Tags ››› Benghazi
  • Bob Woodward Says Questions Remain Unanswered About Clinton's Email, Doesn't Say What Those Questions Are

    Despite Press Conferences, Presidential Debates, And Televised Congressional Testimony, Woodward Says Clinton Needs To Tell Voters, “I’m Going To Answer All The Questions” About Email


    Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward asserted on Fox News Sunday that Hillary Clinton still has questions to answer about her emails – despite Clinton holding multiple press conferences on the matter, supporting the release of more than 50,000 pages of emails to the public, facing email questions during several presidential debates, and answering more than 50 questions about her emails during 11 hours of televised testimony before the Republican-led Select Committee on Benghazi.

  • Conservative Media Smear Merrick Garland: Benghazi Edition

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conservatives are now trying to smear Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland with a myth about the 2012 terror attacks on the United States' diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

    In a March 31 article, the Daily Caller claimed that Garland "falsely blamed the YouRube [sic] video 'Innocence of Muslims' for the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens during the Benghazi attacks, court transcripts show." Right-wing media outlets have consistently claimed that the Obama administration deliberately lied by linking that anti-Islam video to the attacks.

    In fact, the leader of the 2012 attack has confirmed that the video -- which had been spurring sometimes-violent protests throughout the Middle East at the time of the attack -- did inspire the perpetrators to assault the United States' Benghazi diplomatic compound, ultimately leading to the death of four Americans.

    The Caller article, citing a press release from discredited conservative group Judicial Watch, claimed Garland repeated a Benghazi falsehood during a January 10, 2013, hearing over Judicial Watch's attempt to force the Obama administration to release images of Osama bin Laden's body. (The court ultimately rejected Judicial Watch's challenge.)

    While discussing national security concerns over the release of sensitive images during oral arguments, Garland said, "And we do know of examples where in this country we would think that the release of certain things would not have lead to this, and yet there were, not very long ago a video was released that did lead to death of an American ambassador, of other people, of riots in other cities."

    Garland was right. Although conservative media have endlessly claimed that the Obama administration sought to deceive about the nature of the Benghazi attacks by citing the influence of the "Innocence of Muslims" video, the claim is baseless. Numerous news reports at the time of the attack -- reporting on the best intelligence available -- said the video played a role. The New York Times reported in December 2013, "There is no doubt that anger over the video motivated many attackers," citing witness accounts of those attackers mentioning the video during the assault.

    And as the Times reported in 2014, the alleged ringleader of the attack "told fellow Islamist fighters and others that the assault was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him."

  • Here Are The Big Players In The Inevitable Smear Campaign Against Judge Merrick Garland

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    As President Obama reportedly prepares to announce Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, media should be prepared to hear from several right-wing groups dedicated to opposing the nominee, no matter who it is. These advocacy groups and right-wing media outlets have a history of pushing misleading information and alarmist rhetoric to launch smear campaigns against Obama's highly qualified Supreme Court nominees, using tactics including, but not limited to, spreading offensive rumors about a nominee's personal life, deploying bogus legal arguments or conspiracy theories, and launching wild distortions of every aspect of a nominee's legal career.

  • Right-Wing Media Distort Hillary Clinton's Comments About Libya Intervention

    Conservative Media Follow RNC Lead In Smearing Clinton For Accurately Stating No Americans Died In Military Campaign To Oust Gadhafi


    Right-wing media figures are distorting a comment made by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a MSNBC town hall, where Clinton said "we didn't lose a single person" during the 2011 U.S. military intervention in Libya. Conservative commentators parroted the GOP in berating Clinton for allegedly "forgetting" about the four Americans who were killed during the 2012 Benghazi attacks, when in reality Clinton was referring only to the military intervention in Libya, which ended nearly a year before the Benghazi attacks.

  • From The Right-Wing Echo Chamber To The Democratic Debate: Clinton Email Edition

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    During Univision's March 9 Democratic primary debate, moderator Jorge Ramos based two questions on spurious right-wing media talking points when he brought up Hillary Clinton's emails and Benghazi. As a result, the dubious conservative claims have been subsequently amplified throughout the media without acknowledgement that they are based on right-wing media myths that have been debunked by both legal experts and congressional reports and investigations.

    Since it was reported that Clinton used a private email server as secretary of state, right-wing media outlets, often led by Fox News, have repeatedly suggested it's only a matter of time before Clinton is indicted, incorrectly compared Clinton to former CIA director David Petraeus, and dubiously suggested that Clinton herself is the target of the FBI investigation into her private email server. However, numerous legal experts have repeatedly said that Clinton is very unlikely to be criminally charged.

    On March 9, the right-wing media talking points over Clinton's emails were amplified in an unexpected place -- Univision's Democratic presidential primary debate. Moderator Ramos repeated a dishonest claim made by Republicans -- that Clinton's emails have "endangered our national security" -- and asked Clinton "would you drop out of the race if you get indicted?"

    Subsequently, morning shows highlighted Ramos' indictment question, airing footage of it on MSNBC's Morning Joe, CNN's New Day, NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America, and CBS' CBS This Morning. While all of the shows aired the question, most failed to note that it was based on a spurious, worst-case-scenario premise, thus amplifying the right-wing media talking point outside of its usual echo chamber and lending it an air of credibility.

    That was not the only conservative media-fueled talking point to make it into the debate. Ramos also asked Clinton whether she lied to the families of victims of the 2012 Benghazi attacks when she "sent an email to [her] daughter Chelsea saying that Al Qaeda was responsible for" the attacks. The baseless charge, which originated from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) during Clinton's October Benghazi committee testimony, was repeatedly pushed by Fox News as a "smoking gun." However, previous congressional reports and investigations noted early intelligence on the attacks was conflicting and that Clinton's email was consistent with intelligence at that time.

    According to a graph from InsideGov, questions based on Clinton's emails and Benghazi constituted nearly 14 percent of the total debate questions. While Ramos was right to challenge the Democratic candidates, using inaccurate claims based on conservative media talking points as the basis for questions problematically misleads viewers and allows misinformation to spread. Former Meet the Press host David Gregory called Ramos' indictment question "a little too heavy" and "a bit pointed," noting that there's no evidence Clinton is the target of the FBI investigation. Gregory added that just because conservatives have made the claim, it does not mean it's justifiable for journalists to push it, saying, "Just because Donald Trump says it doesn't mean that there's a good basis to, as a journalist, to ask the question."

  • Univision Democratic Debate Revives Benghazi Myth Pushed By Fox News

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Univision anchor Jorge Ramos suggested that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton intentionally misled the public about the perpetrators of the Benghazi attacks during the March 9 Univision/Washington Post Democratic debate by supposedly telling her family that the attack had been conducted by an "Al Qaeda-like group" while telling others that it was due to an anti-Islam video. Ramos' question echoed a baseless allegation originated by a Republican member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi that was repeatedly pushed by Fox News. As the Republican-led House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence concluded, initial intelligence surrounding the attackers' identities and motives was "piecemeal" and "conflicting," leading to shifting descriptions by administration officials.

  • Conservative Media Claim Withheld Clinton Emails Contain Non-Existent Benghazi "Stand Down Order"

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Right-wing media are seizing on news that the State Department will not release some of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails after the Intelligence Community said they contained Top Secret information to baselessly claim that the emails in question include a non-existent "stand down order" issued by Clinton during the 2012 attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

  • Wall Street Journal Columnist Uses 13 Hours To Hype Benghazi Myths And Threaten Hillary Clinton's Presidential Run

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN


    A Wall Street Journal column used the recently released film depicting the Benghazi attacks to revive old myths about the attacks while claiming that the movie "ought to" threaten Hillary Clinton's presidential run.

    Earlier this month, Michael Bay released his latest movie, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Before it hit theaters, conservative media used the film to recycle debunked myths about the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks, including that officials issued a "stand down order" and that no military assistance was sent to Benghazi during the attacks. Right-wing media also hyped the possibility that the movie could "pose a threat to" Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and could raise questions about the attacks that eight congressional probes previously failed to answer. Fox's Megyn Kelly claimed the film "reintroduces Benghazi as a potential campaign issue that cannot be helpful to Mrs. Clinton." Another Fox host argued that "if anyone sees this movie ... and then goes on to vote for Hillary Clinton, they're a criminal."

    In his January 20 column for the Journal, Daniel Henninger asserted, "'13 Hours' is a graphic, reasonably accurate depiction" of the attacks and "makes the memory of the government's tall tale, which it insisted on repeating for more than a week, hard to stomach." That "tale," the claim goes, involves "the Obama administration's YouTube coverup, the story--or 'talking points'--about how an obscure anti-Islamic video made in California caused Benghazi to happen." Henninger also twisted facts to place blame on Hillary Clinton, writing, "There ought to be a political reckoning over this" for Clinton, who "was complicit in a White House concoction she knew the night of the attack was untrue."

    The myths pushed by the conservative media chorus about the film have been repeatedly debunked. According to former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the "stand down order" right-wing media claim occurred on the night of the attacks never happened. Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense during the Bush and Obama administrations, explained military aid was deployed, but was unable to reach Benghazi before the attacks concluded, and called out conservative media's "cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces." Henninger's assertion that the Obama administration attempted to "coverup" the story behind the attacks by blaming a YouTube video has been debunked by Senate Select Committee reviews and the by attackers themselves. The "talking points" Henninger mentioned were edited to avoid revealing what the administration knew to the terrorists groups responsible for the attacks.

    As The Washington Post's Erik Wemple explained, conservative media are "promoting the Bay movie for its potential to revive Benghazi as a problem for Clinton" and in doing so, "acting as an advocacy organization." And Media Matters' David Brock wrote "there's no scandal" in the film or the events it depicts, "only a partisan witch hunt."