This morning the Washington Post website announced that the paper had decided to endorse President Barack Obama for reelection. That endorsement should hit the print edition tomorrow. But make no mistake, endorsing the president is not the only cover the paper is granting the president. Witness the Post's treatment of the latest, damning development in the Benghazi fiasco.
Post editors buried a news story on the Benghazi State Department emails on page A9, assigning it a rather boring headline -- "E-mails show State named militant group on night of Libya attack" -- and a staff writer, Anne Gearan, who previously wrote a piece consumed with concern about Hillary Clinton's tarnished legacy post-Benghazi. By contrast, Post editors placed on the front page a 74-paragraph profile of Obama's counterterrorism advisor John Brennan, headlined "Brennan reshaped anti-terror strategy: CIA veteran emerges at core of effort to cement process for lethal action."
The Obama-loving media were out in force Sunday downplaying the significance of the White House's ever-changing position on the attacks on our consulate in Benghazi last month.
After New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper called the death of four Americans "peripheral to what's going on right now" on Meet the Press, Time magazine's Joe Klein told Face the Nation viewers this matter "has been like the October mirage - it really isn't an issue" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In an interview segment with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on his October 15 program, MSNBC's Martin Bashir alleged that conservatives are "shamelessly exploit[ing]" the deaths of Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans who were killed in the September 11 terrorist strike on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Bashir insisted that the family members of the slain are "all" tired of politicians trying to make hay out of the matter, citing the reaction of Amb. Chris Stevens's father as evidence that the families of the are all peeved at Republicans and generally trusting of the Obama administration.
Perhaps Bashir just disregards the sentiments of Ms. Pat Smith, whose son was killed in the 9/11 anniversary attack. Smith has been interviewed by Anderson Cooper, where she complained that she believes that the Obama administration has NOT been forthcoming with answers to her questions. Reported the Huffington Post (emphasis mine):
"Either they are misleading the American people or incredibly incompetent."
So said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday about the administration's reporting of what happened when four Americans were killed at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last month.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform convened for a hearing on Wednesday at 12 p.m. EDT to delve into the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Detailed accounts were heard, revelatory statements were made, but MSNBC's noon time program Now with Alex Wagner was too busy criticizing everything Mitt Romney has said over the last few years to even acknowledge what was transpiring, much less dip in to cover the hearing itself.
Four Americans are dead from a September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and it's becoming abundantly clear that security at the compound had been incredibly lax and that the Obama administration may have actively attempted to deceive the public about the terroristic nature of the strike in the first few days subsequent to it. A House committee is holding a hearing as I write this to get to the bottom of things.
So how did the Post cover the story in the Wednesday, October 10 paper? By worrying about the political impact on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Here's how staff writer Anne Gearan opened her page A1 story headlined "Deadly Benghazi attack could mar Clinton legacy":
On Tuesday, three weeks after the deadly terrorist strike on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, two House Republicans sent a letter to Obama Secretary of State Hillary Clinton detailing "incidents dating to April" that evidence "a pattern of threats" against the late Amb. Chris Stevens, many of them "new revelations" such as the fact that "Libyans working as private security guards at the U.S. compound were warned by family members in the weeks before the assault to quite their jobs because of rumors of an impending attack."
Yet Post editors placed the story on the matter, headlined "Probe in Libya moving slowly," on page A10 of the October 3 paper. In the same article, Birnbaum and Gearan quote from one Walid Faraj, "a member of the militia that local officials tasked with securing Americans in Beghazi" who "said he saw the attack nearly from start to finish." Faraj insists he has yet to be interviewed by either American or Libyan investigators. "Since that day, nobody has called, nobody cared," Faraj told the Post. "How is it the Americans didn't anticipate anything?"
Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler published a column yesterday attempting to debunk the claim in an American Crossroads television spot that President Obama skipped almost half of his intelligence briefings. Kessler assigned the assertion a 3 out of 4 possible Pinocchios. No matter how Kessler spins it, however, the fact remains that President Obama failed to receive in-person intelligence briefings in the days leading up to the September 11 assassination of Ambassador Chris Stevens.
On Monday, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today failed to air any full reports on the continuing inquiry into the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and mentioned the issue only in passing. CBS This Morning did devote a full segment to the dispute between the State Department and CNN over their use of a Ambassador Chris Stevens' personal journal, but didn't mention President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by name.
Matt Lauer vaguely referenced the "new wave of anti-Americanism" in the Islamic world during an interview of Tony Blair, but it took the former British prime minister to specifically point out the "tragic death of your ambassador" in Libya. During a report on the presidential race, ABC's Jake Tapper did briefly note how the President "described some of the events as bumps in the road. The Romney campaign saying that the death of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador in Libya, is far worse than a bump in the road."
In a hearing yesterday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, an Obama administration official admitted what all of us already knew through credible reports in foreign media: Amb. Chris Stevens died on September 11 "in the course of a terrorist attack." As Karen DeYoung reported in today's Washington Post, National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen told the committee that "the people involved in the violent assault" on the consulate in Benghazi hailed from "several militant groups, including localized extremists in eastern Libya as well as affiliates of al Qaeda."
An al Qaeda connection to a deadly attack that killed four Americans at a consulate on the anniversary of 9/11 should be front-page news, but it was buried on page A8 of the Post with the bland headline "Intelligence official cites 'terrorist attack' in Libya."*
Keep up the good work, Rachel, even when it's not at all what you intended.
In the wake of last week's deadly attack against the US consulate in Benghazi, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow helpfully provided Mitt Romney with plenty of damning information for use against President Obama in their upcoming debates. (Video clip after page break)
The New York Times spelled out its habit of trying to wrong-foot Mitt Romney on Thursday's front page coverage of the violence in Egypt and Libya. The banner headline over Thursday's front page, "Attack On U.S. Site In Libya Kills Envoy; A Flash Point For Obama And Romney," ushered in coverage of the attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya and Egypt, with the assault in Libya resulting in four deaths, including the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Times reporters Peter Baker and Ashley Parker made sure to follow the media template in characterizing Mitt Romney's criticism of the Obama administration as "clumsy and badly timed and Romney himself as "on the defensive" (twice!) in "A Challenger's Criticism Is Furiously Returned."