The Conversation

The mainstream media is Obama's first and last hope on Benghazi

In response to More Buffoonery: Obama Flacks Mock Fox News' Benghazi Coverage :

I think of all this as a series of coded commands to the White House's media allies, calling the Praetorian Guard together one last time to close ranks and ignore the Benghazi story.  Team Obama has been describing this as an "old story" since before Hillary Clinton stood at that ceremony and repeated the "spontaneous video protest lie" right into the faces of the victims' families.  The media has generally been very agreeable about passing that spin along to the public.

There are signs it isn't going to work this time.  I'd fault Speaker Boehner for being so slow to launch a serious investigation, but now that it's happening, there's no way to ignore this story to death.  And at least a few people in the MSM, especially Jonathan Karl at ABC and the ever-reliable Jake Tapper at CNN, are pushing on this story.  They look personally insulted by the crap Jay Carney has been trying to feed them at White House briefings.

In fact, Tapper put it exactly that way when he talked with Hugh Hewitt the other day.  He said Carney's claims that the newly-discovered emails aren't really about Benghazi were "dissembling, obfuscating, and often insulting."  He sounds utterly exasperated at the beginning of the interview, and only narrowly succeeds in arguing himself out of calling Carney a liar:

That's what makes me think the story has legs, perhaps in a way it hasn't since October 2012.  Everyone knows what this is: the White House caught red-handed lying about the death of four Americans, with documentation to prove it.  And it makes the media look ridiculous for uncritically parroting those lies in order to get Obama re-elected.  Some of them did it out of blind partisan loyalty, but others just convinced themselves the Obama version of the story had to be true, through a mixture of ideology and their general warm feelings toward him.  

Ideology led them to swallow the Spontaneous Video Protest crap, because they really believed Obama's twaddle about a "decimated" al-Qaeda "on the run" in 2012, and because the idea that freedom of speech must be curtailed to avoid hurting Muslim sensibilities is ideologically agreeable to the Left.  They're very interested in curtailing freedom of speech, and they bought the whole "future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam" thing Obama was selling them at a discount, because it's a slam against Western culture, and a form of constricted speech the Left doesn't think would hurt them at all.  They've made their peace with Islamist supremacy, at least for the time being; they think only knuckle-dragging "Duck Dynasty" rubes are seriously interested in prophet-slandering.  The Spontaneous Video Protest narrative wasn't just a fiction that let them go on believing that President Boyfriend was a two-fisted terrorist-smasher - it was useful to liberals.  They have a long list of "offensive" speech they'd like to see banned, if they can get Americans accustomed to the idea of restricting speech.

And of course, in newsrooms coast-to-coast, none of them wanted to believe in the truth of Benghazi.  They didn't want to ask those difficult questions about why the Ambassador was left unprotected.  Listening to General Lovell's testimony this week, I was once again struck by the magnitude of the great un-asked question: why weren't there any contingency resources available to assist the consulate in a timely manner?  "There's nothing we could have done" has been Obama's refrain since Day One... but that's a damning indictment of his and Hillary Clinton's competence, not a defense.  It's easy to understand why "journalists" who were eager to serve as volunteer boosters for Obama/Biden 2012 didn't want to ask that question, or encourage voters to think about it.  The Spontaneous Video Protest lie was a convenient way to make Benghazi feel akin to an unpredictable natural disaster in the minds of voters, and shift blame to the weirdo video producer who supposedly bore the ultimate "responsibility" for the attack (that's exactly how Hillary Clinton put it to the families of the slain.)

The media has a lot of tough questions about itself to answer, as these new email revelations blow the Benghazi story into the stratosphere.  I don't think they're going to heed Obama's "ignore this one more time and save me" cry this time.  More of them are going to begin feeling the sense of anger and betrayal Tapper talked about with Hugh Hewitt.  Others might even retain some rudimentary capacity for shame.


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