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If Only Other Outlets Covered Benghazi as Well as the NY Times

Every once in a while the NY Times lives up to its own billing. Yesterday, in its coverage of the Benghazi hearings, it came pretty close.

The Times' story, which is co-authored by three people, opens on the "riveting minute-by-minute account" of Gregory Hicks. But it doesn't stop there. In just the third paragraph it begins to peel back the political undercurrents of the story:

But within days, Mr. Hicks said, after raising questions about the account of what had happened in Benghazi offered in television interviews by Susan E. Rice, the United Nations ambassador, he felt a distinct chill from State Department superiors...He was soon given a scathing review of his management style, he said, and was later “effectively demoted” to desk officer at headquarters, in what he believes was retaliation for speaking up.

And a few paragraphs later:

Mr. Hicks offered an unbecoming view of political supervision and intimidation inside the Obama administration. When Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, visited Libya after the attack, Mr. Hicks said his bosses told him not to talk to the congressman. When he did anyway, and a State Department lawyer was excluded from one meeting because he lacked the necessary security clearance, Mr. Hicks said he received an angry phone call from Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills.

It's a solid report, fair to both sides and does not pretend this is old news or unworthy of attention. And best of all the Times put it on page A1 of the print paper.

By contrast, the LA Times was focused on Tacos on it's online front page yesterday. And it's printed front page today has no mention of the hearings. The story the paper did run yesterday about the hearings was described by Patterico (a long time LA Times critic) as "partisan hackwork." Unlike the NY Times, the LA Times story gave scant attention to the claims of political intimidation against Hicks and seemed to take the prior ARB report as gospel.

Those to the left of the LA Times offered even less accurate summaries. This piece by Kevin Drum for Mother Jones should be classified as a cover-up of its own. No mention at all of Hicks' reaction to the Rice appearances or that he was ill-treated after he questioned the official story? Really?!

And continuing his streak on this topic, Dave Weigel writes "If you're not overly concerned with the talking points (which even in their original version suggested that a "demonstration" was used as a cover for attacks)..." Actually, no. The first talking points don't use the word demonstration at all (so why is it in quotes here?) and they don't really suggest one either. As I pointed out yesterday, the first talking points said "attacks." It was the 2nd talking points, which were altered at the White House, which substituted the word "demonstrations."

And finally there's this. It's not a response to the hearings so much as a meta-response by way of something Ambinder heard on talk radio. Talk about failure to engage.

Today I find myself wishing that the left-leaning media did as good a job covering the Benghazi hearings as the NY Times. In any case, it helps to clarify who is playing politics when it comes to this issue.


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