The events of September 12, 2013, in Benghazi, Libya, were unambiguously tragic. However, while most Americans would hold the band of terrorists at the scene responsible for the attacks on our diplomatic facility and CIA post, Fox News and Republicans in congress have been fiercely battling to find any excuse to blame President Obama and/or Hillary Clinton.
With the circus sideshow offered today by GOP Representative Darrell Issa’s House committee, the effort to politicize the affair hit a new low. Although much was promised prior to the hearing, there was nothing illuminating that came from it. This was even after Fox pundits repeatedly vowed that the information they knew was going to be unveiled would be shocking and devastating to the administration. Their previews were so emphatic that Stephen Colbert made a point of launching a “Benghazi – Something That Will Make You Mad Clock.”
It’s fair to say that Colbert is furious today. And so are some of the right-wing media fluffers who are appalled that these unproductive hearings were ignored by much of the television press. NewsBusters went to the trouble of compiling the aggregate minutes that each of the cable news networks allotted to the hearings. To no one’s surprise, Fox dominated their competition. But that’s because the Benghazi Show was a Fox News Presentation from get-go. The other networks might have devoted more airtime to the story if there were anything actually newsworthy emanating from it.
What NewsBusters didn’t bother to report to their deluded audience was that all the extra time that Fox spent airing the live hearings was focused largely on Republican members of the committee. Media Matters did their own compilation and discovered that 71% of the 65 minutes they monitored featured GOP members making statements and questioning the witnesses. And that was even after anchor Megyn Kelly announced that their coverage had been unfairly weighted toward Democrats. That, of course, was not true, yet Kelly kept her promise to feature even more Republicans.
Now that the hearings have concluded with no smoking gun – not even a gently glowing ember – we can expect Fox and the GOP to set aside these spurious allegations and pursue some other fabricated scandal. And if you believe that, you haven’t been watching Fox the past 17 years.