Human Events Blog

The media internalizes the Benghazi narrative

In the course of observing that President Obama’s massive foreign policy triumph in Egypt has somehow turned into an Islamist basket case teetering on the edge of civil war, Mark Steyn noticed a paragraph from an NBC News report that said:

 The film, which insulted the prophet Muhammad, sparked violent protests and attacks on U.S. embassies across the Middle East when it was released in September. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in what is now accepted as a terrorist attack during a protest at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The “film” in question, of course, is the YouTube video trailer for “Innocence of Muslims,” which the Obama Administration falsely and deliberately blamed for the Benghazi attack.  The maker of that film, who apparently has more names than Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, is currently cooling his heels in an American jail, charged with something-or-other.  An Egyptian court went a step further, and sentenced the guy to death.

As Steyn pointed out, it’s remarkable how casually NBC dropped the entirely discredited “spontaneous video protest” narrative into its report:

As every sentient being now knows (see M Walsh, A McCarthy, P Kirsanow, etc, below), there was no movie “protest” in Benghazi. None. But, two-and-a-half months on, NBC News still thinks those four corpses are something to do with this guy Yousseff. Maybe we should just cut to the chase and get some American judge to sentence him to death for quadruple homicide.

Which made me think of a paragraph from the L.A. Times I encountered this morning, while reading up on the latest misadventures of propaganda dispenser and Secretary of State hopeful Susan Rice:

Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) met with Rice on Wednesday afternoon at her request to discuss their concern that she had misled the public about the nature of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. The senators and other GOP lawmakers have criticized Rice for originally portraying the attack as an outgrowth of a spontaneous demonstration, rather than a terrorist attack, which officials now believe it was.

(Emphasis mine.)  To read this masterpiece of disinformation, you would think a sizable number of serious intelligence officials honestly believed there was a big “spontaneous demonstration” in Benghazi on the eve of the attack, and only recently discovered some bombshell new information that changed their minds.  On the contrary, there was never any evidence for the entirely fictional “video protest”; everyone in the military and intelligence communities knew it was a terror attack while the mortar rounds were still flying.  The highlighted sentence in the L.A. Times article is so clumsy that it smacks of hasty last-minute editing, performed by someone with instructions to ensure that every single Benghazi article take elaborate pains to make the Administration narrative sound vaguely plausible.

There has been much discussion of how liberal media bias works.  In its current incarnation it takes three distinct forms.  The most outrageous, and uncommon, occurs when the media indulges in a blatant fraud, like Dan Rather’s fake National Guard memos from 2004.  The more invidious form of media bias comes from what they choose not to report, such as what actually happened after Barack Obama wrapped up his heroic “red tape will be cut, operators are standing by to assist you” photo op in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

And perhaps the most dangerous form of media bias is repetition… the construction of a narrative.  Stories damaging to the media’s preferred candidates are never tied together into a coherent narrative – you don’t see links drawn between Event A, Speech B, and Subcommittee Hearing C.  You’re not constantly reminded of inconvenient things the beloved candidate said last year, last month, or last week.  But thoughts the media does want you to hold are constantly insinuated into every news story, presented without fanfare as water-cooler wisdom, until people who have no real idea what they’re talking about regurgitate the preferred narrative reflexively, during casual conversation.

Nearly every mainstream media story about Susan Rice is peppered with these little nuggets of poppycock.  The goal is to make low-information Americans wonder why on Earth those mean old Republicans could possibly vent their sexism and racism on that nice lady, who just made an innocent mistake when she couldn’t possibly have known any better… a week after the people who prepared her talking points listened, in real time, to ex-SEALs calling for backup and air support against the attack force that boiled out of terrorist training camps everyone knew were in Benghazi, lugging heavy weapons that no “spontaneous protester” would carry, and saying nothing about any offensive YouTube videos.

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