In case there’s any doubt that Fox News operates as an arm of the Republican Party, watch Bill O’Reilly demand that Republicans subpoena Leon Panetta to testify about Benghazi. And watch how Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), instead of telling O’Reilly to mind his own business, nods like an underling getting orders from his boss.
What Fox News and Republicans think they’re going to accomplish with this fixation on Benghazi is beyond me. As I wrote a few nights ago, when O’Reilly announced he was “making Jon Stewart understand America,” even O’Reilly acknowledges there’s no proof that anything untoward has happened. Meanwhile, Fox is obsessing over President Obama’s supposed cover up of not calling the attack “a terrorist attack.” Even though Obama called it an “act of terror.”
During his interview with Chaffetz last night, O’Reilly asked if Chaffetz' committee, which is investigating Benghazi, has any proof “that (then) Secretary of Defense Panetta told the president, on the day of the Benghazi attack, it was a terrorist action? Can you prove it?”
In short, Chaffetz could not, at least not to O’Reilly’s satisfaction. Jabbing his finger at the camera, O’Reilly demanded, “Why haven’t you gotten Panetta in? …He’s the key! He’s the one! Put him under oath! …You can pull him in!"
You could see that Chaffetz was surprised at this turn in what he must have expected would be a typically Republican-friendly Fox News interview, especially on Benghazi.
And see how Chaffetz sucked up: “I vote for that absolutely.”
O’Reilly started shouting even louder and gesticulating more emphatically:
Well, get it done! …Panetta is it! And nobody has asked him under oath if he told his boss, the president, the Commander-in-Chief, that it was a terror attack! If Panetta says that, all hell breaks loose! And you guys haven’t done it!
…You know as well as I do, Congressman, who the key witness is here. And this has been going on a long time. And I’m getting damn frustrated with the Congress of the United States. There’s one man that you need to put under oath and that man is Leon Panetta. I’ll give you his phone number and address in Monterey, California. You need to get that man in and solve this for the country.
…You guys should have done it long before this. I don’t want to have to be the interrogator here. My job is to get stuff on the record. But you guys have subpoena power and I hope you use it.
If there was some real daylight between Fox News and Republicans, Chaffetz would have acknowledged, maybe even praised, O’Reilly’s concerns and then gone ahead and explained what his committee was actually doing. In a polite fashion, which I’m sure Chaffetz has practice in, he could have made it clear that he answers to the people in his Congressional District, not O’Reilly.
Instead, check out the obedient look in Chaffetz’ eyes as he nodded his understanding of O’Reilly’s demands.
And then you tell me that Republicans don’t know that Fox is a powerful wing of their political operation.
Excellent point about the subpoena power. Who has it, the chairman of the committee?