Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert Downplay Benghazi Response, Attack Critics Instead

One of the unwritten rules of comedy is to always attack the people in power. Apparently, that concept has mostly eluded Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who have staunchly defended the reaction by President Barack Obama and his administration to the death of four Americans in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.

Instead, the hosts of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” have, on a regular basis, harshly criticized Republicans and other critics of the Democrat in the White House.

During Stewart's program on Thursday, Feb. 20, he hammered GOP senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina for their “hyped-up outrage” over Benghazi that led both to support holding up Chuck Hagel‘s nomination for secretary of defense in order to get answers.

Turning to McCain, the host asserted:

Blocking a secretary of defense nominee who has absolutely nothing to do with the target of your current rediscovered outrage at American deaths overseas whilst also copping to maybe a little personal payback is the antithesis of your stated 2008 campaign slogan, “Country First.”

In addition, the liberal comedian challenged the senators' claim that United Nations ambassador Susan Rice wasn't fit to serve as secretary of state because she stated on several Sunday morning talk shows that the fatal riot in Benghazi was caused by an anti-Muslim video on the YouTube website.

However, three months later, Stewart grilled Susan Rice, asking her why she gave out false information just days after the deadly incident.

Rice responded:

I shared the best information that our intelligence community had at the time, and they provided the talking points that I used. And they were wrong in one respect, we learned subsequently, and that is that there wasn’t in fact a protest.

While the discussion was heralded as the liberal host taking on another member of the Democratic Party, the truth is that Rice was no longer being considered for the cabinet post, so the interview had little impact.

In addition, President Obama has been a frequent guest on “The Daily Show.” During an appearance on Oct. 18, 2012, Stewart asked mainly softball questions, including:

I would say and even you would admit it was not the optimal esponse -- at least to the American people as far as all of us being on the same page.

Obama responded: “If four Americans get killed, it is not optimal, and we are going to fix it, all of it.”

Regarding the false information distributed by Susan Rice, the president noted:

The truth is that information comes in, folks put it out throughout the process, people say it is still incomplete. What I was always clear about was we are going to do an investigation and figure out what happened.

Meanwhile, Colbert has been distributing his own brand of liberalism, which included him speculating on the Fox News Channel's coverage of the whistleblowers' testimony on Wednesday

Since the attack first happened last September, Fox has been “doggedly” pursuing the investigation to uncover “how the administration blew it, when they blew it, why they blew it, and how they will continue to have blown it."

“This is the best possible kind of political story," he added. "We have no idea what’s in it, and it’s going to be explosive. It’s the Taco Bell of breaking news!

As NewsBusters previously reported, Colbert joked about his duties as host by stating: "I just say the opposite of whatever Rachel Maddow says."

And in case there was any doubt about Colbert's political philosophy, he campaigned for his sister, liberal businesswoman Elizabeth Colbert Busch, when she ran in a special election in South Carolina on May 7.

Despite the comic's best efforts, she lost the seat to former Republican governor Mark Sanford, who was forced to step down in 2009 when he admitted to a scandalous relationship with a woman from Argentina.

Also on Wednesday, Fox News Channel contributor Peter Johnson, Jr., singled out the two Comedy Central hosts as part of “the political entertainment media” that dismissed the seriousness of the Benghazi scandal.

The issue became “shield the administration from the harm,” Johnson said. “Shield the administration from being discredited and, at the same time, discredit the journalists who are involved with that story.”

“The question is: How many questions do we have to ask before voters forget President Obama killed Osama bin Laden?” asked Colbert in 2012 to cheers from his studio audience.

“And that was the meme,” Johnson declared. “Today, the American people are going to begin to hear the truth of what happened in Benghazi. And the media’s been hiding all these eight months.”

Several years ago, comedian Steve Martin said that “comedy isn't pretty.” It apparently isn't "fair and balanced” when it comes to discussing Democrats either.

Comedy Central Journalistic Issues Jon Stewart Lindsay Graha Stephen Colbert John McCain