My alternate headline for this item: “NBC’s Today Show on Benghazi: ‘There Are So Many Issues the Country Faces. This Is One of Them.’” That dismissive attitude came from ABC News veteran Mark Halperin, now MSNBC’s senior political analyst who also toils for Time magazine, putting the burden on Republican to make an issue of Obama administration dishonesty on Benghazi.
Failing to see any role for the news media after months of malfeasance, Halperin put the burden on a political party: “I think the events of this week mean Republicans now have a chance to make the case to the American people. There are so many issues the country faces. This is one of them.”
Over on CBS This Morning: Saturday, Mike Allen, one of the Washington Post reporters who created Politico, excused the Obama administration dissembling as “bureaucracies behaving the way bureaucracies behave,” before marveling it’s “now blowing up in a way that people couldn’t have predicted even a couple of weeks ago.”
Without any acknowledgment of overall media failure, Allen noted: “They’ve been sort of percolating among Republicans and among the conservative media, but now there are real questions about whether the American people were intentionally misled.”
If only we had a news media with any interest in pursuing that question.
Mark Halperin, on the Saturday, May 11 Today:
The real issue, again, is the credibility. There were changes made and they weren’t truthful over the last few months about the changes. The real question, again, for accountability of our government, is why? Why were people at the State Department, including people close to Secretary Clinton, why were they interested in making changes? Partly it was related to the CIA, but partly Republicans are asking and the country should ask, was any of it related to the politics in advance of the presidential election?
ERICA HILL: And are we going to get that answer?
HALPERIN: Well, we’ll see over the coming days. What Republicans have asked for months is for the press to pay attention to it, for the public to be engaged to ask questions. Why did these things happen in a very complicated and tragic story. I think the events of this week mean Republicans now have a chance to make the case to the American people. There are so many issues the country faces. This is one of them. The question is, is it enough -- have enough questions been answered? The White House, the State Department, they’re going to have to answer more. We’ll see how long that takes.
Politico’s Mike Allen on CBS This Morning: Saturday:
There’s lot of evidence that this is bureaucracies behaving the way bureaucracies behave. The CIA was trying to push the State Department under the bus, the State Department was trying to stick up for itself, but it’s now blowing up in a way that people couldn’t have predicted even a couple of weeks ago. They’ve been sort of percolating among Republicans and among the conservative media, but now there are real questions about whether the American people were intentionally misled.
-- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here  to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.