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Fox News and Right Wing Media Attack Journalists For Reporting the Truth About Benghazi

Journalism, regardless the system of delivery, was once a method of inquiry that played the role of a public service to disseminate and analyze news and information based on principles of truth, accuracy, and facts. America’s corporate-owned media has become an extension of the Republican Party tasked with propagandizing conservative talking points and perpetuating lies to keep the public misinformed and ignorant conservatives in a state of rage. It was little surprise then, that when the New York Times played the traditional journalistic role with an in-depth investigative report on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi that claimed four American lives it was attacked mercilessly by Republicans desperate to keep their phony Benghazi scandal alive.

The Times report revealed that an anti-Islam video created by American Christians played a major role in inciting anti-American rage that precipitated the attack, and disabused conservatives of their assertion that al-Qaeda planned and carried out the attack. Republicans could hardly admit their year-and-a-half fabrication was a blatant lie, so they attempted to shift attention away from the truth and characterize the Times story as something it was not; a pro-Hillary Clinton and revisionist opinion piece. Over the past few days conservative media tasked with propagating the phony Benghazi scandal took to print and the airwaves to assail the reporter responsible for the Times piece in a concerted effort to perpetuate Republicans’ lies that al-Qaeda planned and carried out the Benghazi attack.

On Thursday, Fox & Friends hosts assailed the Times and reporter David Kirkpatrick for reaching conclusions that contradicted Republicans’ version of the attack and implied that paper had blood on its hands for not summoning military reinforcements and concealing the identity and location of the attackers. Fox’s Steve Doocey said, “Clearly, what they’re saying is somebody that works for The New York Times knows the identity of the people who murdered our Americans. Have you seen that headline in The New York Times? No. You haven’t seen it. But all we know is, no Al Qaeda involved and that video had something to do with it. But, you know what, it has been widely pooh-poohed since they came out with it.” It has only been pooh-poohed by Republicans because it verifies Susan E. Rice’s initial report on the attack, and condemned by conservatives who were not on the ground and as they are well aware, slimy Darrell Issa knows the video played a major role in inciting protestors to violence.

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What conservative media is claiming to discredit the Times story is that it is a “clean-up job” to “whitewash” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in the attack, and that it is an admission of culpability by the reporter on the ground for failing to alert authorities and call in reinforcements. To put an end to the assertion the Times reporter had an obligation to summon reinforcements and help authorities apprehend the attackers, it is reasonable to check in with real journalists who explained to Fox’s pretend journalists what a field reporter’s job entails.

According to Josh Meyer, a former L.A. Times national security reporter in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, “When you’re in the middle of a riot or an attack like that, first of all, it is not a reporter’s job to call the authorities and he would have to assume the authorities know about it. It seems so bizarre.” The Executive Director of the Overseas Press Club, Sonya Fry, refuted Fox’s claim that a journalists job is to call in reinforcements and emergency personnel. She said a reporter’s job is “to be an eyewitness and report on what they see. It is not their job to call in the ambulances. Their job is to report. It is a sad state of affairs that people don’t understand what journalists do these days.” A veteran McClatchy reporter, Matt Schoefield, who covered conflicts in Iraq and Israel wondered who Fox News’ “journalists” expected the reporter to call for help. He said, “Call who? As a reporter on the scene, I don’t think you have a direct line to Obama. If you are covering Libya, you cannot call anyone to order an attack … I don’t see any sense of outrage in the fact that The New York Times had a reporter there and they did not order an attack. It’s not like the Times has its own air force.” Real journalists’ assessment of criticism of the reporter on the ground proves that Fox News’ hosts do not understand what real journalists do because they are not journalists; they are hacks paid to parrot Republican talking points and disseminate misinformation casting aspersion on President Obama and anyone associated with his administration; including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The conservative “journalists” have somehow, incredibly, made the NY Times report about Hillary Clinton and it defies reason why; except that she was Secretary of State while Barack Obama is President. In an editorial for the National Review, the headline read,  ”Times Has Done Its Best To Protect Clinton From Criticism,” and described the reporting as “strange but unsurprising” saying the Times “has done its best to insulate Hillary Clinton from criticism over the attack.” The Daily Caller wrote that “Conservatives See Clinton Connection In NY Times” and claimed the reporting was “revisionist” and accused “the New York Times of publishing its article denying that al-Qaida had a role in the lethal terrorist attack for ‘political reasons’ — specifically to give a helping hand to 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.” On her conservative show, Laura Ingraham claimed the Times story was a “whitewash for Hillary Clinton. What can it be other than an agenda?”

What it was is journalism borne of inquiry to disseminate and analyze information based on principles of truth, accuracy, and factual knowledge that is anathema to conservatives seeking to misinform the public and incite opposition to the African American man sitting in the Oval Office. As far as the Times report having anything whatsoever to do with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it is important to remember that she was not on the ground the night of the attack in Benghazi, was not involved in making the anti-Muslim video that incited protestors to violence, was not in communication with the NY Times reporter on the ground, and, by the way, was not even mentioned in the Times substantial and lengthy report.

Republicans and their propaganda machine at Fox News and extensive media network have spent the past year-and-a-half parroting a blatantly false narrative that the Obama Administration and everyone connected to it are involved in a scandalous cover-up to conceal al Qaeda’s planned attack on Benghazi. However, despite nearly eighteen months of hearings and investigations, Republicans have come up with nothing and it informs why they are in a frenzy to defame the Times reporter going so far as claiming he and the paper have “blood on their hands” for not calling in the cavalry to save the outpost from protestors so angry that American Christians produced a video “denigrating Islam and its prophet” that they killed four Americans.

Right-wing media, likely at the direction of high-level Republicans, were quick to discount The New York Times and reporter David Kirkpatrick not only because it thoroughly debunked Republican claims over the past year-and-a-half, but because it verifies what Susan E. Rice said shortly after the attack. Although there has been no shortage of conservatives and Republicans assailing the Times report, they have offered nothing whatsoever to contest the report’s findings. Instead, they blame the reporter on the ground for not calling in reinforcements, accused him of willfully concealing the identities and whereabouts of the attackers, “whitewashed” Hillary Clinton’s culpability in the attack, and deleted information proving al Qaeda carefully planned and carried out the deadly assault. And, in true Fox News and conservative media fashion, they did not offer one shred of proof to back up their assertions other than “what can it be other than an agenda,” “it’s a clean-up job to whitewash” Hillary Clinton’s responsibility for the attack, and that the Times “has blood on its hands.” It has been three days of no evidence and typical conservative propaganda that most Americans expect from people with no comprehension of what truth or journalism is except that when they see it they know they have to condemn it.

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