Tuesday, October 13, 2015

American media abandons objectivity in order to target Republicans

California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy on the Sean Hannity show on Fox News: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable (sic). But no one would have known that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.”

Her defenders jumped at the opportunity to interpret that statement to mean that the Republicans held the hearings expressly for the purpose of bringing Mrs. Clinton down, an allegation that became instantly popular with the left-leaning media. Mr. McCarthy’s artless statement certainly may be read to support such an assertion, but that statement can also be interpreted in other ways. However, let’s not forget that the Select Committee was formed in May of 2014, well before Ms. Clinton appeared as an  “unbeatable” candidate.

If you read for meaning, rather than opportunity, you will notice that he also said that the hearings have shown her to be “untrustable,” a result not of Republican desires, but of Mrs. Clinton’s willful behavior that the hearings have brought to light. Her falling numbers resulted from examining her flawed performance.

Objective observers understand the Benghazi probe’s purpose is nothing other than trying to get to the bottom of a deadly foreign policy and security blunder by the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

To review, on September 11, 2012 Ambassador Chris Stevens was in Benghazi, Libya, not at the embassy in Tripoli. An armed attack on the American Consulate there occurred and ultimately resulted in the death of Ambassador Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyron Woods and Glen Doherty.

The initial explanation from the Obama administration was that the attack was the result of a demonstration spawned by an Internet video, a position the administration maintained for days after the attack.

CBS News initially reported that a Libyan Interior Ministry official in Benghazi said that an angry mob had gathered outside the consulate to protest a video made in the U.S. that was offensive to Muslims, and stormed the consulate after the U.S. troops who responded to the mob’s appearance fired rounds into the air to try and disperse the crowd. CBS later reported that U.S. officials said the attack was not an out-of-control demonstration, but a well-executed assault.

The New York Times reported: "American and European officials said that while many details about the attack remained unclear, the assailants seemed organized, well trained and heavily armed, and they appeared to have at least some level of advance planning." 

Suspicions arose because while a video could have spurred a demonstration, the attack that followed was clearly mounted by a military-type organized group, not a group of upset demonstrators. 

To decide if this investigation is legitimate, all one must do is ask and honestly answer some questions about the Benghazi attack. 

Does Congress have constitutional oversight responsibility to look into executive branch actions such as why Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi at a time of increasing tensions and when an organized attack by a military-like force occurred?

Should the American people know why repeated requests from Ambassador Stevens for increased security in Benghazi prior to the assault were rejected, to know who rejected those requests, and why? 

And, who made the decision to not dispatch military units to try to help the beleaguered consulate on the basis of there not being time for them to get there when no one knew how long the assault would last? 

This legitimate and appropriate investigation produced a lot of evidence about Mrs. Clinton’s performance, and her disregard of the rules about email – including using her own email system for government emails – that every Secretary of State and other Cabinet secretaries have followed since Al Gore invented the Internet that put classified information at risk. These issues have raised numerous legitimate doubts about her fitness to be president.

Yet the media seems unconcerned with these contemptuous breaches of rules and protocol, and the failure to protect classified, perhaps top secret, information. 

Meanwhile, Rep. McCarthy, the Majority Leader who was expected to succeed Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, following his announced resignation, unexpectedly declined the position. The media went wild, trumpeting the chaos in the GOP, and somewhere along the way someone suggested that Rep. McCarthy and a female representative were having an affair.

Both he and she denied it, and no evidence – let alone proof – has been produced. Nevertheless, the subject remains a part of the story about Rep. McCarthy stepping aside.

On Fox News’ “Media Buzz” last Sunday, a panel of journalists all said it is proper for this to be part of the ongoing story, despite there being no evidence that it is true. Since viewers/readers can find references to this alleged affair on the Internet, the reasoning goes, the media are therefore obligated to cite it.

By that reasoning, any allegation made by anyone about any public figure should become part of every story about or involving that person. This is the confused state of journalism today.

Message to the media: You factually report; we’ll decide.


Anonymous said...

I'm thinking Congressional Oversight is right in the sweet spot of what they are supposed to be doing. Perhaps the Sec of State was not doing what she was supposed to be doing, such as managing the State Department's overseas assets in Libya.

James Shott said...

That appears to be the case.