Script never sleeps, Susan Rice division!


New York Times leaves her under the bus: On Wednesday, a Senate report about Benghazi largely comported with the account Susan Rice gave in real time.

We were able to figure that out from reading the New York Times front-page analysis of the report. Halfway through, on page A3, we found ourselves reading this:
MAZZETTI/SCHMITT/KIRKPATRICK (1/16/14): On the contentious issue of the role of Al Qaeda or other international terrorist organizations in the attack on the diplomatic mission, the Senate committee’s report found that individuals “affiliated with” many such groups had participated in the attack but that none of them appeared to have planned or led the assault.

The report found that among the many terrorist groups with which individual attackers had some affiliation were Ansar al-Shariah, Al Qaeda’s North African affiliate; Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate; and an Egyptian network led by Muhammad Jamal. But the report said, “Intelligence suggests that the attack was not a highly coordinated plot, but was opportunistic.”

“It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attacks or whether extremist group leaders directed their members to participate,” the report said. “Some intelligence suggests the attacks were likely put together in short order, following that day’s violent protests in Cairo against an inflammatory video.”

The American-made video, which denigrated Islam and was posted on YouTube, set off a number of protests across the Middle East. An investigation published by The New York Times last month found that anger over the video had played a significant role in precipitating the Benghazi attack.
The highlighted points all comport with what Rice said in real time. On Meet the Press, she specifically used the term “opportunistic” to describe the nature of the attack, as best we knew at the time.

On Face the nation, she had said we had no evidence that the attack had been preplanned for months to coincide with September 11. She had said the attackers might have been al Qaeda affiliates or “al Qaeda itself,” but we didn’t yet know.

Rice was turned into the world’s biggest liar for the things she said. Her statements were instantly misparaphrased and misquoted. The mainstream press corps tore her to shreds, taking their frameworks and formulations from the likes of straight-talking John McCain, whose misstatements concerning what Rice said were wanton, brutal and endless.


Except for one segment on Hardball, Rice’s name wasn’t mentioned on MSNBC for the next two months. Rachel and them ran off and hid as this punishment was inflicted.

As we’ve long told you, script never dies. Even yesterday, the New York Times was too afraid to discuss the way this report undermines the endless attacks against Rice.

Rice's name was mentioned once, right out on the front page. Incredibly, this is what the Times said:
MAZZETTI/SCHMITT/KIRKPATRICK (1/16/14): The report does not break significant new ground on the issue of administration statements about the episode, or on the infamous “talking points” drawn up after the attack for a television appearance by Susan E. Rice, now the national security adviser. But it is unsparing in its criticism of the State Department for failing to provide adequate security to the mission even as violence spiked in Benghazi in June 2012. In contrast, the report said, the C.I.A. quickly bolstered security at its annex about a mile away.
Really? The infamous talking points? Have we ever mentioned the fact that script never dies?

Let’s accept the fact that the Times is too frightened to challenge the attacks on Rice—to go back and review what she actually said, to debunk the bogus attacks. Even so, why would they stoop so low as to call the talking-points “infamous?”

You could call them “controversial.” You could say they were “hotly debated.” But in order to prove its allegiance to script, the New York Times put “infamous” right in the same sentence with Rice.

When the Times did its front-page report on Benghazi last month, it continued to misparaphrase what Rice said. Incredibly, it even flatly misquoted her at one point.

Yesterday morning, on its front page, “infamous” was the word the newspaper chose to associate with Rice. This is what happens when cowards like Maddow won’t stand on their hind legs and fight.

As we’ve told you, script never dies. Neither does the worthlessness of people with giant salaries.


  1. Excellent analysis of the NYTimes report.


  2. This is a totally justified criticism of Maddow. She and others on that channel chickened-out completely in defending Susan Rice. But we're always going to have people with high salaries, and those high salaries are going to compromise them. The challenge is to force them to change. Showing their failures (and identifying the reasons for them, including the high salaries, insider status and bosses' directives) has a chance of generating change. Calling them "worthless" and other unrestrained character attacks only makes the writer look unhinged, thereby making it easier for the culprits and their support groups to ignore the legitimate attacks and dismiss them as the work of a looney.

    1. It was because of the supposed "unrestrained character attacks" that "the culprits and their support groups" ignored Somerby's analysis?


    2. So Maddow should have defended Rice's statements when Obama, who was in a better position to know their accuracy, would not? Even when the election was safely behind him, Obama only praised Rice generally and called criticism of her "outrageous." In no way did Obama, then or now, say that Rice had been completely honest in her TV appearances. So why would Maddow make that kind of assertion?

      Obama spent the months after the Benghazi attack claiming that he called it an "act of terror" and/or "act of terrorism" the very day after the attack. This was a key point in a debate with Romney. Obama's claim to have had a nearly immediate view of the Benghazi attacks was hard to reconcile with Rice's qualified statements days later.

      Is it fair, reasonable or sane to say Maddow ran off and hid when the leaders of the Democratic Party had every opportunity to back up Susan Rice, but decided to , err, go in a different direction?

    3. Obama called his own grandmother a racist. And you expect him to defend a member of his administration?

    4. Well I don't expect Maddow to contradict him about his own grandmother...or Susan Rice...when Obama is in a much better position to know.

    5. Obama called his own grandmother a racist.

      Obama's grandmother's fears might have gone away if the children at the One True Channel had informed her of the progress made when you look at disaggregated NAEP scores.

  3. Our intellectual culture is broken. Our rotted-out values leave us just this side of insane.

    This breakdown is so widespread it can’t be seen by many observers.

  4. Ahh, but the strawberries that's... that's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with... geometric logic... that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox DID exist, and I'd have produced that key if they hadn't of pulled the Caine out of action. I, I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow officers...

    1. The widespread breakdown in our intellectual culture becomes more visible when you shine the Queeg lights on it.

  5. Excuse me Maddow does not need this constant criticism. She has stated her intentions: to be funny like Jon Stewart. If you don't like the presentation fine don't watch it. Focus on more important matters.

  6. So now it's Maddow's fault the NYT's used the word "infamous"? What more proof do we need that Bob has gone nuts?

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