The highly anticipated and vitally important House Oversight Committee hearing on the deadly Benghazi terrorist attack resulted in several key pieces of information being revealed, bringing the country one step closer to knowing the truth about what really happened on Sept. 11, 2012, at the U.S. compound in Libya.
Three brave whistleblowers came forward on Wednesday and confirmed that there was, in fact, a firm “stand down” order given after the U.S. compound in Benghazi came under attack. Whistleblower Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya and the highest ranking official in the country at the time of the attacks, testified that he was “effectively” demoted shortly after questioning talking points that later proved to be demonstrably false. Hicks also revealed that he was told not to speak with an investigating Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) alone.
So, how did the mainstream media cover the story? Well, kind of like it has since the attack occurred — lightly. TheBlaze conducted a review of various outlets’ coverage on Wednesday night at around 8 p.m. CT and took screengrabs of several front pages and accumulated some video. Let’s just go outlet-by-outlet, print and TV, and analyze the coverage.
To its credit, the Huffington Post did have a Benghazi story relatively high on its front page. However, its headline read: “Benghazi Hearing Reveals Incompetence, But No Cover-Up.” The site had some of the important information included in its report, though it was not one of its lead stories.
CNN’s website led with the Jodi Arias trial and the Ohio kidnappings. There was no mention of the Benghazi hearing anywhere near the top of the front page. However, after scrolling down the page, a small photo and accompanying link was visible under “politics.”
CBSNews.com also led with the Ohio kidnapping case. Despite the fact that its report headlined, “Benghazi ‘whistleblowers’ head to House committee,” was the most popular story, the top of its front page was dedicated to other stories.
Featured stories on CBS News’ website revolved around the Jodi Arias trial, “awkward moms,” the Boston bombings and several stories on the Ohio kidnappings. About halfway down the page there was a story on the sidebar about the Benghazi hearing. “U.S. diplomats describe night of Benghazi attack.” There was also an additional Benghazi story at the very bottom of the page under “politics.”
It should be noted that CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson has been reporting consistently on Benghazi. However, that doesn’t mean her stories always gets the front page treatment.
Further, Politico reported on Wednesday that CBS News is growing “increasingly frustrated” with Attkisson’s Benghazi reporting. Unnamed network sources told Politico that CBS News executives see the reporter “wading dangerously close to advocacy” on the issue.
Fox News was the outlier. Both the Fox News Channel and FoxNews.com provided wall-to-wall coverage for the first few hours of the hearing and continued with steady coverage throughout the day and night.
If you can believe it, out of all the news sites TheBlaze analyzed (other than Fox News), NBCNews.com gave the Benghazi hearing the most prominent placement at the very top of its front page. It wasn’t the lead story, but it was clearly visible at the top of the site. Like the other news sites, there was an additional link to a hearing-related story under “politics” near the bottom of the page.
Following the trend, ABCNews.com did not lead with the Benghazi hearing on Wednesday evening. Topping its website was the Ohio kidnapping and the Jodi Arias trial, much like its counterparts. About seven links down ABC had a story about the hearing in the “latest headlines” tab. Again, the news site also included a link near the bottom of the front page under “politics.”
TheBlaze.com, led with the Benghazi hearing throughout the day and into the night. Further, four of the top eight stories in terms of front page placement were about the House Oversight Committee hearing on the terror attacks at the same time we viewed the other news sites. TheBlaze TV also provided wall-to-wall coverage and analysis all day.
That brings us to TV coverage, which tends to be a lot less objective than online/print media. Though there are likely more, all of the clips we found in our initial sweep of networks downplaying the Benghazi hearings belong to MSNBC/NBC.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow lumped Benghazi into several other GOP “conspiracies,” including concerns about the government stockpiling ammunition.
“The market for this stuff does not stop at the fringe,” she said.
Another MSNBC host, Chris Matthews, argued that Republicans just want to “blame President Obama and Hillary Clinton for this thing called Benghazi. Matthews and MSNBC led with the Ohio kidnapping case.
Watch a part of his Wednesday show via CNN/Washington Free Beacon:
Before the hearing, NBC’s Chuck Todd and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough agreed that the GOP’s Benghazi “conspiracy theory” is not the “holy grail” or the “pathway to victory in 2014.” Neither one appeared to consider that maybe politics is not the driving factor behind the pursuit of the truth in the Benghazi case.
“For this conspiracy theory that some people believe is out there — that the White House was trying to downplay a terrorist attack because of the election — then they did a really poor job of it. Because within three or four days, it was pretty clear to the entire world this was a terrorist attack from a group that had some sort of extremist Al Qaeda ties,” Todd noted.
Watch via MSNBC/Mediaite:
Coverage and analysis after the hearing’s conclusion appeared to be scarce on the major TV networks.
How do you feel about the coverage given to the Benghazi hearings by the mainstream media? Did they provide enough?