SATURDAY, MAY 18, 2013

And looking ahead to next week: Below, we’ll offer three major takeaways from this past week of bullroar concerning Benghazi.

At the risk of repetition, our first takeaway will be this:

Your press corps simply cannt reed reel gudd: Eight days ago, ABC News released twelve versions of the now-famous “talking points” concerning Benghazi. To read that report, just click here.

Among the discoveries: In its first proposed version of this white paper, the CIA had included this paragraph: “Initial press reporting linked the attack to Ansar al-Sharia. The group has since released a statement that its leadership did not order the attacks, but it did not deny that some of its members were involved.”

In fact, Ansar al-Sharia had made a formal statement saying that none of its members were involved in the attack. We have no idea if that claim was accurate.

Much more obviously, “initial press reporting” simply isn’t a valid source for something this important. That said, this blindingly obvious fact hasn’t been obvious to the press corps over the past eight days.

Among the screeching hyenas at Fox, the scrubbing of that reference to Ansar al-Sharia has been treated like one of the cornerstones of the alleged White House/State Department “cover-up.” As we've seen this screeching continue, we’ve seen no journalist note an obvious fact—it would have been completely crazy to leave that passage in!

You can’t make such an important claim based on something you read in newspapers. Crazily, the mainstream press has completely failed to note this.

We’ve told you this for a very long time—your major journalists don’t know how to read. The lunacy of that attribution leaps out from that first CIA proposal. But no one in the press corps saw it, even though this lunacy undermines one of the major complaints against Susan Rice and the administration.

In the most major ways, your “press corps” simply can’t function. This brings us to our second takeaway:

Jonathan Karl made a howling error in that key ABC report: When Jonathan Karl released The Twelve Versions, he made some howling errors concerning a couple of e-mails.

In all honesty, these errors weren’t hugely important. Reaction to The Twelve Versions would have been the same if Karl hadn’t made these errors.

But Karl did make gigantic errors—and when his errors came to light, his response was stunningly evasive. We haven’t discussed this topic yet. We will next week.

The big TV stars of the liberal press corps have egregiously failed you: As Susan Rice was thrown down the stairs last fall, the mainstream press corps egregiously failed to challenge the claims being made against her.

That said, so did the big TV stars of the emerging liberal world! Sadly, their egregious failures to cope continued this past week.

Yesterday, we noted the way Chris Hayes bought the Benghazi con last fall. Everybody makes mistakes at some point—but in that case, Brother Hayes got massively conned.

That said, the whole range of stars on MSNBC ran and hid from this gong-show scandal all through the fall of last year. To the extent that they tried to address the “scandal” last week, they once again massively failed.

On Monday, we will start with Rachel Maddow’s attempts to discuss what Karl did while trying to avoid naming his name. On balance, Maddow doesn’t have the juice. In our view, she has demonstrated this problem again in the past two nights.

When you tune to MSNBC, you may think you see an array of bright young liberal stars who are there to defend your interests and your positions. Why, one is even a professor! They constantly say that they’re nerds!

We will suggest that you look again. That channel has egregiously failed in the nine months since Rice’s crucifixion began. First, they all ran off and hid in the woods, refusing to speak on Rice’s behalf. When they finally tried to respond, they showed the world that they didn’t know how.

That channel continued to fail you this week. On balance, do these heavily-marketed liberal children actually have the juice?

Coming Monday: Maddow smacks [name withheld]


  1. So sayeth TDH:

    "... since Rice’s crucifixion began. First, they all ran off and hid in the woods, refusing to speak on Rice’s behalf."

    "Crucifixion?" "Reusing to speak on Rice's behalf?" It's the duty of MSNBC to come to Susan Rice's defense, in tribal fashion, whatever they may think of her?

    Attributing strong feelings about Ms. Rice to MSNBC is probably giving the network hosts too much credit -- if they wanted to condemn Rice for a murderous foreign policy and lying about it, they'd have to do the same for Obama, of which there's been no apparent inclination.

    But consider the tribal implications of Bob. According to TDH, "liberals" must now jump to the defense of the Democratic party and its functionaries. Or they're not real liberals!

    However, since the Democratic party (and the Obama administration) isn't actually liberal, what reason do liberals have defending it, beyond the usual "lesser evil" argument? You can hold your nose when you vote Democratic, but how argument for execrable pols and political appointees, like Rice, with one hand over your nose?

    However, put that stink aside. Let's consider Bob's ideal scenario. The "liberal" media rushes to Ms. Rice's defense and vindicates her, vanquishing all evils. Then Ms. Rice returns to TV and lies about far more important matters, as she's done for years. These are, however, bipartisan lies, so they're acceptable to everyone, including the TDH.

    And this is a triumph for liberals and truthful reporting?

    1. As far as I can tell "Bob's ideal scenario" and in fact, I'm guessing he wouldn't consider it ideal, but rather a baseline for even calling oneself a journalist, is that our highly paid media stars would actually have a marginal grasp of the facts, read (or if that's too much work have their staffs read) the actual documents in question, avoid cherry picking quotations and call out those who do.

      So Anon 10:31, are you saying that because Ambassador Rice doesn't meet your vaunted foreign policy standards all bets are off? Who cares if her words are twisted and distorted in the media? I don't think it's "tribal" to ask that people's words are not taken out of context and dangled as bait for rabid partisans. I would argue that it's a basic requirement for having the kind of public sphere that democracy requires--and this benefits us all, no matter our political leanings. Are you too twisted in knots to realize this?

    2. What I'm saying, cacambo, is that not everyone shares Bob's strange priorities. Among the villainies of the modern corporate press corps, the treatment of Susan Rice is hardly the worst or most consequential.

      That Bob routinely ignores the worst and most consequential, in favor of party spates like this one, and urges "liberals" to take up his obsessions or be damned as knaves in these pages, is what leads this reader to see his approach as tribal.

      Bob himself provides the definitive example -- years of Al Gore vindication, and not a single post that actually examined Gore's policies during the 1990s or his conduct since.

      Gore may be a martyr, but that doesn't make him any less a scoundrel. To a pedant, of course, it doesn't matter that the martyr is a scoundrel. All he's interested in is riding his hobby-horse, and seeking out any opportunity to do it.

      So sure, ride that horse. But don't expect the rest of world to saddle up.

    3. Well, I think Rice has gotten a bad rap, but the only way I'd characterize her as having been crucified is if the State Department had been as cautious about the claim that it was a protest of over the video, as they were over implicating Ansar al-Sharia with no real investigation.

      Like I said, they pretty well rode the hell out of the video bus.

    4. You are completely confused. This has nothing to do with tribal defenses, but it is about recognizing how fixed the press is today. The right-wing sets the agenda: Fox and Drudge pick up on some idea for attacking whatever liberal that emerges from Republican Oppo Reasearch, and if they can give it legs the corporate mainstream media take that as the Scandal of the Week. The tribals here are the Republicans. If you don't see that you are clueless. If you continue claiming Rice did something wrong -- and shifting your argument every time one claim is torn apart -- then you are dishonest.

  2. If memory serves, the liberals from MSNBC did worse than "run off and hide" last fall. They did not just fail to defend Susan Rice, they actually piled on her - accepting and advancing some of the major talking points against her.

    1. So if one guy shoots another guy, you going to blame the reporters for not stopping the guy with the gun?

      In plain and simple language:


      Good Lordy, why is that so hard for Somerby and his tribe to understand, and why don't they go after the real source?

      Because he is playing you for fools, folks. If Fox News were to pay somebody to discredit MSNBC, they couldn't find anybody doing a better job than Somerby.

    2. Because you can't counter Fox or the GOP if your team isn't up to the task. If MSNBC isn't up to a real challenge of all the BS narratives, then they aren't representing our liberal interests very well. We, as liberals, lose.

      This is the same point TDH makes all the time. Fox is fox. We can simultaneously worry about them as a GOP propaganda outlet and worry about how MSNBC does a terrible job representing liberal interests. It's not either/or. Both are real problems. But you seem to feel that we shouldn't worry about the weak links on our team. That seems like a bad strategy to me.

  3. This is getting inanely melodramatic from all corners.


    1. CeceliaMc, if you want to see melodrama, check out Fox News and the right wing websites, and statements by numerous Republican pols. This manufactured, phony "scandal" is characterized as a shocking impeachable offense over and over ad infinitum ad nauseum.


    2. Evidently, I should have put "all corners" in caps.

  4. Its funny listening to the media howl and scream about their 'first amendment' rights being violated over the AP affair, considering the absolute miserable job they have done of actually reporting the facts and protecting the public interests. What we get now is a steady diet of story telling a hyperbole. I would not agree that all of MSNBC's stars get it wrong, reverend AL, Martin Brashir often get it right including this fake Benghazi scandal.

  5. AP whines from their armchairs that the DOJ has jeopardized their "methods and sources".

    What about the "methods and sources" THEY have jeopardized with their leaks?

    These sources and methods are human beings in harm's way.

    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "
    George Orwell

    "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers." - Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

  6. To the critics- name someone who's done a better job reporting on this fake "scandal", who's gotten it more correct than TDH?

    And if all you've got is "it doesn't matter", then don't bother.

  7. The media seem hell-bent on manipulating us toward conclusions for which they do not know the consequence. It is arrogant and delusional to believe one knows enough about every event to publicly pontificate on the consensus perspective.Many modern journalists believe that they write for their editors rather than their audience and apparently do not mind being lazy or dishonest. It's based on the idea that since so few people will notice, they do not matter..

  8. Thank you very much. I agreee with your article, this really helped me. I appreciate your help. Thanks a lot. Good website.
    texas hunting