In a new variation of what Politico's Michael Hirsh deemed the "Benghazi-industrial complex," Fox News is suggesting that the Obama administration's strategy to push back against the network's Benghazi misinformation amounts to a cover-up.
Writing in Politico Magazine, Hirsh highlighted what he called the "Benghazi-Industrial Complex," the GOP's tactic to use Benghazi conspiracy theories to make former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "so disgusted by the prospect of running that she'll stay out of the race" for president in 2016. Hirsh explained how Fox News has led the way in this campaign, creating outlandish conspiracy theories such as the claim that "Hillary staged her concussion in 2012" to avoid addressing Benghazi on the Sunday news shows. Hirsh continued:
Fox, in fact, has made Benghazi a permanent part of its programming, mentioning the word on no fewer than 1,101 programs in the past year, according to Nexis. The chyron "Benghazi" is almost as much of a permanent fixture on Fox as "Breaking News" is on CNN.
Fox News has worked from the beginning to spread misinformation about the attacks. In the days after the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, the network consistently distorted the Obama administration's response, accusing the president of "covering-up for al Qaeda." In one of the most egregious attacks on the president in the weeks following the attack, Fox pretended Obama called the "vicious murder of Americans ... just a bump in the road."
The network's lies about Benghazi could -- and did -- fill novels, and its Benghazi hoax eventually led House Republicans to call a special select committee based the false information reported on Fox.
A recently released email from September 27, 2012, included in documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request by conservative blog Judicial Watch, purports to show what Fox called the White House's "strategy to deal with Fox News". The email is mostly redacted, with the subject line of a FoxNews.com article, "Fox News: US officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm." (The article claims that the White House waited "a week to acknowledge" that the attacks were terrorism, a lie which omits President Obama's repeated assertion that the attacks were an act of terrorism in the days after the tragedy.)
To Fox, discussing ways to respond to this misinformation amount to a cover-up. During the May 6 edition of Fox & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade claimed that Fox was just "asking questions" and the administration was strategizing "on how to stop Fox News' strategy," which proves of a cover up:
KILMEADE: And one thing that I think is important to bring up: There's already a seven page memo which the administration's not giving up. They say they shouldn't have to, it's secret. It's a seven-page strategy on how to stop Fox News' strategy. We were asking questions about problems with the Benghazi investigation, what was with the video. And because of that, the administration put out a seven-page memo between Denis McDonough and all the higher-ups inside the White House about a strategy. So Judicial Watch said, 'Can we see that?' And basically they've said no. These are the types of things -- we're never going to get to the bottom of this if they don't hand over everything they're supposed to hand over.
This is how the Benghazi-Industrial Complex works. Create a lie to exploit a tragedy, promote that lie, and accuse the White House of a "cover-up" when it attempts to correct the misinformation. And now that Fox News has the GOP-led select committee it wanted, the Benghazi-Industrial complex is sure to grow even stronger and more fact-free.
Note: The earlier language in this post has been updated for clarity.