AP Ignores Own Interview with Libyan President to Scapegoat Film for Attacks

Libyan President el-Megarif went on the record with the AP last Friday to deny that a YouTube video motivated the murder of a U.S. ambassador. What, you didn’t hear about that? That's likely because it embarrasses the media – not to mention the White House – who have been championing this idea since the moment the news broke.

The quote is posted by the AP itself, but they didn’t bother to make it a story. Its exposure has been relegated to a photo caption that looks something like this.

Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif walks in his living room, prior to his interview with the Associated Press regarding the attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens Tuesday night, in Benghazi, Libya, Friday, Sept. 16, 2012. "It has nothing to do with the Prophet Film, the Prophet film was displayed six months ago, it is a fake excuse, of course we reject any insult to the prophet or to Islam, but it is total fabrication" el-Megarif said.

Let’s make the assumption that AP's editors genuinely believed the attacks were not premeditated and that a six-month-old YouTube video happened to spark attacks on September 11. Shouldn't this quote change their narrative even a little? You have the leader of the country calling that entire idea a fabrication. 

And the news service has discounted him wholly. Let's examine the stories put out since they published this quote:

“President Barack Obama paid tribute to the Americans killed in Libya and denounced the violence and anti-U.S. mob protests apparently sparked by an anti-Muslim video made in the United States.”

“YouTube said Tuesday that it was stopping users in Saudi Arabia from viewing an anti-Islam video that has sparked protests across the Muslim world, after the kingdom's press agency reported that the ruler had banned all access to the film and the site appeared to be blocked there.

“A deadly assault on a U.S. consulate in Libya was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday, even as Libya's president insisted the attackers spent months preparing and carefully choosing their date — the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”

And from the White House itself:

“What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region, was a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the US government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting.”

Press Secretary Jay Carney says the White House has no information to suggest that any of the unrest in the Middle East “was pre-planned.” He says it's in reaction to a video that “we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.” 

The Associated Press should listen to its own reporting. An interview with the president of Libya is no small thing, and his words should carry enough weight to merit at least a headline. But because his words did not fit the pre-set narrative -- that this violence was sparked by a six-month-old YouTube video -- they were marginalized, presented as barely more than a footnote. 

They're clinging desperately to a scapegoat for the much larger problem of Obama's failed foreign policy, and the media and the White House should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating this lie.


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