On CNN, a remarkable statement: Last evening, CNN’s Anderson Cooper program opened with a 20-minute segment on Benghazi.
There were no commercial breaks. Tape of the segment should go straight to the Smithsonian, where it could be used in the future to educate American children:
School kids could study a textbook case of cherry-picked quotations. They could study the ways our news orgs disappear basic facts in service to preplanned attacks.
We’ll get to those points a bit later today. For now, let’s examine a remarkable statement by Paul Begala near the end of this long, gruesome segment.
After fifteen minutes of disinformation, guest host John King called in his political panel. Bush flack Ari Fleischer was balanced by Begala—or at least, so it appeared.
In this format, CNN viewers get the idea that they’re hearing “both sides of the story.” But as soon as Begala opened his trap, he made an astonishing statement:
KING (10/19/12): So Paul, the attack on the Benghazi consulate was a big flash point in the last debate. I know you think it's time for these guys to move on, Afghanistan, for example. But given the expanded congressional investigations, a lot of questions about the administration's handling, how much Benghazi do you think will be in the next debate?So wonderfully fair-and-balanced! But that highlighted statement is simply astounding. In the future, we hope school children will get to study it too.
BEGALA: I do think, John, it's a certainty. It is, I will say, an important issue to investigate. The administration's investigating, Congress is investigating. That's good. That's professionals doing their job. They happen to be professional politicians, too, but that is the job of the Congress of the United States and also the Pickering investigation that the administration has sponsored.
The hard thing for both of these guys is I think they made important mistakes on this issue. The administration clearly did not have all the facts when they started saying that they had all the facts, and so the initial stories they say were overtaken by events. That's a problem.
Begala didn’t mention Susan Rice by name, but she had been thoroughly fragged by this point (see upcoming posts). One of King’s unimpressive guests had even suggested the possibility that “she should lose her job.”
To state the obvious, Rice has been the central target in this month-long right-wing attack. She was also the central target in last night’s remarkable segment.
Did Ambassador Rice “say that they had all the facts” when she appeared on the Sunday programs on September 16? Obviously, no, she did not; the opposite is true. Begala’s instant statement thus becomes quite astounding.
Via the miracle of edited tape, King had already cherry-picked one of Rice’s statements that day, giving a grossly misleading impression of what she actually said. But did she “say they had all the facts” about the attack on the consulate?
Please. Here she is on Face the Nation:
RICE (9/16/12): Well, Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be the assessment at present.Does it sound like Rice was saying “they had all the facts?” Here she was on Meet the Press that same morning:
First of all, very importantly...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...
RICE (9/16/12): Let me tell you, you the best information we have at present. First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing. And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. But putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was...Does it sound like Ambassador Rice was claiming to have all the facts?
But then, who did say they had all the facts? Begala forgot to tell us. But here is President Obama himself in a public forum four days later:
QUESTION (9/20/12): We have reports that the White House said today that the attacks in Libya were a terrorist attack. Do you have information indicating that it was Iran, or al Qaeda was behind organizing the protests?Does it sound like Obama was claiming that he had all the facts?
OBAMA: Well, we're still doing an investigation, and there are going to be different circumstances in different countries. And so I don't want to speak to something until we have all the information. What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests–
QUESTION: Al Qaeda?
OBAMA: Well, we don't know yet.
Whatever else they got right or wrong, administration officials constantly stressed that they didn’t have all the facts. But so what? Begala, shot out of guns, quickly told viewers the opposite.
On the bright side, Paul Begala is paid good swag for his very soft CNN gig. But if last night represents the best he can do, he should probably take his tired old game back to Texas.
When King drags out his political team, CNN viewers get the impression that they are hearing “both sides of the story.” Last night, what did they hear from King’s fiery Democrat?
As soon as Begala opened his mouth, they heard even more disinformation! They heard even more support for the GOP’s ugly attacks.
Why did Begala make such a strange statement? We have no idea. But history is clear on one point, as Begala understands:
When these right-wing attacks gain purchase, everyone rushes to join the assault. Everybody tilts what he says to help the guild finish the job.
Begala’s statement was astounding—and it came near the end of a truly remarkable segment. But before we look at what King said and did, let’s review some new information which surfaced yesterday—new information you weren’t offered in this remarkable segment.
New information appeared yesterday. Though not if you watched CNN.
Our next post: New information
im always interested in what somerbys real motivation is or the motivation of his secret benefactors, *if* he has any.ReplyDelete
i dont know what it is, but he seems to always have one. not that i can always figure it out, and i cant here. but things are never as they seem in bob world -- *that i do know*.
i wouldnt put money on either of these, but here are just a couple of the *kind* of things that may be, behind all the rhetoric, truly motivating somerby:Delete
---an unusual story about cnn instead of msnbc for somerby. why? possibly because the host is an american with irish-catholic heritage, and it gives somerby an opportunity to portray him in a bad light. another brick in the wall.
--- by seeming to back rice he may be really trying to hurt the chances for another candidate for the secretary of state job opening up, should pres. obama be re-elected. the competition ive heard about is sen. john kerry from massachussestts.
i'm not from the bay state but i understand there was a mini-scandal that he may have falsely let it be known he had irish heritage. maybe somerby still believes he does have irish heritage or alternatively, i have no idea, but maybe he is too popular among massachusetts americans with irish-catholic-heritage for the tastes of *anti*-american-with-irish-catholic-heritage bob somerby.
another possibility, and this one i think is stronger than the other two:Delete
--- somerby is shrewd. as a propagandist, a sophist, he has to be exceptionally shrewd. but i think he actually knows things which he doesnt let on to; politics generally, maybe economics among other things, is my sense. one of his admirable traits. but dont think he will share his knowledge with you. youre the suckers, sheep. . . . umm . . . thats his complex, so i take it back . . . not so admirable a trait.
anyway, way off track. the third possibility is that he senses a romney win and now wants to go hard with the dems to look like he did his best for them and thereby maintain his reputation as a liberal which he manufactured thru his sophistry over the years.
We're hanging on your every word, octoroonist!Delete
It's especially sad because Ms. Rice seems to have gone through all the pains of repeatedly qualifying her initial assessment precisely to avoid being taken out of context. But when the media is pushing a negative narrative about you, you can do no right.ReplyDelete
It would seem that your level of reading comprehension is not very advanced. Perhaps you should go back to your "Dick and Jane" readings instead.ReplyDelete
Why was the administration talking about a video and protests over a video repeatedly throughout discussion of the terrorist attack, when the date, 9/11, was a much more important point to focus on?ReplyDelete
Because they didn't want the connection made that a terrorist attack took place on 9/11 when of all days it should have been prepared and adequate security provided, especially to anyone who was begging for it.
WASHINGTON — In the first 48 hours after the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Libya, senior Obama administration officials strongly alluded to a terrorist assault and repeatedly declined to link it to an anti-Muslim video that drew protests elsewhere in the region, transcripts of briefings show.ReplyDelete
The administration’s initial accounts, however, changed dramatically in the following days, according to a review of briefing transcripts and administration statements, with a new narrative emerging Sept. 16 when U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice asserted in a series of TV appearances that the best information available indicated that the attack had spun off from a protest over the video.
What prompted that pivot remains a mystery amid a closely contested presidential election and Republican allegations that President Barack Obama intentionally used outrage over the video to mask administration policy missteps that led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. The issue is sure to arise when Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney meet Monday to debate foreign policy.
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/10/18/171933/obama-administration-officials.html#storylink=cpy
If "the attack had spun off from a protest over a video" was inherently in contradiction with "the attack was an incident of terrorism," you might be on to something.Delete
It isn't, and you don't.
Well, we're still doing an investigation, and there are going to be different circumstances in different countries. And so I don't want to speak to something until we have all the information. What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the videoReplyDelete
This sounds like someone who has information suggesting it wasn't a spontaneous attack over a video but wants people to believe it was, for at least as long as he can hide the truth. Hopefully the story would be swallowed by the MSM but that didn't work out.
Why did Bob stop thew quote of Rice before it got to the good part?ReplyDelete
SUSAN RICE: They are not on the ground yet, but they have already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of-- 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 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--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Mm-Hm.
SUSAN RICE: --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-- 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.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But you do not agree with him that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?
SUSAN RICE: We do not-- we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.
* * * *
There was no protest outside of the Benghazi consulate prior to the attack.
What's more, extremists "joined in that" with "now readily available weapons" and "from there it spun."Delete
It's obvious there was a narrative being spoon fed with the expectation it would be regurgitated.
No,It is not obvious. Me thinks perhaps you might be the one eating from a spoon that is loaded with pure crap. Just curious but does crap ever start to taste better after a steady diet?Delete
So, Bob? If "Begala didn’t mention Susan Rice by name," then how can you say in your headline: "Begala throws Susan Rice under the bus!"?ReplyDelete
Oh, I get it! ". . . she had been thoroughly fragged by this point . . ."
Yep. First by their right-wing noise machine then by their mainstream media enablers.
So the first thing you think of when Begala says "the administration" should have kept its mouth shut is Susan Rice!
My goodness, that noise machine is effective!
Begala: "The administration clearly did not have all the facts when they started saying that they had all the facts"Delete
Actually, the first persons anyone thinking about this thinks of given that reference are Obama and Rice.
Who did you think of -- the Snuffaluffagus?
Here's the problem:Delete
RICE: . . . But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi . . .
Take off the partisan lenses and stop trying to defend the indefensible. When you try to spin and qualify and say, "She didn't really mean there was a spontaneous protest outside of our consulate in Benghazi when she said there was a spontaneous protest outside of our consulate in Benghazi," you look as silly as right-wingers trying to claim that Obama didn't really call the Benghazi attack an act of terror when he called it, repeatedly, an act of terror.
Admit the error, and move on. Then you got one day's worth of bad news instead of a whole week.
And please, do not try to pass the buck to the CIA. It is highly dubious passed along evidence about a spontaneous protest that never happened outside the Benghazi consulate.
The bottom line: Susan Rice is a diplomat. She knows the power of words. When she goes on national TV in the middle of a presidential campaign, speaking to the nation about a highly sensitive crisis in which the investigation has just begun, she should be extra careful only to speak of those things of which she is absolutely, 100 percent certain.
And no, "other people told me . . ." is no excuse for passing along what might be no more than a working theory as the investigation has barely begun.
And please, don't confuse me with a right-winger who thinks Rice's statement reveals some deep, dark cancer in the Obama administration's entire foreign policy.
She said a very stupid thing. It's not a sign of weakness to admit that and move on. Instead, it is more a sign of our inability to rationally discuss anything when both sides are so entirely convinced that everything coming out of the mouths of anyone on "our side" is so 100 percent correct that we will spin ourselves into knots for days trying to convince ourselves, and no one else, that the stupid remark wasn't stupid after all.
That "stupid thing" ISN'T what's being complained about here.Delete
It is the pretense that that "stupid thing" constituted Rice's comments about the attack in Benghazi -- it didn't.
This pretense is accomplished by OMITTING what Rice said about the attack.
Noting that omission is not "spinning."
It's YOU who are the one spinning, by insisting on omitting the relevant part of Rice's comments.
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