Wednesday marks the one year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead and sent the Obama administration scrambling for a cover story that the Big Three broadcast networks initially bought and were slow to unravel.
A similar pattern has emerged in 2013. As new information about the administration’s actions before and after the attacks have been revealed through congressional testimony, whistleblowers, and eyewitnesses, the Big Three have responded by censoring, breezing past or spinning politically damaging bombshells. (full special report after the jump)
From praising Hillary Clinton’s January testimony on Benghazi as a “fiery” “valedictory” to ignoring accusations of witness intimidation, the networks have, for the most part, operated as an arm of the White House PR machine. The only events that drew truly critical coverage were Gregory Hicks’ compelling testimony of the events of that tragic day and the release of e-mails that proved the administration had engaged in scrubbing CIA talking points. However these stories came in the midst of the intense but relatively brief period in May that the networks were forced to cover the myriad of scandals (IRS, AP, NSA) breaking all at once.
But when it was revealed, in July, that Benghazi survivors, State Department and CIA employees were being forced to sign non-disclosure agreements the Big Three networks responded with a yawn, offering not one single story.
The following is a chronological list of key developments in the Benghazi scandal and how they were covered or not covered on ABC’s World News, Good Morning America, CBS’s Evening News, This Morning, and NBC’s Nightly News and Today show.
Hillary’s ‘What Difference at This Point Does It Make?’ Hearing Performance Praised
On January 23 Hillary Clinton came before Congress to testify about her State Department’s bungling of Benghazi, and when pressed about how the administration misled about the causes of the raid coldly pronounced: “The fact is we have four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans. What difference, at this point, does it make?” The reaction of network anchors and reporters wasn’t to condemn the chilling dodge, but to herald it as a moment of righteous indignation.
On the January 23 edition of ABC’s World News, anchor Diane Sawyer announced: “And now we turn to the fiery appearance for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton...The indignation, and then, the tears in her eyes...It was a valedictory that showed her indignation and emotion as she ends this tenure on the public stage.” Her colleague Martha Raddatz added: “What a way to end her four-year tenure as Secretary of State...a month a go, she was flat on her back with a nasty concussion,” but “today, this woman who has traveled the world as America’s top diplomat, came to the Hill ready for a fight.” Raddatz touted that Clinton was “in rare public form, at times angry, aggressively on the defense. At another point, choking up over her four lost colleagues.”
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams began his newscast that night announcing that Clinton “leaves her post as the most admired woman in the world in the Gallup poll, for the 11th year in a row.” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell offered a rave review: “Parrying hostile questions all day, Clinton was also the political pro. Massaging big egos, sidestepping attacks when she could. When she couldn’t, giving as good as she got.”
Over on CBS Margaret Brennan, on the January 23 This Morning, was impressed at how Clinton “fiercely defended the office that she will soon be leaving” and “took ownership of the State Department’s handling of the attack.”
Total Big Three Network stories/briefs: 23 (NBC 4 stories/5 briefs, CBS 5 stories/3 briefs, ABC 4 stories/2 briefs)
Panetta Testimony Reveals Obama Was Disengaged During Benghazi, ABC Ignores
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Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/geoffrey-dickens/2013/09/09/benghazi-blackout-how-big-three-networks-have-censored-or-spun-oba#ixzz2eRxOFjBW