Human Events Blog

CBS News suppressed 60 Minutes video to protect Obama on Benghazi

There’s no way to spin this – it’s pure, unadulterated, blatantly obvious media bias, in which information extremely damaging to Barack Obama was kept from the public, to protect the President at a moment of crisis.

CBS News has finally revealed the full contents of the interview Barack Obama gave to Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” on September 12, 2012 – the day after the terrorist attack in Benghazi, which the President and his people would go on to misrepresent as a “spontaneous protest” for weeks, in addition to stonewalling every inquiry into their handling of consular security before and during the attack.

CBS kept crucial moments from the discussion of Benghazi in this interview buried for five weeks, at which point they released a section that many observers thought was damaging to Obama, but others cited as evidence that he wasn’t really lying about the nature of the attack, because he always knew it was a terrorist strike.  (Why anyone would think that an unaired interview segment nobody outside of CBS News saw would somehow exonerate Obama from charges of lying to the public remains a mystery.)

But it turns out CBS was still playing games.  They withheld one more little snippet of that interview until yesterday, and the last piece of the puzzle invalidates efforts to use the previous dribbles of information from the “60 Minutes” memory hole to build an “Obama always said this was terrorism” narrative.  Here, for the very first time – 53 days after the interview occurred – is the full exchange between Steve Kroft and Barack Obama:

KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack?

OBAMA: Well it’s too early to know exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans.  And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.

KROFT: But there are reports that they were very heavily armed with grenades, that doesn’t sound like your normal demonstration.

OBAMA:  As I said, we’re still investigating exactly what happened, I don’t want to jump the gun on this.   But your right that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt.   And my suspicion is there are folks involved in this. Who were looking to target Americans from the start.  So we’re gonna make sure that our first priority is to get our folks out safe, make sure our embassies are secured around the world and then we are going to go after those folks who carried this out.

All of this was kept from the public until October 19, at which point the passage beginning “But there are reports…” was released.  Kroft’s first question, aka “The Proof Mitt Romney Was 100 Percent Correct In the Second Presidential Debate,” was kept hidden until now.

As Brett Baier points out at Fox News (aka “The Only Network Reporting On This Story Instead Of Covering Obama’s Posterior”) this would all have been very helpful to know during, or immediately after, the second presidential debate, because it completely destroys what freelance Obama campaign operative Candy Crowley did to protect the President.  Obama should have been destroyed on the spot when Romney confronted him about Benghazi; Crowley helped Obama squirm out of it and live to fight another day; everyone at CBS who saw the unedited tape of this interview knew Crowley and Obama were wrong, and Romney was right.

Baier has a list of questions, written in the comfortable knowledge that only his own network, and a few isolated journalists sprinkled across the media landscape, will ask them:

Why did CBS release a clip that appeared to back up Obama’s claim in the second debate on Oct. 19, a few days before the foreign policy debate, and not release the rest of that interview at the beginning?

Why on the Sunday before the election, almost six weeks after the attack, at 6 p.m. does an obscure online timeline posted on CBS.com contain the additional “60 Minutes” interview material from Sept. 12?

Why wasn’t it news after the president said what he said in the second debate, knowing what they had in that “60 Minutes” tape — why didn’t they use it then? And why is it taking Fox News to spur other media organizations to take the Benghazi story seriously?

Whatever your politics, there are a lot of loose ends here, a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of strange political maneuvers that don’t add up.

That’s what reporters should live for, but this time they’re not.  We will.

Not for the first time, it’s remarkable to observe how much of the Left’s jihad against Fox News is actually displaced, projected rage over what liberal networks do on a regular basis.  Whatever its editorial slant might be, Fox has never done anything comparable to CBS News’ faked Bush National Guard memos, or the Benghazi blackout.  It’s a pity the Romney campaign can’t advertise what will surely be one of the great benefits of his prospective presidency: a media that actually reports stories damaging to the Administration, instead of burying them.

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