Dear Commons Community,
Eric Boehlert of The Huffington Post reviews the obsession of Fox News in trying to unveil a White House conspiracy to cover up the events that led to the Benghazi attack. Boelhlert lays it on the line:
“Benghazi, of course, has been politicized in the most disturbing way possible, to the point where Fox News and conservatives have turned an American tragedy into something of a macabre Twitter punchline. It’s become sort of a Groundhog Day of exploitation and fakery, with more than 1,000 on-air Fox segments — during evening coverage alone — devoted to the endless pursuit. And now the Republicans’ select committee, virtually sponsored by Fox News, is set to add more chapters to the sprawling production, which conveniently doubles as a GOP fundraising tool.
According to press reports, the committee’s first hearing will focus on the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, which looked into the details surrounding the Benghazi attacks. In other words, Republican investigators have decided to investigate the Benghazi investigators. Again.
And at this point, does anyone even remember in 2012 when the family of slain U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens beseeched opportunists not to politicize his death? (“It would really be abhorrent to make this into a campaign issue.”) Or when the mother of one of the other murdered Americans in Benghazi scolded Mitt Romney when he kept referencing her son on the presidential campaign trail? (“It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”)
Those wishes were almost instantly trampled and are now long forgotten by most; distant echoes drowned out by the churning gears of phony outrage.
Increasingly, and somewhat belatedly, some mainstream press players have figured this out. Many reporters and pundits who were open and eager to follow every conceivable right-wing allegation about Benghazi (while playing down good news for the White House) have cooled to the chase in recent months and coverage was been slim. There’s also been surprisingly little chatter in anticipation of the select committee’s proceedings. After two years of dry holes, it’s difficult to feign interest any more. And poor CBS. It took a newsroom scandal of historic proportions to drive home the painful lesson of chasing bogus, partisan Benghazi allegations.
But at Fox News, the ratings-grabbing obsession remains strong. And now, thanks to Media Matters’ meticulous research, we know just how far and how all-consuming that obsession has stretched. It’s hard to even wrap your heads around some of these numbers from Fox’s coverage in the 20 months following the attack:
-1,098 total Fox News evening segments that included significant discussion of Benghazi — an average of about 13 segments per week.
-144 interviews with GOP members of Congress versus only five interviews with Democratic members of Congress and Obama administration officials.
Note the relentless and out of control focus showered on the story by Special Report, which Fox executives often point to as its premiere and serious news program, not just a partisan talk show. Serious news program? It aired nearly 400 Benghazi reports in less than two years.
Please also pay attention to the fact that despite its flood-the-zone coverage, Fox has been unable to move the Benghazi cover-up story one foot in two years. Almost nothing Fox has reported over the last 24 months has added in any significant way to the understanding of what happened in Benghazi the night of the attack. And considering Fox has set aside more than one thousand segments to the topic, that fact simply confirms the team’s collective impotence.”
Benghazi was a tragedy. The fact is that there was an attack and four Americans were killed. We should be honoring their service to our country and not using them for crass political purposes but then again crassness is Fox News’ forte.