David Brock and Media Matters for America are enjoying a victory lap after forcing CBS News to retract its 60 Minutes story about Benghazi, which was based on a faulty source. He joined CNN’s Reliable Sources today to expand on the CBS’s mistake–and to argue that the Benghazi scandal is, in fact, a “right-wing hoax”:
I think they were eager and willing dupes of a right-wing hoax. They suspended the traditional standards of CBS News, and they adopted the shoddy practices of Fox News. And when you go down the Fox path, that’s where you end up. And really, the bigger piece for me is, you know, we’ve written a book called The Benghazi Hoax, from Media Matters. Everybody who’s followed this story for the past thirteen months knows that the entire scandal is a hoax. The only reason the story exists is partisan politics. Republicans trying to sabotage health care and prevent Hillary Clinton from running for president.
Brock’s view is pure, mockable propagandist fantasy. The facts of the Benghazi attack are straightforward: four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, were killed in a terror attack after requests for additional security were denied. President Barack Obama did nothing to rescue the diplomats under siege, nor did he maintain contact with his national security team. Instead, he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spun a false tale about a protest against an anti-Islam YouTube video. In the aftermath, the government did little to arrest or punish the perpetrators, who roamed the streets freely. That is a scandal–or ought to have been.
There is certainly much about Benghazi that remains speculative, such as the accusation that the U.S. was secretly running weapons to Syrian rebels, for example. But the basic facts are known and indisputable. No doubt there is political advantage in holding Obama and Clinton to account, but that is how our system is supposed to work: the knowledge that the opposition might investigate keeps government accountable.
And while Republicans certainly intend to use Benghazi to thwart Clinton’s presidential ambitions–rightly so!–the idea that they have raised the issue “to sabotage health care” is completely absurd. It is a window into the twisted worldview of Brock and his organization, who are overplaying their hand badly. The fact that CBS made a mistake does not invalidate other reporting on Benghazi (including Fox News’ excellent work), and it certainly does not justify sweeping the deaths of four Americans abroad under the rug.