Part 2--As CNN looks on: Did Hillary Clinton tell any lies in the days after Benghazi?
We've never seen evidence of that, though we've seen endless accusations. It's a bit like the 9-year-old children in Salem Village who saw neighbors turn into cats.
Back in September 2012, it was John McCain who first cast himself in the role of the 9-year-old children. Appearing on Face the Nation, he misstated what Ambassador Susan Rice had just said about the attack on Benghazi.
Bob Schieffer also seemed to be roughly nine. He quickly accepted Schoolchild McCain's version of the facts.
These episodes start in this manner. This past Sunday morning, on CNN's State of the Union, someone else said that he had spotted the former secretary of state turning into a cat.
In this case, the badly frightened child was Senator Marco Rubio. He was shown on videotape, being interviewed by CNN's Jamie Gangel:
GANGEL (10/25/15): Hillary Clinton has had a pretty good two weeks. She had Saturday Night Live, she did well in the debates, she went through 11 hours of the hearings. If it is a face off, Marco Rubio/Hillary Clinton, how formidable is she?"This is the week it was proven that Clinton lied about Benghazi?" Rubio had made a very serious charge. But here's how Gangel reacted:
RUBIO: Well, she'll be the Democratic nominee. Someone who comes from a political dynasty and that, in itself, is going to bring fund-raising capabilities and so forth. People may think she had a good week. I think this is the week it was proven that she lied about Benghazi.
GANGEL (continuing directly): So here's the good news for Marco Rubio. You are on the rise. The betting folks say you are now the most likely person to win the Republican nominee over Jeb Bush. Democrats say you are formidable, that they are scared of you. So why is it taking you so long to get traction?We think Gangel's reaction was striking. Here's why:
Until recently, it was extremely rare to see a politician or major journalist use the L-bomb in the way Rubio did.
For sensible reasons, use of the L-bomb was virtually forbidden. The L-bomb was rarely deployed.
By now, that traditional stricture has largely been abandoned. Here's how the history works:
Roughly 23 years ago, politicians and major journalists began seeing famous people turn themselves into cats, boars and wolves, and sometimes into yellow birds.
First, they saw Bill Clinton do it. Then, they saw the sickening trick performed again and again by the devilish Candidate Gore.
In the present day, it's Candidate Clinton who they're constantly able to spot performing this work. Back in September 2012, Susan Rice turned into a cat on four Sunday shows, thus frightening Schoolchild McCain.
Please understand! In the modern context, frightened accusers don't actually say that they saw someone turn into a cat. They understand that the liberal press corps would roll its eyes at this claim.
The accusation takes a different shape now. In this case, the witches are said to be liars. And just as the claim of shape-shifting once spread all through a frightened village, so too this updated claim has become so common that Gangel didn't bat an eye when the frightened Rubio made it.
"This is the week it was proven that Clinton lied about Benghazi!" To Gangel, it was almost like Rubio had said that it was a beautiful day.
She didn't ask Rubio what he meant. She didn't ask him to justify his charge. As in Salem, so too on CNN's State of the Union:
So many people have seen this candidate turn into a cat that the claim now seems mundane.
What would Rubio have said if Gangel had challenged his statement? On Face the Nation, John Dickerson actually seemed to have watched the hearing at which Clinton worked her shape-shifting. On the CBS Sunday show, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) pushed the standard shape-shifting lines.
Nunes noted that Clinton had volunteered to testify in public. "So clearly, she had it in her mind to make this a political grandstanding occasion, which she did very well."
Fiendishly, Clinton had testified in public! Now, Nunes went on to describe what Clinton had actually said.
"It was the first time that I had learned that there were e-mails that existed, or transcripts of recordings, about, that she knew immediately that this was an al Qaeda attack," the troubled congressman said.
"Now remember," he continued, "us on the Intelligence Committee, we knew the next morning, not necessarily that it was al Qaeda, but we knew it was a terrorist preplanned attack. And so it ends up that she knew that...she knew it was a terrorist attack hours after the attack. And I think that is a real problem as to why the people sat at the State Department and never left."
Schoolboy Nunes was frightened by many things, including Clinton's clever trick of testifying in public. Eventually, he managed to state the standard line, in a jumbled and confusing form, about her misrepresentations.
Incredibly, Dickerson responded like this:
DICKERSON: Her testimony, and then also the CIA's best information to the rest of the administration, was, at first Ansar al-Sharia claimed credit for it and then they withdrew it and that that's what led to this confusion. So at first she believed those reports. Then they were withdrawn and that`s what made her change her position.Incredibly, Dickerson responded by noting some of what Clinton had actually said in the hearing! After more than three years of frightened reports, Dickerson's conduct was hardly enough to clarify these extremely jumbled matters. But no one person can be asked to nullify three more than three year of non-performance by the rest of the press.
Did Secretary Clinton turn herself into a yellow bird in September 2012? In modern parlance, did she lie about Benghazi in the days after the attack?
This claim has been made for more than three years. Back in 2012, the relentless, ugly charge turned Susan Rice into a gnome, as liberals ran for cover.
On Sunday, a frightened schoolboy made the claim on Jake Tapper's Sunday show. He made his frightened claim loud and clear.
Jamie Gangel didn't say boo or bat an eye. Gangel simply moved on.
Tomorrow, let's look at the way our modern village has responded to these repetitive claims. In Salem Village, the scare was over fairly quickly. In our village, the current scare has persisted for 23 years.
Tomorrow: The questions which go unasked