With the 2014 midterm elections fast approaching and Republicans hoping to take over the Senate this November, Fox News has decided to once again focus its attentions on the right-wing’s favorite conspiracy — Benghazi. The network has now spent the better part of two years pushing rumors, innuendo and just flat-out lies about the attacks on the Benghazi compound, all in an effort to attack the credibility and character of both President Obama and former Secretary of State, and presumptive 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. While Fox took a bit of a break this summer from the Benghazi hysteria, it decided to reopen the valves this week and once again push discredited narratives in a blatant attempt to energize its audience ahead of the midterms.
On Friday morning, FoxNews.com had Benghazi as their top headline, linking to an article recapping an interview of three CIA officers that apparently proves that they were given a ‘stand down’ order on the night of the attacks. The website also hypes up a Benghazi special, hosted by anchor Bret Baier, which will air Friday evening. When checking other major news sites on Friday morning, there is absolutely no mention of Benghazi or huge ‘bombshells’ surrounding breaking developments in the story. Instead, msnbc.com focused on Bob McDonnell’s guilty verdict and the latest jobs report, while CNN.com highlighted stories on ISIS and had a breaking news banner regarding a ceasefire signed in Ukraine.
Of course, CNN and MSNBC don’t act as de facto communication wings of a major political party like Fox News does for the GOP. Therefore, whatever Roger Ailes thinks is going to help Republicans is what the network is going to focus on. Even though Congress has already held over 13 hearings, 50 briefings and spent millions of dollars on investigating Benghazi, Republicans insist that there are still unanswered questions and have continued on their Quixotic quest to somehow blame what happened that night on Obama and Hillary. That is why House Republicans formed YET ANOTHER subcommittee earlier this year, headed up by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), to further investigate the attacks and the White House’s response.
Based on the interview of the CIA officers that was aired on Thursday by Fox, it seems like the GOP is going to continue to push the myth that a ‘stand down’ order was given to security in the area because the White House didn’t care what happened to Ambassador Chris Stevens and others at the consulate. On its face, that is a heinous and utterly ridiculous charge to claim that orders were given to specifically let Stevens die. However, that seems to be what Fox is selling now. The main problem is that those charges were immediately debunked before the network even had a chance to air its huge Benghazi special Friday night.
Media Matters highlighted all of the holes in Fox’s theory on Friday morning. First off, one of the CIA officers that Baier interviewed specifically said that he believed any orders from above to wait were based on an effort to coordinate with a local militia so as to have additional personnel before heading into a dangerous situation where they’d be vastly outnumbered. The New York Times on Thursday also pointed out that everything that the security personnel nearby have reported corresponds with what has been publicly stated through the multiple hearings and briefings. Finally, after Baier aired his interview, he hosted a panel discussion. One of the panelists, the Washington Post’s Charles Lane, agreed that there was nothing controversial about orders given to CIA officers and security personnel to wait before charging in.
LANE: The person I want to hear from is Bob, the CIA guy who told them to wait. Because when we hear from Bob we’ll hear why he told them to wait. What we heard from your interview was they assumed he was waiting for more support from the local militia. Which, by the way, might not be a bad reason to wait. In other words, you want to go – you don’t want to rush in with just three guys into what was obviously a very, very dangerous situation. You’d want to wait to see if you could round up some more support. In other words, there’s a difference between waiting and waiting for no good reason and, even worse, waiting because you were told ‘we don’t care what happens to the Ambassador.’ I want to hear from Bob, I want to hear the CIA make him available and tell us exactly what was going on. What I’m not hearing in this is that anybody in Washington said, ‘we don’t care what happens to the Ambassador, write it off, stay away.’
In the end, thought, it doesn’t matter if everything that Fox is pushing regarding Benghazi has been discredited over and over again. The primary objective here is to keep it in the conservative consciousness heading into the election season. While this horse has been beaten dead to the point that there is only dust left, conservative media will continue to shove it down the throats of their audience in order to keep them angry and energized. After the midterms are over, they may allow the story to fade a bit, but make no mistake, this thing is here until 2016. This is the right-wing’s plan against Hillary Clinton, and they will ride it out until the very end.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).