The House on Thursday voted to create a select committee to investigate Benghazi, but NBC's Today, a four hour program, on Friday totally ignored the story. In contrast, the show spent two minutes on the topic of how many times a week people should shower. ABC's Good Morning America allowed a mere 12 seconds for the latest details. News reader Amy Robach emphasized, "Republicans on Capitol Hill are opening an eighth investigation into the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi." She added, "Today, Democrats are meeting to decide whether to boycott the new investigation, calling it election year politics."
CBS This Morning offered a scant 15 seconds. Co-host Charlie Rose quickly derided, "Thursday's vote to create the committee stayed mostly along party lines with 225 Republicans voting in favor. Only seven Democrats backed the probe." On Thursday, CBS's Nancy Cordes featured Democrats such as Congressman Gerry Connolly complaining, "For political reasons, to keep the base fired up between now and the midterm elections." [MP3 audio here.]
Though the coverage of this latest investigation has been minimal, the reporting that exists neatly follows Democratic talking points: Efforts to dismiss the select committee as nothing more than a partisan stunt.
On Thursday night, ABC avoided Benghazi. NBC managed 27 seconds.
CBS devoted a full report, but Cordes appeared again to highlight: "Even before the vote to create it, Democrats were threatening to boycott the new Benghazi committee."
Writing in Politico, National Review editor Rich Lowry argued:
The Democrats and their allies are in the grips of Benghazi denial. They think the Republican notion of a scandal is a complete hoax. Yes, a mistake was made here or there, but otherwise, nothing to see here.
The deniers evidently believe:
An administration should be able to make erroneous statements about a terror attack that killed a U.S. ambassador in the weeks before a presidential election and expect everyone to accept its good intentions afterward.
An administration should be able to withhold a bombshell White House email from congressional investigators and expect everyone to greet its long-delayed release with a yawn.
An administration should be able to send out its press secretary to abase himself with absurd denials of the obvious and expect everyone to consider its credibility solidly intact.
If there is indeed nothing left to learn, then the White House and Democrats can cooperate with the select committee without fear and watch it hang itself. Instead, every indication is that they will stall, mock and disrupt. Because there’s nothing to see here.
In the interest of journalistic fairness, it would be nice if this argument received more attention from network reporters.
A transcript of the ABC and CBS reports from Friday, which aired at 7:08 and 7:31am ET, are below:
AMY ROBACH: Republicans on Capitol Hill are opening an eighth investigation into the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Today, Democrats are meeting to decide whether to boycott the new investigation, calling it election year politics.
CHARLIE ROSE: Politico looks at the House committee set up to investigate the deadly attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Thursday's vote to create the committee stayed mostly along party lines with 225 Republicans voting in favor. Only seven Democrats backed the probe.