While NBC, ABC, and CBS all covered the new Senate Intelligence
Committee report blaming the Obama administration for security failures
leading up to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, none of the coverage on Wednesday's evening newscasts or Thursday's morning shows mentioned President Obama by name.
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams announced: "...a scathing report just issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It says the deaths could have been prevented by better security, better communication....And the State Department, they say, gets most of the blame." CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley declared: "A critical report tonight blames American diplomats and intelligence officers for failing to prevent the attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya."
The closest any of the reporting came to including President Obama in the scandal was on ABC's World News,
when correspondent Jonathan Karl explained: "The conclusions, there
were 'no protests' prior to the attacks, as the White House first
claimed." Footage of Obama appeared on screen as Karl spoke.
Moments later, Karl added: "On one key point, the report backs up the White House. It says there were 'no U.S. military resources' nearby that could have helped defend the compound. In fact, both the State Department and Ambassador Stevens himself turned down an offer from the military to keep a special forces unit in Libya a month before the attacks."
While NBC's Today and CBS This Morning provided full Benghazi reports on Thursday, ABC's Good Morning America only offered an eighteen-second news brief on the topic, with news reader Amy Robach noting: "A bipartisan Senate investigation spreading the blame for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, saying the State Department, military, and intelligence community are all at fault for missing warning signs."
On CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell used similar language: "The review spreads the blame around many agencies. It even criticizes the U.S. Ambassador killed in the attack." Correspondent Nancy Cordes elaborated: "The report finds that the ambassador himself may have sent mixed messages. He did warn the State Department about security problems in Libya, but he also turned down a military offer to extend a troop that was guarding him."
On Today, Peter Alexander told viewers: "More than sixteen months later, the deadly attacks in Benghazi are still fueling heated debate over exactly what went wrong there and who's to blame. This new Senate report sharply criticizes both the State Department and the CIA for poor communication and insufficient security."
The networks were happy to name plenty of people and agencies blamed for the failures – even including one of the victims of the attack, Ambassador Stevens. However, they were unwilling to acknowledge that all those players were part of the Obama administration.
— Kyle Drennen is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.