WHO LOST TRACK OF THE MAINSTREAM PRESS: Two journalists turn on the press corps!


Part 1—One of the two sounds sincere: Yesterday, two journalists turned on the mainstream press corps, behaving like traitors to their class.

One of these journalists sounds sincere. To our ear, the other does not.

But first:

This morning, in the 5 o’clock hour, CNN started right in on Benghazi all over again. Transcripts haven’t been posted yet. But the reporting was done by Elise Labott, CNN’s tremendously awful “foreign affairs reporter.”

This morning, Labott has already posted a “CNN Wire.” For unknown reasons, she misstated the time at which she posted.

As a reporter, Labott is a genuine nightmare—and she’s still got the Benghazi bug up her ass. This right-wing assault isn’t going away.

Labott’s post starts like this:
LABOTT (10/24/12): E-mails: White House knew of extremist claims in Benghazi attack

Two hours after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the White House, the State Department and the FBI were told that an Islamist group had claimed credit, government e-mails obtained by CNN show.

One of the e-mails—sent from a State Department address to various government agencies—specifically identifies Ansar al-Sharia as claiming responsibility for the attack on its Facebook page and on Twitter.

The e-mails raise further questions about the seeming confusion on the part of the Obama administration to determine the nature of the September attack and those who planned it.

The attack left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.

The day after it took place, President Barack Obama labeled the incident an "act of terror."

But in the days following the attack, White House spokesman Jay Carney maintained there was no evidence suggesting the attack was "planned or imminent."

The administration also suggested that an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States likely fueled a spontaneous demonstration in Benghazi as it had in Cairo, where the U.S. Embassy also was attacked.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland and Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, all cited the video as a motivating factor in the attack.
As before, so again today: Labott keeps suggesting that the administration has withheld and misstated various things it knew about the attack.

The White House “knew of extremist claims,” Labott’s says in her headline. In her text, she keeps suggesting that various spokespersons didn’t reveal the things they knew—and that they may have just made some shit up.

But alas! In her now-famous September 16 appearances, Susan Rice explicitly said that the violence began that night when “extremists” armed with heavy weapons came to the consulate. Rice kept using the very word Labott features in her headline!

Labott forgets to say that. (All along, this has been the key move in the disinformation war underway against Rice.) And Labott takes that statement by Carney completely out of context:
QUESTION (9/14/12): On the Libya attacks, was there any intelligence in advance that some kind of attack could take place, especially because so many embassies were taking precautions because of 9/11? Was there any advance warning at all?

CARNEY: I have seen that report, and the story is absolutely wrong. We were not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent. That report is false.
Carney said there was no prior knowledge of a planned or imminent attack. Nothing in the e-mails Labott goes on to quote contradicts this statement.

One more point: Repeatedly, Labott suggests the White house was lying when it said that anti-Muslim video may have motivated the attack. On September 12, the New York Times reported that the attackers cited the video even as the attack was unfolding. Last week, the New York Times reconfirmed this report.

Labott doesn't tell us this, even as she implies that spokespersons must have been lying.

Labott, a genuine nightmare, has been doing this for weeks. Major anchors at CNN stare dumbly as she proceeds. But then, many major mainstream organs have actively pushed this unvarnished scam, especially with regard to Ambassador Rice.

As they've done this, Obama's ratings on foreign policy have dropped.

The mainstream press corps is up to its ears in the (successful) attempt to drive this poisonous scam. Unless you live in the liberal world, in which case you are constantly told that this whole scam belongs to Fox!

Can we talk? By and large, career liberals still refuse to tell the truth about mainstream press organs. They love to screech and wail about Fox, even as they cover for their associates in the MSM.


Yesterday, we followed a link from Digby to a detailed time line at ThinkProgress. The time line bears this headline: “What Everyone Should Know About The Benghazi Attack.”

The time line is quite informative. That said, it contains no information about the major mainstream news orgs which have grossly misreported this story. Reading that time line, a liberal reader gets no idea that a long string of major mainstream orgs have been pimping the right-wing line.

In fairness, ThinkProgress doesn’t focus on the press corps in its time line. Incomparably, we went to Media Matters to see what they have written about Benghazi.

At Media Matters, the press is their product—their only product. We conducted an experiment. You can conduct it yourselves.

Flawlessly, we entered “Benghazi” in Media Matters’ whirring search engine. These are the most recent headlines we got. We’ll give you an even dozen:
Who last track of the mainstream press: Headlines at Media Matters
*Fox's Van Susteren Misrepresents State Dept. Emails To Rehash Tired Libya Talking Points
*WSJ Columnist Claims Benghazi Cover-up, Same Day WSJ Debunks Claims of Benghazi Cover-up
*On CNN, Jennifer Rubin Flat-Out Lies About Obama's Benghazi Statement
*Fox's Word Games Create Parallel Universe Of Obama Statements On Benghazi
*Libya Misinformation: Fox Anchor Dismisses Anti-Muslim Video That Sparked Global Riots
*Fox Omits Important Day From Benghazi Timeline To Attack Obama
*Fox's Tantaros On Obama's Response To Benghazi Attack: "He Makes Richard Nixon Look Like Billy Graham"
*Romney Gets Lost In Fox News Benghazi Bubble
*Fox Anchor Bill Hemmer Teases Segment On Libya: "The Secretary Of State Now Jumping Under The Benghazi Bus"
*Right-Wing Media Misrepresent Secretary Clinton's Comments About Benghazi Attacks
*Contrary To Right-Wing Media Claims, Report Confirms Anti-Islam Video Was Catalyst For Libya Attack
*Fox's Ingraham Misrepresents Clinton Comments On Benghazi
At Media Matters, it has been all Fox and all right-wing all the time—except for one instance on which a right-wing pundit told a lie on CNN.

Who lost track of the mainstream press corps? For at least the past twenty years, the mainstream press has adopted poisonous attacks from the right and driven them hard against major Dems. Endlessly, the mainstream press corps behaved this way in the Clinton-Gore years.

This began with the Whitewater pseudo-scandal, a pseudo-scandal which got its start on the front page of the New York Times. It ended with twenty months of attacks against Candidate Gore, the attacks which sent Bush to the White House.

The career liberal world sat there and watched. Liberals of the rank and file got thoroughly scammed in the process.

In the past few weeks, many major mainstream news orgs have been playing the same dirty game against Rice—and through her, against Obama. But so what? If you live in the liberal world, you’ve been fed a steady barrel of shit in which you are only told you should hate Fox.

Darlings, cocktail invitations are at stake! CBS and the Washington Post and the New York Times get a pass. The Associated Press goes unmentioned.

That crap at Politifact doesn’t get mentioned. Neither does the disgraceful work being conducted at CNN. You're only told that you should hate Fox! You needn't look anywhere else!

Well good lord! Yesterday, two liberal journalists rose to complain about the way the mainstream press has behaved in the wake of this year’s debates. On face, these journalists made themselves traitors to their guild—traitors to their class.

In the next two days, we’ll examine the things these journalists said about major mainstream news organs. For once, two journalists stopped discussing Fox long enough to cite the mainstream press corps.

In a break from a long destructive tradition, these journalists sounded like traitors to their class. To our ear, Alec MacGillis sounded sincere.

The horrible Joan Walsh did not.

Tomorrow: What Alec MacGillis said


  1. "At Media Matters, it has been all Fox and all right-wing all the time . . ."

    Well, right back atcha, Bob. At the Daily Howler it has been all MSNBC and all-lazy-liberal-media all the time.

    And neither statement is exactly true, is it?

    You know how the game works, and in case you have forgotten, go back to the incomparable archives and read how "invented the Internet" happened.

    It began as a right-wing lie, then it spread to the "mainstream" media.

    By my reading, Media Matters attacks this game at its source, and you attack it when it reaches the "mainstream" media. Then you go beyond that and blame a handful of hated "liberal" TV pundits and op-ed columnists for allowing it to happen.

    And now you seem to be adding Media Matters to the list because they spend far too much time, in your opinion, on Fox News.

    1. The many, many Benghazi mis-statements that aren't from FOX or the Wall Street Journal are simply missing from the Media Matters account of the Benghazi coverage.

      Media Matters would in fact serve better if they included CBS, NYT, WaPo and other mainstream failures as well.

      Your (same old, same old) anti-Somerby rant doesn't change that fact.

    2. Right. By focusing on what they focus on, Media Matters is obviously wrong in not focusing on what Somerby and his tribe should be focusing on.

      And to me, that's like the NYT taking reporting tips from the Bugtussle Times -- or Bob Somerby.

      But wouldn't the world be just fine if every blog was just like the Howler?

    3. Anon of 2:50 (and 10:14?) may be right, Somerby's criticism may be that "every blog should be like the Howler" but that actually sounds like butthurt hyperbole to me.

      So I'm going to say I agree:

      Media Matters goal of comprehensively documenting conservative spin in the media is best served when they find that spin wherever it may be.

      Sometimes they meet that goal, sometimes they don't. No reason not to point out when they miss it.

      Unless you just need to fill your Somerby-hate quota for the day!

    4. Well, as Anom one suggests, both sides are a little right. Maybe it's just too much to ask for one stop shopping on for all our bad Media needs. Media Matters does stick to the worst of the blowhard right (shouldn't somebody? they are possibly the most watched outlets) but I am not sure it's from wanting to get asked to the right cocktail parties.

      As I have said before, I think Bob's is a strangely religious approach. When forced to confront the absolute worst of right ideology(47%), there must be no sin of pride, and we must do penance to admit that we are at heart no better. Somewhat interesting to note, in the old days when Bob would write about the bad guys, he often extended olive branches to O"Reilly (he's not as bad as all that) and Mary Matlin (he loved her spunk).
      He doesn't seem to say anything nice about them anymore, but I don't think they give him much to work with. In recent years, he once wrote of O"Reilly on Gore "he was actually quite fair." But if you read The Daily Howler over the period in question, you know that he was not.
      Questions: is Labott dominating CNN's full coverage of Benghazi? Or is there some balance?

  2. October 23, 1983. Our Marine barracks in Beirut was attacked. 299 servicemen died (241 American) under ruble as they slept. The barracks was protected by a flimsy barbed wire barrier and fenced gate at the entrance. The guards on duty were not allowed to carry loaded weapons at the gate. The suicide bomber barreled through and into the bottom floor lobby detonating 12,000 lbs of TNT. There was no retaliation or perpetrators captured. Three months later the Marines were pulled from Lebanon to an offshore location. Ronald Reagan was re-elect president by a landslide one year later. Does this put Benghazi in perspective?

    1. What do you mean Reagan took no action? Why, just a few days later, he invaded Grenada. (sarcasm alert).

  3. There was an interest in making sure no perception could be created that al Qaeda was insurgent or that the ignored security requests were the reason 4 Americans were murdered.

    Everything said by the administration including Rice was geared toward promoting a narrative that an unpredictable, spontaneous demonstration over a video accounts for the murders and no one could have seen it coming or prevented it.

    1. Go back and study the record instead of the right-wing talking points you are being spoonfed.

      You might find:

      1. The security request was for the embassy in Tripoli, not the compound in Benghazi some 400 miles away.

      2. While the militia extremists who carried out this attack may be sympathetic to Al Qaeda in much the same way that neo-Nazis are sympathetic to Hitler, there not the slightest shred of evidence that whatever little is left of Al Qaeda planned and executed this attack, or are even capable of doing so.

      Now you might ask yourself this question. If Al Qaeda were truly "insurgent" (and I think the word you really wanted to use was "resurgent") and wanted to show off their strength, why would they choose the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, to destroy and not some much more high profile target? Like, say, the embassy in Cairo?

    2. Because there was insufficient security and they could succeed in killing an Ambassador?

    3. What level of security would have been needed to repel that attack?

      And "killing an ambassador" is sure a different goal than bombing a U.S. warship, or simultaneously hijacking four planes and delivering three of them to their intended targets on U.S. soil, one of which was the headquarters of the entire U.S. military.

    4. Does it matter whether they're picked off one by one from unprotected posts that should be protected vs all killed at the same time?

  4. When is Bob going to begin a crusade to transform the media from a corporatized for profit model to a non-profit model operating in the public intrest. During the long series of columns on the health-care debate he implied that greed and the for profit motive are what ails us. Why not the same model for the press.

  5. When is Bob going to begin a crusade to transform the media from a corporatized for profit model to a non-profit model operating in the public intrest. During the long series of columns on the health-care debate he implied that greed and the for profit motive are what ails us. Why not the same model for the press.

  6. I want to personally thank Bob for 'The Daily Howler' and his insightful comments about the media in general and many of the particulars which he (like anyone) doesn't always get spot-on right but I've got to say. In the few years since I started occasionally reading here I often thought he was nitpicking, perhaps too critical about MSNBC, whatever- but the more I now read in the 'mainstream media' or elsewhere he's given me tools of analysis (I'd say a critical thinking toolkit app) that's forever changed the 'pass' I'd often given some pretty sloppy or flat out idiotic reporting that I'd have once taken as 'OK'- and I've never considered myself a pushover when it comes to idiotic commentary analysis as I've written and had three different 'rebuts' published to various articles I've read in local and national newsprint about some idiotic editorial that seemed to be written by a third grader from some nationally syndicated writer- and was annoyed some editor thought it was worth printing. Sometimes it can seem a bit tedious here but there's no doubt- Bob's expanded my mind and so much so I sometimes hate the toolkit because whether it's watching some nightly news or even some partisan channel of either persuasion (I'm centrist-liberal and Fox isn't worth the time) but when I've read media assessments of the debates they're insultingly stupid across the board. There's one I just read on 'Yahoo news' from ABC about how Obama was 'snarky' and even Rachel Maddow thought so..... but 'it seems to have worked'...and you read the whole thing and it just gets worse. Now where have I read this type of dumb media analysis on a blog who gets the big picture pretty spot on? Somerby might not always get narrow issue-oriented comments to everyone's liking but he could teach any college level class and do any university justice on how to properly dissect political arguments and especially on the 'media' and how getting spoon fed by ANY syndicated pundit- whether TV or in print- isn't such a good idea.

    1. So in other words, you didn't have any critical thinking skills intil Somerby told you how to think critically.

      Reminds me of the famous Limbaugh quote to one of his dittoheads: "The next time someone tells you that you can't think for yourself, tell them this . . ."

    2. Now that's why I get all MY critical thinking skills from blowhard commenters on the internet!

      Agreeing in whole or in part with Somerby, any thinking person knows, is the very definition of being a dittohead.

      Thanks 2:52PM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Sorry Anon 2:52 but Somerby frequently goes beyond the critical thinking busy people can engage in partly because he does the heavy lifting to find patterns of reporting from varied sources people don't always have time to avail themselves of.

      The MSM takes advantage of this and routinely insults your intelligence. So do politicians.

      One thing that impressed me about Romney in the debates is that he candidly mentioned his defeat to McCain and his father's defeat. A small but telling thing, unusual that a candidate gives the benefit of the doubt to a voter that they can handle that information and assign it its proper importance, contrasted to one who offers up cheap, rehearsed "zingers" ("1980 called...").

    4. I started this mini-thread and the follow-up to what I said suggests someone with an anger management problem- or an intellectual management problem- or maybe just plain 'ol ADD. It's astounding how anything approaching 'moderate' or even complimentary can't be said anymore- and nothing I wrote said or implied Bob Somerby provided me with critical thinking skills- hardly- as suggested by whomever replied. The comment 'agreeing in whole- (OK) or IN PART (excuse me?) with Somerby...makes someone a dittohead??' nuff said. Anon 4:17 got the point and has it right. I'm a full time pathologist for 30 years (if you actually believe you can do that without critical thinking skills give it a try), I've voted on both sides of the isle (often with later regrets) and am always glad to have a resource I can generally trust to give me a thoughtful opinion- and this is hardly the only one. I'm a bit confused by the need for a confrontational hostile response but stand by what I said- I'm glad blogs like this exist and someone's willing to take the time to do it- and Bob's good at it. Where's your blog anon 2:52 and I'll be happy to read what you have to say- or do you prefer snarky criticism which is juvenile and easy? I don't have time to do it (opinion blogs) but am glad others do and have the insight I see here on a regular basis (including some of the replys). If you don't like Bob Somerby go somewhere else and take a chill pill.

  7. MacGillas's piece is O.K., but he should obviously be calling it "corporate media" rather than "liberal media." Unless you think "Morning Joe" is a liberal show.....