The best Kwame Holman can do: As everyone knows, PBS’ wonderful NewsHour is our smartest TV news program.
Last evening, this was the best Kwame Holman could do while reporting on Susan Rice. Please note the highlighted statement:
HOLMAN (11/14/12): Also on reporters’ agenda today, harsh criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice by Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain. They strongly criticized her for saying the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, had been a spontaneous outburst of Muslim anger, when officials already knew it was a terrorist attack. And they insisted they`d oppose having her replace Hillary Clinton, who’s expected to step down as secretary of state.That highlighted statement by Holman is journalistic malpractice. If that’s really the best he can do, it’s time for Holman to go.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (videotape): This is about the role she played around four dead Americans when it seems to be that the story coming out of the administration, and she's the point person, is so disconnected to reality, I don't trust her. And the reason I don't trust her is because I think she knew better. And if she didn't know better, she shouldn`t be the voice of America.
HOLMAN: In response, the president was vehement in his defense of Ambassador Rice.
OBAMA (videotape): Let me say specifically about Susan Rice, she has done exemplary work. She has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill, and professionalism, and toughness, and grace. As I have said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.
HOLMAN: Back on domestic issues, President Obama pledged quick action in a second term on comprehensive immigration reform...
Just what is Holman reporting there? Is he reporting that Rice really did “say the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi” was “a spontaneous outburst of Muslim anger, when officials already knew it was a terrorist attack?”
Or is he merely reporting that this is what some Republicans have charged? If he's going to repeat such a serious charge, shouldn't he make some attempt to evakluate its accuracy?
As a professional broadcaster, Holman knows how to draw such distinctions. But he didn’t draw those distinctions last night. Reason: Holman was carefully walking a line, trying to avoid angering those on the right.
How about it? Did Ambassador Rice really say that the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous outburst of Muslim anger? Did she really make that statement “even when officials already knew it was a terrorist attack?”
Holman kept things nice and fuzzy last night, the way these cowards constantly do. The NewsHour is our smartest news show—until people like Holman get scared.