MSNBC Smears Pat Smith’s Speech About Benghazi; Her ‘Gross Accusation’ ‘Ruined’ the Night

From the moment that Pat Smith concluded her Monday night speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC) about how her son was murdered in the 2012 Benghazi terror attack, MSNBC had their marching orders to annihilate, demean, and smear Smith for her attacks on Hillary Clinton that left the assembled cast of liberals confused at the “gross accusation” that’s “ruined” the entire night.

Co-host Rachel Maddow seemed confused at the idea of Smith’s outrage at Clinton’s failed leadership so Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson chimed in that it was “an extraordinary thing” and seemed confused at Smith linking Clinton to what happened to her son. 

“I mean, because the sort of basis for that seems to be what Hillary Clinton did or did not tell her after the fact but I didn't quite make the connection as to why she holds her personally responsible for the death,” he declared. 

Maddow added by accosting Smith for “playing with a very specific kind of fire that almost is impossible for me to watch, I have to say” in suggesting that someone should go to prison for her son’s death. 

Bringing history into the fold, Robinson chided Smith for not having the same decorum that figures of decades past like Bob Dole possessed: 

I mean, it strikes me that 10, 15 minutes ago we were talking about Bob Dole. We were a very different time in American politics when there were adversaries as opposed to enemies and, you know, to say that the nominee of the other party should be in stripes, should be in prison is the kind of statement we're not used to hearing from the state of a political convention. 

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Before the onslaught of other guests such as Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff (Calif.), NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, MSNBC’s Last Word host Lawrence O’Donnell, and NBC correspondent/MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell all blasting Smith, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews had the most egregious smear. 

Matthews first praised Dole’s appearance at the RNC and Marcus Luttrell’s moving remarks before whining that the RNC allowed Smith “to pile on to that this gross accusation that somehow, Hillary Clinton had anything to do with the death of Chris Stevens, the ambassador, she had nothing to do with it.” 

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“I don't understand why the Republicans would choose to put this on primetime television when they have such wonderful stories of American heroism to speak to the American people. I think it was wrong. I don't care what that woman up there, the mother has felt, her emotions are her own but for the country in choosing a leader, it's wrong to have someone get up there and tell a lie about Hillary Clinton. It's not true. It's logically not true,” he irresponsibly bloviated. 

Being the out-of-control pundit that he is, Matthews went as far as to rule that Smith’s speech soured the evening:

It's manifestly not true she had anything to do in that case, even if all of the arguments about what she said afterwards or Susan Rice said afterwards on Meet the Press are true and anybody who thinks about it for a second knows it's not true and I think it's wrong that they ruined their evening with this. 

Naturally, this onslaught of criticism for Smith stood in stark contrast to how the major broadcast networks treated the mother of an Iraq War casualty in Cindy Sheehan to the tune of over 100 stories on their morning and evening newscasts during the summer of 2005.

In contrast to this embarrassment, CNN’s Jake Tapper commented on her speech with far more reverence in noting that he’s interviewed her on multiple occasions and that she’s “not the only one” who’s lashed out at Clinton and even suggested that the State Department should have done more in the time since care for Smith.

“It is, just as a political observer, reporter, analyst. I never understood why there wasn't more outreach to Patricia Smith by the State Department and more when she started going public and talking about her concerns and talking about her anguish and grief. I don't really have the answer to that,” Tapper opined before pointing out that Smith has been right to assert that there was not enough security to help her son protect diplomats in Benghazi.

The relevant portions of the transcript from the 8:00 p.m. Eastern hour of MSNBC’s Republican National Convention coverage can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Place For Politics 2016
July 18, 2016
8:31 p.m. Eastern
        
RACHEL MADDOW: Pat Smith there said she holds Hillary Clinton personally responsible for killing her son, for the death of her son. 

EUGENE ROBINSON: Right which is an extraordinary thing. I mean, because the sort of basis for that seems to be what Hillary Clinton did or did not tell her after the fact but I didn't quite make the connection as to why she holds her personally responsible for the death. 

MADDOW: Not as a political analyst but as a citizen watching this, I feel so emotionally empathetic for her loss and I don't — it is hard for me to see somebody grieving that hard put in a position to make a political statement like that. Obviously, nobody is taking advantage of her. She's speaking on her own terms. She’s saying what she wants to be saying but the combination of the rawness of her emotional truth and the case that she's making about Hillary Clinton essentially calling Hillary Clinton a murderer and saying she should be put in prison for it, that is — that's playing with a very specific kind of fire that almost is impossible for me to watch, I have to say. 

(....)

ROBINSON: I mean, it strikes me that 10, 15 minutes ago we were talking about Bob Dole. We were a very different time in American politics when there were adversaries as opposed to enemies and, you know, to say that the nominee of the other party should be in stripes, should be in prison — 

MADDOW: From the stage of the convention.

ROBINSON: — is the kind of statement we're not used to hearing from the state of a political convention. 

(....)
    
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I have to say I’m overwhelmed because I thought that Marcus Luttrell's remarks were fabulous and it's from a real warrior. I saw the movie. It's an amazing story about a guy who survived and at one point really was generous of saving the lives potentially on the other side and ended up causing the danger that he faced and, of course, Bob Dole was shot and really maimed for life, if you really understand his injuries, trying to save the life of someone else on the battlefield. I mean, these are two, wonderful stories and then to pile on to that this gross accusation that somehow, Hillary Clinton had anything to do with the death of Chris Stevens, the ambassador, she had nothing to do with it. Even if all the arguments about the PR afterwards, as Gene pointed are true, worst case scenario, she didn't give a straight story afterwards. That had nothing to do with the death of our great ambassador over there. I don't understand why the Republicans would choose to put this on primetime television when they have such wonderful stories of American heroism to speak to the American people. I think it was wrong. I don't care what that woman up there, the mother has felt, her emotions are her own but for the country in choosing a leader, it's wrong to have someone get up there and tell a lie about Hillary Clinton. It's not true. It's logically not true. It's manifestly not true she had anything to do in that case, even if all of the arguments about what she said afterwards or Susan Rice said afterwards on Meet the Press are true and anybody who thinks about it for a second knows it's not true and I think it's wrong that they ruined their evening with this. 

MADDOW: It was an interesting decision on the part of the Republican Party to go there with this first night making it so focused, especially right at the front of primetime on Benghazi. Obviously, what's happened in terms of investigating Benghazi attack, investigating Hillary Clinton's potential culpability of the Benghazi attack, there's been almost nothing that's been more investigated in Washington, the Benghazi Committee investigation was longer than almost any other congressional inquiry into anything in the history of the United States, including the JFK assassination and 9/11 and a lot of people thought, a lot of people felt that the Republican Party in Congress were giving signals that they would release the results of that report in which they would somehow say that Hillary Clinton was responsible for it, that they would push that up to October, make it the surprise right before the November election. In fact, that committee has already presented their reports and they found that she was not culpable, that this — these attacks could not be blamed on her, nor could the character of the response and the question of whether or not the American response could have saved lives. That has been almost literally litigated. It has been investigated by both partisan and nonpartisan inquiries in Washington over and over and over again as a matter of real capability it is settled but they've put it at page one tonight.

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