Bill O’Reilly jumped on the Benghazi bandwagon tonight in a big way. In a discussion with two Fox News contributors, Ralph Peters and Dave Hunt, O’Reilly echoed the sentiments of Mike Huckabee and floated the idea that President Obama might be impeached or deserve to be impeached as the result of upcoming House hearings on Benghazi. But then, after backtracking and playing the adult, O’Reilly floated the idea that President Obama might bomb Syria to “wag the dog” and divert attention away from Benghazi.
Peters is hardly the poster child for impartial analysis. So selecting him to discuss Benghazi guaranteed a certain result. Sure enough, denying that he’s a conspiracy theorist, Peters announced, “It’s evident… I believe that President Obama lied to the American people, himself. Secretary Clinton lied to Congress, Susan Rice lied to the U.N., Jay Carney lied to the media…”
In a typically sly O’Reilly maneuver, he played the skeptic at the same time that he upped the ante. He replied, “Those are very serious charges, impeachable charges, if proven. How likely are we to get proof this week or going onward about what you believe?”
Peters grabbed at the impeachment bait. “Analytically speaking, the proof was there from the start, if you want to see it. A court of law would have convicted on this amount of evidence,” he said.
Convicted of what? Peters didn’t say. Nor did O’Reilly ask. He didn’t seem to care about seeing “the proof” Peters said was there, either.
Instead, Peters went on to say that at the House hearing on Wednesday, we’ll get “smoking gun” testimony.
Having elicited that damning – albeit unsupported – accusation, O’Reilly went back to playing the skeptic.
Look, we all know the media’s sympathetic to Barack Obama. We all know they nurture him. They root for him and they even promote his policies. That is beyond a reasonable doubt. But in order for any president - Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, whoever it may be - you’ve got to have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. And here – number one, do you agree with me that most people don’t even care about this story right now? They’re not engaged.
…And number two, you’ve gotta have somebody saying, ‘Look, I told Hillary Clinton that it was a terror attack.’ Because remember, we haven’t arrested the terrorists. Nobody’s been arrested. You can’t say, ‘We got Mohammed over here and he’s an Al Qaeda guy.’ Because we haven’t arrested anybody.
Let’s be clear about what O’Reilly did here. He claimed to care about “evidence beyond a reasonable doubt” even as he had just avoided asking for any.
Nontheless, “adult” O’Reilly went on to suggest that Obama might get in the middle of the Syria civil war to distract from Benghazi.
By that time, the discussion had moved on to Syria. Peters said he hoped President Obama would not be “leaping belatedly into the Syrian war because …this administration has no clue what’s really going on in Syria.”
O’Reilly agreed, adding, gratuitously, “You know what Bill Clinton did when he got in trouble with Monica Lewinsky. He started to bomb …to divert attention and the ‘wag the dog’ theory.”
Then, O’Reilly laughably added, “But we’re not going to speculate on that. All we’re going to do is report the facts.”
Much of the drop-off from Fox News was clearly due to their viewers feeling they’d been misled last fall. It’s bad enough to watch their candidate lose, but to be told that the pundits knew this would happen and deliberately spun the numbers another way is depressing for anyone to hear. Things changed a bit when people wanted to see how the right wing would present the Boston Marathon materials.
The current numbers for Fox News reflect the fact that they do have a loyal base of right wing viewers, augmented usually by viewers of more moderate or left wing sensibilities who want to know what the GOP positions are on a variety of issues. There is an inherent curiosity on the left toward points of view that differ from one’s own. I have not noticed a similar curiosity on the right – usually, they’re happy to hear their own opinions presented back to them either on AM radio or on Fox News. Which is why you don’t see right wingers watching liberal stations like MSNBC or listening to truly left wing sources like the Pacifica Network.
It happens, they want Muslim heads.
It comes out that part of the clusterfuck was handling riots that were caused by a hate propaganda video that targeted Muslims. They defended the video.
They presented a phony timeline.
They pretended Obama and Hilary were celebrating it.
Then they started screaming about impeachment- for months.
One committee says that it was poorly handled, but not criminally so. Not good enough for Fox.
Another says the same thing. Not good enough for Fox.
Issa admits he’s gonna railroad it when his committee get their turn. Crickets.
Some nutball who will only talk to one show on one network claims he has a smoking gun that he refuses to disclose. Not suspicious at all, in Foxworld.
More impeachment talk.
Bush didn’t get this much impeachment talk, and he was caught red-handed so many times that there were entire albums of songs written about it. Seriously.
“Mid-level bureaucrats who don’t like the boss don’t get to decide which secrets to give away to the press or to our enemies or to anybody else.”
There’s also a good note that, other than a blip up during the Boston bombing coverage, Fox News has seen its ratings drop. This is not just due to the excuse that we’re not in an election year. This is due to a bunch of right wing viewers turning off the channel in disgust after realizing they got lied to for much of 2012. I don’t think it helped Fox News’ pull with its audience for them to find out that Obama really was ahead in the polls the whole time. Election Day 2012 was a rude surprise to that crowd, particularly after they doubled down in the final days of the campaign. So it’s understandable that they threw up their hands afterwards.
And there’s a crucial piece to the Benghazi story that Fox News regularly ignores or dismisses. The fact is that the Innocence of Muslims YouTube video generated riots across the Middle East and beyond for much of September 2012, resulting in around 75 deaths and nearly 700 injuries. The riots included attacks on multiple US Embassies and installations, footage of which was initially shown on Fox News as a way of trying to pillory President Obama from that perspective. The attack in Libya was initially thought to be part of the riots, partly due to people who were there saying that the attackers were mentioning the video. The attack was on the same day that riots were breaking out all over the area, and so was considered part of the general unrest. The State Department was actually dealing with calls for help from multiple places and was doing the best it could to deal with everything at the same time.
The Fox News meme that the Obama Administration was somehow being silly by discussing the impact of the video assumes that the viewers don’t know or remember what was happening. At the time, Fox News was running with the idea that “The Middle East is on fire and what is Obama doing about it?” When the consulate deaths in Benghazi were reported, Fox News then jumped on that for the historic element of the ambassador having been killed. As is appropriate, an internal report was conducted by the State Department to examine the responses given not only to the Benghazi attack but to everything else that was going on that day, and this was all vetted at the time. Fox News hoped to pull the Benghazi element out and spotlight it as a way of showing Obama to be weak in an area that they had been forced to concede after the killing of bin Laden. When this failed to get any traction, they doubled down, leading to Romney making a critical error and humiliating himself during the second debate. When it became obvious this would not be a winning issue, the right wing settled for blaming Candy Crowley for Romney’s error.
The current obsession with the story seems less about finding any real wrongdoing than airing the policy grievances of some disgruntled officials through the lens of GOP operatives like Victoria Toensing. The intent seems to be a smear campaign against President Obama (so they can tout this as his Katrina or something like that in years to come) and against Hillary Clinton to try to preempt her next run for the Oval Office in 2016. It’s fairly transparent and I don’t think it’s working on anyone that isn’t already in the Fox News circle.
Blush Bill, your partisanship is showing.
Fux’s crack legal team of Megyn KKKelly and KKKimberly Guilfoyle will make up out something later for the goobers. And they will throw in a lot of leg shots.
Benghazi is a Fux Noise bashorama trifecta. Verbally bash those evil terrorist Moo-slims. Bash that Moo-slim socialist Kenyan President. Bash Hillary Clinton in anticipation of the 2016 Presidential election.
While Fox and the right pretends to care about the 4 dead in Benghazi they say nothing about all the dead children and adults from gun violence.
As the Obama State Department people have said, there is nothing new to these statements – it was all part of the report done at the time. Further, the idea that these guys are somehow “whistleblowers” afraid of “retaliation” is laughable on its face, particularly when they are represented by Victoria Toensing, who’s known as a GOP operative. If Toensing was really concerned about retaliatory measures being taken by a rogue administration, perhaps she might have dealt with the Bush people’s treatment of Valerie Plame and the firing of the Justice Department attorneys, rather than spending the time that she did dismissing people’s real concerns about those abuses of power.
I was personally shocked to see that there was NOBODY on any of the prime time shows who voiced any of the facts about this matter. Juan Williams put in the smallest and mildest of “Well I don’t know…” moments, but he never voiced anything other than a congenial encouragement of O’Reilly’s conspiracy theories. For two hours straight, the viewer was given a steady stream of vitriol and hatred aimed at the Obama White House and an almost tangible air of anticipation about an imaginary impeachment Fox News wishes they could see happen. I’ll give Greta that she was a little too busy with the crime blotter cases to spend more than a single segment – albeit with a VERY concerned Lindsay Graham, natch.
It’s curious to see how many times Fox News has tried to ring the bell of impeachment about President Obama. It’s as though they’ve been casting about, looking for some way to try to embarass him or attack him on every front, and occasionally these bleats about impeachment come back up again. And every time, the situation is shown to be far less than the story that Fox News and AM radio have presented. But we never hear an apology or an acknowledgment of wrongdoing. Or did I miss O’Reilly and Hannity admitting they were wrong about Joe Sestak?
Right, BillO — and, if President Obama DOESN’T bomb Syria, you’ll suggest he’s being “weak on terror.”
This cartoon says it all:
And, of course, there’s Mr GOP himself, St Ronnie of Raygun, whose administration was comprised of liars—perhaps names like Oliver North and G Gordon Liddy sound familiar? And some people—okay ME—would include Raygun in that list of liars.