Once upon a time CNN was known as the “Clinton News Network”-and for good reason.
Let’s just say that romance is so over. CNN’s Anderson Cooper obtained slain ambassador Christopher Stevens’s diary, and reported that Stevens had written that he was concerned for his security, and “and specifically about the rise in Islamist extremism and growing al Qaeda presence.” This completely contradicted Hillary Clinton’s claim that Stevens had never, ever given any inkling about his concerns.
In response, the State Department has gone completely non-linear on CNN about this:
‘Given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting,’ Mr Reines [a Foggy Bottom spokesman-and personal spokesflack for HRC] said in his statement.
‘Whose first instinct is to remove from a crime scene the diary of a man killed along with three other Americans serving our country, read it, transcribe it, email it around your newsroom for others to read and then call the family?’
First, an aside: note the reversion to the bad old days of treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue: “remove from a crime scene.” Is that what the consulate in Benghazi is? A crime scene? On 9/11? Seriously? Tragically, I think he is.
Second, the intensity of the State Department response is rather, uhm, undiplomatic. Although they are framing their outrage in terms of the violation of Stevens’s family privacy, it is clear that their anger derives first, foremost, and almost exclusively from the highly damaging nature of the revelations. (Indeed, hiding behind the family makes their attack all the more disgusting, as hard as that is to wrap one’s head around.) This demolishes every aspect of the pathetic narrative that the White House, Hillary, and Susan Rice have attempted to spin in order to obscure the ugly facts. That a US ambassador was left virtually defenseless in an extremely violent area crawling with Salfist jihadis, and notably lacking in Chicago-esque gun control laws (which obviously are so efficacious).
Would that the State Department was as vituperative in addressing our adversaries. Please contrast this, for instance, with the “thank you sir may I have another” response to Russia’s ejecting USAID for having the temerity of supporting democracy in Russia.
I wonder if CNN will hit back, or whether it will get its mind right. Sadly, I am betting on the latter.
But it gets better. Or worse, depending on how you look at it. When a reporter queried the SD on the whole fiasco, the aboveforementioned Phillipe (!) Reines snarled back at the offending questioning reporter in an email exchange that culminated with Phillipe (!) telling the reporter to “fuck off.”
When questioned about this on 60 Minutes (and I use the term “questioning” very generously, given the, uhm, Lewinskyish approach of Steven Kroft), Obama said that there had been a “few bumps in the road” in the Middle East. Although the usual suspects screamed that to say that Obama was referring to the Benghazi fiasco was to rip his remarks out of context, given the events in the ME, of which the attack on the consulate and the killing of Ambassador Stevens is certainly the most important, it beggars the imagination that there is any context in which Obama’s remarks were anything but desperate and offensive.
But in the best-defense-is-a-good-offense tradition,to the administration it is not Obama’s remarks that are desperate and offensive, it is questioning him about them that is. The loathsome Jay Carney (who actually makes me pine for the somewhat less loathsome Robert Gibbs, as unimaginable as that is), ripped into the rather inoffensive Ann Compton for having the indecency to ask: “The complaint this morning about the line ‘bump in the road’ is not that it’s minimizing the Arab Spring but that it’s minimizing the death, the violent death, of the U.S. Ambassador, three others and — what, when he said ‘bump in the road,’ did he mean? Not to draw parallels, not to define that event in Benghazi?”
To which the preternaturally offensive Carney (who should really follow his name and become a carnival barker-if they’ll have him, which is doubtful, having standards like they do) replied: “I appreciate the question Ann because that assertion is both desperate and offensive.”
Hey, Jay. I suggest you follow Phillipe’s (!) advice to the reporter. Or, as Clint said-why don’t you try something physically impossible?
As Walter Russell Meade has noted, the media would be baying like hounds after a wounded fox had Bush suffered such an egregious series of failures in the ME, but is averting its gaze from the implosion of Obama’s ME policy (such as it is), and the callous and obfuscatory response to these failures.
In ’96, Robert Dole rather pathetically asked “Where’s the outrage”? 1996 pales in comparison to what is happening today: the reasons for outrage are far greater now. But barely a peep of protest is heard from the legacy media and the alleged cultural and political elite. Indeed, most of the media remains silent when the administration unleashes search-and-destroy missions against rather well-respected colleagues for having the audacity-the audacity!-to report facts and ask obvious questions. All out of political allegiance and expediency. And that is truly desperate and offensive.