Fox News repeatedly spun the words of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to suggest she had finally acknowledged the importance of the select committee on Benghazi, when in fact Pelosi had stressed her objections to the committee and called it an unnecessary "partisan exercise."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Names Democratic Members To Benghazi Select Committee
Pelosi Announces Appointment Of Democrats To House Select Committee On Benghazi. In a May 21 statement, Rep. Nancy Pelosi announced the appointment of five House Democrats to the Benghazi select committee: Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Adam Smith (D-WA), Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). [The New York Times, 5/21/14]
Pelosi Emphasized Her Objection To Committee. Before announcing the names of the five Democrats appointed to the committee, Pelosi made her objection to its formation clear, calling it an unnecessary "partisan exercise." She questioned what Republicans could hope to achieve after the many previous investigations and argued that Democrats must "be there to fight for a fair hearing and process" -- something she said "simply would not be possible leaving it to the Republicans" (emphasis added):
PELOSI: Unfortunately, the Republican obsession with Benghazi has not been about the victims or their families or our country. We had hoped the house Republican leaders would not go down the path forming a select committee. We've already been there. Eight reviews have been conducted in the House and Senate, 25,000 documents released, millions of taxpayer dollars spent. It was not necessary to put the families or our country through this partisan exercise once again. Over the past two weeks, we have engaged in good-faith discussions with Speaker Boehner on the shape and standards of the select committee. We had hoped for a level of fairness and transparency and balance, especially considering the subject matter. We were not able to reach any agreement.
Regrettably, the Republican approach does not prevent the unacceptable and the repeated abuses committed by Chairman Issa in any meaningful way. That is all the more reason for Democrats to participate in the committee, to be there to fight for a fair hearing and process, to try to bring some openness and transparency to what's going on. What is the purpose of this investigation? What is the timetable? What are the milestones? What are they hoping to achieve? I could have argued this either way. Why give any validity to this effort? But I do think it is important for the American people to have the pursuit of these questions done in a fair and open and balanced way as possible. That simply would not be possible leaving it to the Republicans. That's why I'm appointing my distinguished colleagues here today to serve on the select committee. [Media Matters, 5/21/14]
Fox Twists Pelosi's Comments To Claim She Acknowledged Importance Of Committee
Fox Contributor Hayes: Pelosi Acknowledged There Are Open Questions On Benghazi. On Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer referenced a clipped portion of Pelosi's statement, arguing that "She sounds like a Republican." Agreeing, Fox News contributor Steve Hayes claimed that Pelosi's statement was a "basic acknowledgment" that there are still "open questions" on Benghazi. Hayes also asserted that House Democrats' participation in the committee "legitimizes the process."
HEMMER: I'm just using her words. "I do think it's important for the American people to have the pursuit of these questions done in a fair and open and balanced way as possible." She sounds like a Republican in the middle of her statement there.
HAYES: Yeah, I think this is what's interesting. It's a basic acknowledgement directly from Nancy Pelosi and also from Elijah Cummings in an interview with Sam Stein of the Huffington Post that there are open questions. That there are lots questions that haven't yet been answered, despite the fact that Democrats and many in the mainstream media have said, "we've been over this, there have been lots of hearings, we've seen lots of documents." It's a basic acknowledgement, I think, from top Democrats that there are legitimate, open questions that deserve further explanation here. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 5/22/14]
Your World Airs Pelosi Comments Without Context, Claims Democrats "Fully Engaged" In Committee. On May 21, Fox's Your World with Neil Cavuto aired Pelosi's comment that Democrats' involvement in the committee was necessary to maintain a "fair and open and balanced" process, omitting other context. Fox intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge claimed suggested this showed that Democrats are "now fully engaged in the Benghazi select committee. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 5/21/14]
The Real Story Puts Words In Pelosi's Mouth On Benghazi Committee. On May 21, Fox's The Real Story aired Pelosi's full statement on the select committee live. Herridge claimed Pelosi had conceded that the committee is a "serious effort," saying "the bottom line for the folks at home is that the Democrats recognize it's going to be a serious effort and it would be a political mistake not to engage in the fullest possible way." [Fox News, The Real Story, 5/21/14 via Media Matters]
Special Report Airs Pelosi Comments Without Broader Context. The May 21 edition of Fox's Special Report aired Pelosi's comments about the need for a "fair and open and balanced" process, omitting the larger context to give the appearance that "the Democrats are now fully engaged in the investigation." [Fox News, Special Report, 5/21/14]
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