In an exclusive interview with White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday's Today, co-host Matt Lauer actually questioned the administration's handling of terrorism: "Think of the things we're talking about here with the Khorasan group, with ISIS and the territory they've taken in Iraq, with the threat to airline travel internationally, with beheadings that we're seeing on camera. What happened to the days when the administration was able to say it felt confident that we had dealt a crippling blow to Al Qaeda and Islamic militants?" [Listen to the audio]
Unfortunately, Lauer failed to use the opportunity to grill Rice on the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack in Libya, which she infamously spread false information about and which occurred precisely at the time when President Obama was asserting that Al Qaeda had been "decimated" on his watch.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewed President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice during Thursday’s edition of The Situation Room and neglected to bring up the second anniversary of the tragic attack in Benghazi, Libya that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty dead. Instead, the nearly eight-and-a-half-minute interview discussed President Obama’s speech to the nation from Wednesday night on ISIS and reaction to Diane Foley speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about how she believed that the United States did not do enough to save her son Jim before he was brutally murdered by ISIS.
On Thursday, NBC News sources confirmed that Chuck Todd will bump David Gregory from the Meet the Press host chair. And while Todd isn’t as liberal as his predecessor, he has played defense for the Barack Obama administration on a number of fronts.
Most recently he dismissed the IRS-Tea Party scandal by asking “are there any actual real victims?” and diminished Benghazi hearings as “partisan.” The NBC News chief White House correspondent also claimed Benghazi figure Susan Rice was simply a “victim” of conservative media but in the past compared Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin to a “car-wreck.” (videos after the jump)
On Tuesday's Today, Savannah Guthrie had an exclusive interview with Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, but rather than grill the controversial administration official on a variety of international crises, the NBC host merely tossed softballs. Meanwhile, about thirty minutes later, Guthrie interrogated former Ohio State University marching band director Jonathan Waters on being fired over the group's hazing practices.
Guthrie began her exchange with Rice by not even asking a question, just making a statement that "U.S. officials seem very, very confident" that the West African ebola outbreak could be contained. In her first real question to Rice, Guthrie simply wondered if the Israel-Hamas cease-fire in Gaza "will hold?" Finally, Guthrie worried that the ebola outbreak would overshadow a White House PR event with African leaders. That was the extent of interview.
On Friday's New Day on CNN, correspondent Jim Acosta showed a portion of a pre-recorded interview with Obama administration National Security Advisor Susan Rice in which Acosta pressed her to correct her assertion that former hostage Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had served "with honor and distinction," in spite of reports that he deserted.
But the Obama advisor declined to find fault with her previous word choice as she dodged by arguing that Bergdahl should be considered "innocent until proven guilty."
Speaking to Rice, the CNN correspondent posed:
This afternoon outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took questions from the press corps in his first daily press briefing since announcing his resignation. The questions dealt primarily with the controversy surrounding the release of five high-level Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the sole American POW from the war in Afghanistan, and one who reportedly was judged by the Pentagon.
ABC’s Jim Avila got into a tense exchange with Jay Carney when he asked about the words Obama national security advisor Susan Rice used to describe Sergeant Bergdal’s service in the military. Avila asked Carney how exactly Bergdahl served, as Rice put it, “with honor and distinction.” He gave Carney the opportunity to say the national security advisor misspoke, but he did not.
Susan Rice, former U.N. Ambassador and current National Security Advisor for President Obama, sat down with CNN’s Candy Crowley and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, June 1 to discuss a variety of foreign policy topics, yet Stephanopoulos refused to ask his guest about the latest surrounding the Benghazi investigation.
Rice appeared on both This Week and State of the Union to talk about the decision by the United States to release 5 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the Taliban releasing an American soldier held captive and only CNN's Candy Crowley brought up Benghazi to Ambassador Rice.
On Thursday, Charlie Rose spent the entire commercial-free hour of his PBS show interviewing Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, yet never asked her a single question about the 2012 Benghazi attacks or her role in disseminating faulty talking points afterward. In fact, the B-word never escaped Rose’s nor Rice’s lips during the entire show.
There were, however, a few moments when a question about Benghazi would have seemed appropriate. Early in the interview, Rose asked where in the world America’s core interests were under attack at the moment. Rice pointed to the ongoing terrorist threat:
There was a real dust-up on today's Morning Joe over Benghazi and the House select committee empanelled to investigate it. In the move-on-nothing-to-see corner were Chuck Todd and Donny Deutsch. Opposing them was Nicolle Wallace, who made an impassioned case that the Obama admin's cover-up of the talking points that the White House furnished to Susan Rice, falsely blaming the attack on an internet video, merits anger and investigation.
As MRC's Jeffrey Meyer has noted, Todd has been on a tear trying to downplay Benghazi and disparage the select committee. But in his determination to defend all things Obama, Todd today ran badly afoul of the facts. He claimed that the false talking points weren't worth caring about since the Obama admin stopped citing the internet video within "two days." Could Todd truly have forgotten that two weeks later, in a formal address at the United Nations, President Obama was still talking about that infernal video? View the video after the jump.
CNN and MSNBC failed to provide any live coverage of a Thursday morning House Oversight Committee hearing on the terrorist attack on Benghazi. Fox News provided 74 minutes and 25 seconds worth of live coverage of the hearing and had multiple interview and analysis segments talking about the revelations in the hearing. MSNBC provided a small amount of coverage but did not air the hearing live whereas CNN viewers were not made aware of the hearing until 1:15 p.m. Eastern.
During the hearing, Brig. Gen. Robert Lowell, who ran intelligence at the U.S. African command the night of the attack, argued that they knew immediately the attack was not in response to an anti-Islamic video. [See video of Fox News’ coverage of the hearing below.]
A recent Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative Judicial Watch organization has revealed some damning information about the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Emails from the White House, specifically Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, to then Ambassador Susan Rice showed that the White House was directing Susan Rice to stick to talking points that the terrorist attack in Benghazi was caused by a video and not a reflection of President Obama's overall foreign policy.
Despite these potentially disastrous emails for the White House, NBC’s Chuck Todd did his best to defend the Obama Administration during a Thursday, May 1 appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Todd spun that “They were overly defensive in the moment. At the time they believed the video was having an impact. This is where the level of belief is, I think and this is such- you’re not going to really be able to rationally have a debate about this.” [See video below.]
NewsBusters commenter "bkeyser" at my Benghazi-related post last night pointed to a tweet from Politico Magazine Deputy Editor Blake Hounshell that is at the same time breathtakingly ignorant and astonishingly insolent.
Reacting to the contents of Benghazi-related emails finally obtained and published by Judicial Watch, Hounshell asked, "Can you point me to a credible, authoritative story saying the WH knowingly pushed a false narrative?" Well Blake, on the off-chance that you're really interested in the truth instead of serving as one of your organization's lead Obama administration lapdogs, I give you the Tuesday night writeup from an investigative journalist who, per her "about" page, has won four national Emmy Awards and has been nominated for eight others.