the fog of war and keep the truth from Americans.
In the corporate world, that might be called collusion, and it would be prosecuted under antitrust laws. The government might even move to break the companies apart.
Do we need an antitrust suit to separate this administration from its lapdog media?
Americans’ trust in this administration was breached a long time ago. Whatever trust we had left in the mainstream media is now gone as well.
Benghazi is no longer merely a government scandal. It’s a media scandal as well.
Because most major newspapers and networks – Fox being the exception – failed to tell you the story, we’ll give you the highlights.
The trail of the blame-the-video-not-the-president PR strategy leads to Ben Rhodes, then-White House strategic communications adviser.
In an email he sent to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on the eve of her infamous Sunday news show appearances to spread the video fairy tale, Rhodes states the “goal” of the cover story is “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
In addition, Rhodes writes that the bogus video story is intended “to reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”
Unbelievable. These people, who presided over four American deaths in Libya, were shamelessly more worried about how they’d look than about helping Americans get to the truth.
The emails were circulated to top administration PR personnel, including David Plouffe, then-White House senior adviser and political strategist; and Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary and husband of ABC News senior national correspondent Claire Shipman.
Rice parroted the phony story on five Sunday programs, including CBS’ Face the Nation – where her interview with host Bob Schieffer bore eerie similarities to a mock interview Rhodes outlined in his emails.
Rice’s adherence to the false narrative on NBC’s Meet the Press was particularly strong: “Putting together the best information that we have available ... our current assessment is what happened in Benghazi was, in fact, initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo ... which were prompted, of course, by the video.”
Obama Press Secretary Carney categorically denied in 2012 that the White House had anything to do with any talking points on the matter. That is now proven false. Mr. Obama last year also called the talking points allegations a “sideshow” – slickly implying it wasn’t true, without actually saying that.
Rhodes, who happens to be the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes, is now a deputy White House security adviser.
For her role as the messenger of myth, Rice has been rewarded with a promotion to national security adviser, a position which did not require Senate confirmation.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the person Rice spared from the talk-show circuit, also blamed the attack on the anti-Islam video, a video hardly anyone had ever seen. Later, when facts surfaced that put the lie to the administration’s cover story, Clinton famously told Congress, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Interestingly enough, a lying White House made a ton of difference to a young Hillary Clinton, who as an attorney advised the House Judiciary committee during the Watergate scandal.
And, oh by the way, no one died in Watergate.
Columnist Charles Krauthammer lamented Tuesday – before being proved correct – that the “mainstream” media probably wouldn’t report much on the Benghazi “smoking document.”
“They should,” he added, “because this exposes a cover-up of a cover-up. And that is a serious offense.”
And failure to dig into it exposes the media’s cover-up of a cover-up of a cover-up.