Thursday, October 22, 2015

Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald Calls Out Media For Enabling The Benghazi Committee's Partisan "Political Theater"

Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald called out the media for promoting the misleading and "deceitful information" released by the House Select Committee on Benghazi in an ongoing effort to hurt Hillary Clinton's poll numbers, as it is becoming "increasingly clear they are enablers of an obscene attempt to undermine the electoral process."

In his October 21 "Benghazi Biopsy," Eichenwald describes the Benghazi Committee as a "taxpayer-funded political research of the opposing party's leading candidate for president." He goes on to criticize the media for parroting the committee's numerous false claims, from misleading characterizations of Susan Rice's supposedly deceptive Sunday morning show talking points, to the persistent "stand down" ordermyth, to the incorrect assertion that Clinton personally signed off on a cable weakening the security at the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi. 

Eichenwald points out that the media have been routinely duped by the committee's "bogus 'scoops.'" In fact, the media play a crucial role in the committee's partisan efforts to target Clinton. As Eichenwald puts it, "the modern McCarthys of the Benghazi committee cannot perform this political theater on their own -- they depend on reporters to aid in the attempts to use government for the purpose of destroying others with bogus 'scoops' ladled out by members of Congress and their staffs":

But, as they have time and again, the Republicans on the Benghazi committee released deceitful information for what was undoubtedly part of a campaign--as Kevin McCarthy of the House Republican leadership has admitted--to drive down Clinton's poll numbers.

[...]

The historical significance of this moment can hardly be overstated, and it seems many Republicans, Democrats and members of the media don't fully understand the magnitude of what is taking place. The awesome power of government--one that allows officials to pore through almost anything they demand and compel anyone to talk or suffer the shame of taking the Fifth Amendment--has been unleashed for purely political purposes. It is impossible to review what the Benghazi committee has done as anything other than taxpayer-funded political research of the opposing party's leading candidate for president. Comparisons from America's past are rare. Richard Nixon's attempts to use the IRS to investigate his perceived enemies come to mind. So does Senator Joseph McCarthy's red-baiting during the 1950s, with reckless accusations of treason leveled at members of the State Department, military generals and even the secretary of the Army. But the modern McCarthys of the Benghazi committee cannot perform this political theater on their own--they depend on reporters to aid in the attempts to use government for the purpose of destroying others with bogus "scoops" ladled out by members of Congress and their staffs. These journalists will almost certainly join the legions of shamed reporters of the McCarthy era as it becomes increasingly clear they are enablers of an obscene attempt to undermine the electoral process.

[...]

Unlike almost every congressional committee investigation in history, the [Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy] has insisted that much of the relevant questioning be conducted behind closed doors.

[...]

The other reason to keep the testimony secret has rapidly become clear: so that they can selectively--and often incorrectly--portray to reporters what was said in the statements.

[...]

Other false stories repeatedly found their way into the press. There was the "criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton" article that appeared in The New York Times; once the story was knocked down, the Times sheepishly acknowledged its sources included officials from Congress. (The "Clinton is under criminal investigation" story has continued; she's not.) The Daily Beast falsely reported that Blumenthal testified he was in Libya on the day of the Benghazi attack.

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