But first, such bullsh*t as this: At first, the analysts cheered.
It's too late to make any difference, of course. But according to today's New York Times, a federal trial which is starting today may define what actually happened in September 2012 in the Benghazi attack.
Charlie Savage and Adam Goldman handled this morning's news report. At first, they had us cheering.
Upbeat headline included:
SAVAGE AND GOLDMAN (10/2/17): At Trial, a Focus on the Facts, Not the Politics, of Benghazi"A focus on the facts!" It's much too late to make a difference, but yay yay yay yay yay! This trial may help establish the actual facts concerning what really happened!
Almost from the moment that Islamist militants overran the American consulate and assaulted a C.I.A. annex in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012, politics consumed the deadly attacks. Using the event as partisan ammunition, Republicans and conservative media outlets sought to make the city’s name synonymous with Democratic scandal.
But beginning on Monday in a federal courthouse in Washington, prosecutors will put forward an account that focuses not on politics, but squarely on the attacks themselves and a man they say bears direct responsibility: Ahmed Abu Khattala.
“The Benghazi case has been burdened with a lot of politics; now it is the turn of law enforcement, national security professionals and prosecutors to show the world what really happened,” said Carlos T. Fernandez, a former senior F.B.I. counterterrorism official whose agents investigated the attacks.
Unfortunately, our nation's mainstream newspapers tend to run, not on facts, but instead on script. In the passage shown below, Savage and Goldman return to the highly deceptive script which was established just a few days after the Benghazi attack. This script was used to massacre Susan Rice, then to take down Candidate Clinton:
SAVAGE AND GOLDMAN: The attacks crystallized Libya’s descent into chaos after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising, which, with help from NATO air power, had toppled the country’s longtime dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.On the one hand, it's true! That script about the Benghazi attacks actually did "come to serve as shorthand for failures by Hillary Clinton." But did the administration really "portray the attacks" in the way the Times reports?
Conservatives focused on such issues as why early Obama administration talking points inaccurately portrayed the attacks as a spontaneous protest rather than a premeditated assault. In time, the Benghazi attacks came to serve as shorthand for failures by Hillary Clinton, then the nation’s top diplomat, and President Barack Obama. Congress conducted multiple oversight investigations into Benghazi, including an inquiry by a House select committee that questioned Mrs. Clinton for 11 hours of public testimony about such topics as her use of a private email server while secretary of state.
We're sorry, but no, it didn't. Even as the New York Times asserts that the facts may emerge from the trial, Savage and Goldman just keep reciting the inaccurate GOP script.
Did the Obama administration "inaccurately portray the attacks as a spontaneous protest rather than a premeditated assault?" Did they portray the attacks that way at all?
As we've noted a million times, the answer in each case is no. That narrative quickly emerged from two highly influential Washington insiders—from Bob Schieffer of CBS News and Senator John McCain.
That portrait of the attack was attributed to Susan Rice. But it simply isn't what Rice said when she appeared on Face the Nation on Sunday, September 16, five days post-attack.
What did Susan Rice actually say on Face the Nation that day? Below, you see the relevant chunk of the actual transcript.
Schieffer had just finished speaking to Mohamed Magariaf, the president of Libya's National Congress. For perhaps the ten millionth time, let's see how well we can read and interpret a transcript:
SCHIEFFER (9/16/12): And joining us now, Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador—our U.N. ambassador.There you see what was actually said. Let's go over the scripted points found in today's New York Times.
Madam Ambassador, [Magariaf] says that this is something that has been in the planning stages for months. I understand you had been saying that you think it was spontaneous? Are we not on the same page here?
RICE: Well, Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be the assessment at present. First of all, very importantly, as you discussed with the president, there is an investigation that the United States government will launch, led by the FBI that has begun.
SCHIEFFER: But they are not there yet.
RICE: They are not on the ground yet but they have already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of various sorts already available to them and to us. And they will get on the ground and continue the investigation.
So we'll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is, as of the present, is in fact what—
It began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video.
But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.
SCHIEFFER: But you do not agree with [Magariaf] that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?
RICE: We do not—we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.
SCHIEFFER: Do you agree or disagree with him that al Qaeda had some part in this?
RICE: Well, we'll have to find out that out. I mean, I think it`s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists, or al Qaeda itself, I think is one of the things we'll have to determine.
Did early Obama administration talking points "portray the attacks as a spontaneous protest rather than a premeditated assault?"
You'll note that Rice didn't say whether the attack had been a "premeditated assault." She said the administration didn't yet know—that they would "want to see the results of [the ongoing] investigation to draw any definitive conclusions."
Did she say that the attack had been "a spontaneous protest?"
Actually, no. She said the events at the consulate had started as a spontaneous protest, but that "extremist elements" then came to the scene armed with "heavy weapons," thereby creating the deadly violence.
She didn't say that a gang of spontaneous protesters had suddenly taken the consulate down, the invented claim for which she was instantly ridiculing by Schieffer and McCain, then by everyone else. She said that had been done by "extremist elements"—by extremist elements who may have been "al Qaeda itself."
Please note one additional point:
In this morning's New York Times, Savage and Goldman seem to say that the administration said the assault wasn't "premeditated." As noted, Rice actually deferred judgment on that point, pending further information.
But please note this additional point:
Schieffer asked her if the assault had been "planned for months." That's what she was talking about when she said "we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned." She was saying that, as best they could tell at that time, this wasn't the fruit of a months-long plan, as Magariaf had charged (without offering any evidence).
As soon was Schieffer finished with Rice, he bought on McCain, the sainted truth-teller. Together, the two men quickly created a parody of what Rice had actually said.
That parody version of Rice's remarks has defined the conversation from that morning to this very day. Even today, two reporters from the Times are reciting that five-year-old script, in which the administration offered ridiculous initial claims.
Citizens, can we talk?
Our "meritocratic" journalistic "elites" are very unimpressive. They don't reezun or thinnk reel gudd. Despite their diplomas and their high self-regard, they tend to display very weak skills in the general realm of intelligence.
There is one skill they possess in spades—the skill that's involved in memorizing and reciting a script. Also, the skill that's involved in running away from a dangerous fight, as Rachel Maddow and everyone else did in the wake of the gong-show McCain and Schieffer created.
All that fall, the press corps threw Susan Rice under the bus; Maddow and them refused to fight, just as they did four years later in the matter of Comey the God. Eventually, the mocking script concocted by Schieffer and McCain was used to massacre Candidate Clinton.
Your "meritocratic" journalists are good at one thing—they're good at reciting script. Your millionaire, corporate cable liberals are good at running away.
The federal trial which starts today may define the actual facts very clearly. But even if it does, nothing—and we do mean nothing—will ever undermine that script. As we recently reminded you:
Back in March 2000, the Maria Hsia trial clearly established that Candidate Gore played no role in the fund-raising at "the Buddhist temple." But so freaking what?
Loudly and crazily, Chris Matthews kept shouting the opposite. As Matthews pimped his disinformation, earlier versions of Rachel Maddow turned tail and ran far away.
Donald J. Trump is president now. These are the people who gave us this gift.
Our journalists lack the most basic skills and the most basic toughness. But so does our sad rank and file.