Right-Wing Media Myths about Benghazi
Right-wing media are using a congressional hearing to push new myths about the Obama administration's response to the September 11, 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya. In fact, these myths are discredited by previous congressional reports and testimony, which show that the politicized nature of the hearings come from right-wing media and Congressional Republicans, that the military could not have rescued personnel from the second attack, that the administration was in constant communication at all levels during the attacks, and that the intelligence community believed there was a link to an anti-Islam video at the time of the attacks.
MYTH: Latest Benghazi Hearing Is Apolitical
Fox News' Brian Kilmeade Attacks The Claim That Benghazi Hearings Are "Politically Driven." On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that because self-identified whistleblowers are testifying at congressional hearings on Benghazi at a time that elections are not being held, the hearings can't be politically driven, saying "politics is out, and whistleblowers are in":
KILMEADE: [A]nyone who says this is politically driven, or it's against the president, that's out the window. Because if there's a non-political season in this world in American politics, it's now. The mid-terms aren't close --
STEVE DOOCY [co-host]: Sure.
KILMEADE: And the president is not running. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/7/13, via Media Matters]
FACT: Right-Wing Media And Congressional Republicans Have Politicized The Hearings
Fox News' John Bolton: "I Hope [Benghazi] Is A Cover Up ... If It Was Merely A Political Cover-Up Then There Can Be A Political Cost To Pay." On Your World, Fox News contributor John Bolton said he hoped the hearings found that despite all evidence to the contrary, the Obama administration had engaged in a "political cover up" by altering CIA talking points to suggest that the attacks came in response to an anti-Islam video:
BOLTON: I'd have to say for the good of the country, I hope it is a cover up rather than the alternative, which is the Obama administration was so blind to the reality of the threat of Islamic terrorism, the continued threat from Al Qaeda... If that's the problem there's no cure for it. If it was merely a political cover-up then there can be a political cost to pay. [Fox News,Your World with Neil Cavuto, 5/6/13, via Media Matters]
Lawyers Representing The "Whistleblowers" In Hearings Are Long-Time GOP Activists With History Of Pushing Discredited Claims. The lawyers claiming to represent some of the witnesses at the Benghazi hearing, Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, are long-time Republicans known for pushing false claims in the media and for having conflicts of interest in their professional work. They have both served as advisors to Republican candidates and donated thousands of dollars to GOP candidates and causes, and have been criticized for a conflict of interest for serving in a dual role in separate Justice Department investigations and for dropping "the air of impartiality, non-partisanship, and professionalism required" by their roles as leaders of a congressional investigation. [Media Matters, 4/30/13; 5/6/13]
Congressional Democrats Criticized House GOP Report For "Unnecessarily Politicizing Our National Security." A congressional report on Benghazi that was authored by five Republican committee chairmen was criticized by the ranking Democrats on those committees in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, in which they said the report is "unnecessarily politicizing our national security":
We are writing to strongly object to your decision to issue a partisan Republican staff report on Benghazi and dispense with House procedures for vetting official committee reports to correct inaccuracies and mischaracterizations. By abandoning regular order and excluding Democratic Members entirely from this process, you are unnecessarily politicizing our national security and casting aside the system used by the House for generations to avoid making obvious mistakes, errors, and omissions. [House Oversight Committee, 5/6/13, viaMedia Matters]