This just in on the Benghazi front!

TUESDAY, MAY 6, 2014

We recommend what Drum said: With Benghazi bubbling again, we strongly recommend this new post by Kevin Drum.

He summarizes “the latest Benghazi freak-out in 10 sentences.” Quite a few basics are there.

We’ll quickly add a few more points. We’ll state our first three screeds in the form of questions:

The professors: Have you seen a single professor or logician intervene in this endlessly bungled matter? Have you seen a single professor adopt a platform within the press to challenge the reams of nonsense surrounding this discussion? To clarify the facts of this case?

What’s the point of having professors if they refuse to serve?

The newspapers: Have you see a major news org battle to clarify this nonsense? Alas! When the New York Times revisited this topic in a lengthy front-page report, they misquoted something Susan Rice said on those Sunday TV shows and otherwise misparaphrased her.

That is your press corps’ skill level.

The liberal pundits: Have you seen a single liberal pundit demand that our big news orgs try to explain the basic facts of this case? Within the career liberal world, such things simply aren’t done.

Finally, some basics concerning Rice:

Benghazi involves more than Susan Rice’s famous TV appearances. But these basic points remain true about the things she said:

Susan Rice said, again and again, that she was giving a preliminary account of what happened—that the investigation would continue. When an official keeps saying that the facts have not been established, Republicans and journalists shouldn’t pretend that she made the opposite claim.

Susan Rice didn’t say that a bunch of protestors staged the killing attack. Simply put, she didn’t say that on the Sunday programs for which she has been reviled. John McCain and others invented that claim. Our “journalists” began to recite.

Susan Rice didn’t deny that terrorists staged the attack. When Bob Schieffer directly asked if al Qaeda had staged the attack, she said that might be the case. She said it may have been “al Qaeda affiliates,” or even “al Qaeda itself.” This statement was instantly disappeared in service to McCain’s narrative.

You live in a deeply stupid nation, a nation which is run by deeply lazy elites. The “press corps” has thoroughly ceased to exist. The professors are useless as well.

In the matter of Benghazi, John McCain invented a tale; the “press corps” bought it and started reciting. Josh and Rachel and Chris and E. J. will never directly attack press conduct in a case of this type.

The journalists will continue to squirm, fudging and fuzzing for all they’re worth. The professors will diddle themselves, perhaps in the south of France.

We’ll continue exploring their work in the coming weekends. Before we’re done, we may even discuss the set of all sets not members of themselves!


  1. Will TDH allow that the official preliminary account was designed with PR in mind first, and that such an approach makes the claim that it was the "best intelligence" suspect, or that there was an effort to cast virtually NO intelligence as "best" hoping that flimsy narrative might fly for the duration?

    1. Good idea but it requires more integrity than TDH has. As with TDH's embarrassing coverage of Plamegate, TDH painted itself into a corner long ago and will not get honest. For those who forget, TDH attacked Joe Wilson repeatedly. The former ambassador told the truth. TDH wrong on Plamegate, wrong on Benghazi.

    2. Go read Kevin Drum's post. It excludes this idea. TDH says he agrees with Drum. Me too.

  2. We live in a deeply stupid nation, a nation which is run by deeply lazy elites. The “press corps” has thoroughly ceased to exist. The professors are useless as well. The professors will diddle themselves, perhaps in the south of France.

    On cable, the glory of being against someone is the basic product. Much as Hannity does on Fox, Rachel Maddow trains us in this stance every night of the week.

    Maddow doesn’t proceed in the ranting manner of Lawrence of Dorchestia and Chris Matthews.

  3. This post is one eye-opening piece of work that I read while drinking my coffee and surfing some of my favorite sites. This is where I’m not going to add much more here. Everything written in this article is self-explanatory to a tee when it comes to what’s been happening to our nation for decades now. After you read all of this, see if you think we’re at the precipice of things as a whole as a nation if we don’t change things around fast before it’s far too late, that is if it isn’t already. – To put it bluntly, and not to be crude, it’s time to sh!t, or get off the pot…or we’re done! Anyway, that’s how I see it thru my viewfinder in life, you certainly may see it far differently

  4. "What’s the point of having professors if they refuse to serve?"

    The point of having professors is to generate new knowledge and teach students. It is not to participate in public debate, be public intellectuals, correct misunderstandings of press or public, or to espouse opinions in the media.

    Somerby keeps expecting professors to fill the void and take on the jobs being performed poorly by the people who are supposed to be doing them. Professors are busy doing the job of professor.

    1. I was told many years ago that a professor's job (especially one cloistered away at a state institution) was three-fold: teaching, research, and public service. That last requirement meant they were to avail themselves to the public where their knowledge and skills would be useful. I suppose that meant to a large extent taking phone calls from reporters and other ignorant townies.

      Given today's assertions, is there a term for the opposite of "intelligentsia" or is it time to coin one?

    2. Service includes department committee work, service to the college and university including shared governance, service to the profession such as peer review, conference organizing and community service such as serving on commissions or advisory boards, consulting and representing the university to the public, as when recruiting prospective students and strengthening community ties. Talking to the press falls under professional activity as appropriate to communicate one's work to the public. It doesn't mean being a public intellectual or expressing opinions on a variety of topics. That sort of activity generally hurts tenure and promotion. Ask Dan Drezner.

    3. What Anonymous at 11:11 said.

      I would add that, yes, of course professors (as professors and as citizens) have a duty to public service, but most of them will fulfill that duty almost entirely through their teaching, research, and service to their professional institutions.

      Meanwhile, there are publications and blogs galore that feature the work of professors contributing to discussion of matters of larger civic and cultural importance. Somerby, who must surely have heard of, for instance, the NYRB or Timothy Burke's Easily Distracted site or Marc Lynch's on the Middle East, or Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Fallows (well, the last two aren't professors -- sorry), acts as if these don't exist (and the list is VERY long -- I just provided a few examples). Apparently, somerby never listens to NPR or other public radio, either -- not to mention Bill Moyers . If his only point is that the NYT and MSNBC (and their ilk) don't feature more, and more interesting, academic voices -- fine, we'd all like to see more at such places. But when have such MSM ever been the source of the most interesting academic perspectives? And why is it that the fault of academics rather than the rolodex-makers at these news sources? Get real.

  5. Professor Alan Guth uses "fog-free language," and his 1997 book, The Inflationary Universe, is "understandable to readers without graduate degrees," says Neil Swidey at the Boston Globe.

  6. Blogger is a demented liar:

    " Monday, May 5, 2014 12:25 PM EST
    GOP’s demented “Benghazi!” disease: Why conservatives so desperately need a scandal
    National security is one of the right's best organizing principles. But first they need a controversy
    Heather Digby Parton


    Also note the indignation gap between the description of the right's actions that caused the faux scandal and blogger's false perception of the left's reaction.

    I got too busy with real life to predict the blithering fool's almost-defense of the Princeton kid before he came out with it.

    I don't know why I keep coming back to this car-wreck - maybe its for the commenters.

  7. Given that you've got that "indignation gap" that lets you read TDH's mind, why do you have to read his blog at all?

    So that makes two of us who don't know why you keep coming back.

    But here you are. Go figure.

    1. But don't you wish the "series" could be a little less prolonged and perhaps the posts more timely?

    2. Everything TDH writes is "prolonged"; what do you find untimely? All of the entries this month are tied to current news items.

      Here's what I find effective: if I'm not interested in the topic of a TDH blog entry, I skip it.

  8. "What’s the point of having professors if they refuse to serve?"

    What is the point of bloggers who refused to serve?

  9. They got you to believe Saddam was building an atom bomb. That Iraq was connected to the attack on 9/11. That Terry Schiavo was communicating with her parents and eating pudding. That John Kerry was a coward under fire in Vietnam. That tax cuts pay for themselves. Why should Americans be less pliable about a fabricated hysteria about a two week intelligence mistake in Benghazi AFTER the tragedy? What's changed in you, America? It used to be Don Draper's political correlatives could sell you Draper, have they lost their mojo?