This weekend’s episode of the Fox Media Wash …er, I mean Watch, featured a striking demonstration of how oblivious Fox is to their own blatant bias. In a segment addressing how the press has been covering the aftermath of Benghazi, the discussion turned to allegations of a coverup with the help of influential media figures.
Recent reporting asserted that the talking points delivered by Ambassador Susan Rice and others had undergone revisions by analysts within the inter-agency national security apparatus of the administration. Why that is surprising to anyone is puzzling. In fact, what would would be truly unusual is if such talking points were never revised prior to being distributed. It is routine for both intelligence and political operatives to review any sensitive information before it is made public. Those responsible must be certain that there are no releases that might tip off suspects or adversaries, and that no disclosures are made that could hamper future legal proceedings.
Nevertheless, Republicans are attempting to stir this up into a scandalous stew of controversy. And conjoined to their hysterics are allegations that the media is complicit in a coverup that they have so far been unable to define.
Which brings us to the portion of Media Watch wherein Republican spokesman Richard Grenell slithered precariously out on a limb to charge that the credibility of ABC News was irredeemably compromised because the sister of the head of the network works in the Obama administration. Grenell declared unequivocally that due to this relationship there could be no question that ABC was covering for the President.
Grenell: “I think the media’s becoming the story, let’s face it. CBS News President David Rhodes and ABC News President Ben Sherwood, both of them have siblings that not only work at the White House, that not only work for President Obama, but they work at the NSC on foreign policy issues directly related to Benghazi. Let’s call a spade a spade. […] It’s a family matter for some of them. […] They’re covering for them. There’s no question about it.”
It is perfectly reasonable that a familial association be met with some skepticism. We have all seen the mischief that resulted from Fox News putting George W. Bush’s first cousin in charge of the election decision desk in November of 2000 where he was able to call the state of Florida for Bush. However, in this case the suspicions aimed at ABC News seem a bit off the mark considering that it was ABC’s Jonathan Karl who broke the story about the talking points revisions. What’s more, Fox News reported that Karl was the source of the exclusive story and even Fox’s Karl Rove praised him in an op-ed saying that he “produced some excellent new reporting on the Benghazi scandal.” And all of that occurred the day before Grenell’s insinuation of wrongdoing.
So what we have here is a scenario wherein ABC News broke a story that Fox endorsed and applauded on Friday, but forgot about entirely by Saturday. And that was just in time for their Media Watch program to air blanket accusations that the media in general, and ABC in particular, were hopelessly biased in favor of the President. And even though it was ABC’s exclusive that gave Fox their own talking points for the next week, they are still slamming the network that did the report despite the fact that their boss’s sister is on the President’s payroll.
You would think that ignoring family ties in favor of reporting hard news would be evidence of impartiality, but at Fox it’s more important sustain mythical illusions of a liberal media, even if that means they have to pretend that their own prior reporting never existed.
[Update] The ABC News report by Jonathan Karl that Fox News praised before castigating ABC as “without a doubt covering for Obama,” turns out to be fiction. Karl reported that he had actual emails that revealed how the State Department revised the Benghazi talking points. He lied. All he had were “summaries” given to him verbally by a source he would not disclose. Jake Tapper of CNN got the real emails and they showed something far different, and less sordid, than what Karl pretended to have.