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  • The Benghazi Hoax Has Its Own Night At The GOP Convention

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    The Republican National Convention will include a themed-night highlighting the September 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks, according to a new report. The announcement follows years of conservative media myths surrounding the attacks.

    According to The New York Times, the convention will emphasize “a few of [Donald Trump’s] favorite hot-button issues,” featuring different themes each night of the convention, including “the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi.” From the Times July 13 report (emphasis original):

    A night highlighting the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya. An appearance by onetime football star Tim Tebow. A presentation detailing former President Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct.

    Donald J. Trump, the presumptive nominee, has been promising a different kind of Republican National Convention, and plans obtained by The New York Times show that he is eager to put his showbiz stamp on the party’s gathering, even as he struggles to attract A-list talent.

    [...]

    There are plans to emphasize different themes each night of the convention. Mr. Trump wants to touch on a few of his favorite hot-button issues, like the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, former President Clinton’s infidelities and border security.

    [...]

    Night 1: A Benghazi focus, followed by border patrol agents and Mr. Shaw, whose son was killed by an undocumented immigrant. Senator Cotton, Mr. Giuliani, Melania Trump, Ms. Ernst and others.

    Conservative media have spent years continually misleading about the attacks and falsely alleging nefariousness on the parts of Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration. Fox News, in particular, relentlessly pushed misinformation surrounding the attacks, running nearly 1,100 segments on the attacks within the first 20 months after the attacks alone. Thanks in part to Fox’s calls for a special investigation into the attacks, House Republicans convened a two-year select committee to investigate that subsequently revealed little new information about the attacks. Donald Trump has also used conservative media myths surrounding the attacks throughout his campaign thus far, and has lamented that “outside of Fox, Benghazi has never resonated.”

  • Chuck Todd Highlights FBI Director “Myth-Busting” Right Wing Media’s Fact-Free Clinton Email Myths

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    MSNBC’s Chuck Todd highlighted FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before Congress which debunked several right-wing media myths about Clinton’s email, including the accusation that Romanian hacker “Guccifer” breached Hillary Clinton’s email server.

    During the July 7 edition of MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily, Todd reported on the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform’s hearing with Director Comey. Todd highlighted Comey’s “myth-busting” of several theories about Clinton’s private server, including a part of Comey’s testimony that debunked right-wing media reports that Guccifer gained access to Clinton's server, stating that the hacker “admitted that was a lie.”

    On multiple occasions, Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and other right-wing media figures baselessly hyped Guccifer’s claim that he hacked Clinton's email server, despite the fact officials reported no evidence to support that claim.

    CHUCK TODD: It's possible his words on Tuesday, if left alone, would have made for a stronger condemnation of Clinton's judgment. Instead Republicans put a spotlight on a series of what turned out to have Comey myth-busting various theories surrounding her private server that may have not been overturned. 

    [...]

    Comey publicly shut down another myth that's been out there, the assertion from a hacker, who of course goes by the name of “Guccifer,” that he somehow gained access to Clinton's server while she was secretary of state. 

    [VIDEO IN]

    BLAKE FARENTHOLD: Can you confirm that Guccifer never gained access to her server?

    JAMES COMEY: He did not. He admitted that was a lie.

    [VIDEO OUT]

  • NY Times Reports On “Marked Classified” Emails In Clinton Case Without Noting The Classification Was Botched

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    On July 7, The New York Times reported on testimony FBI Director James Comey gave to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the FBI’s recently closed investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email use as secretary of state. Comey discussed the apparent contradiction between Clinton’s public statements that her private email did not contain emails “marked classified” and the director’s July 5 statement to the contrary. But missing from the Times’ report were the facts that two of these emails were reportedly mistakenly classified and that, in his testimony, Comey explained that it was not “reasonable” to assume even an “expert” would have realized they were classified at all because they were incorrectly marked.

    In its report, the Times failed to note that on July 6, State Department spokesperson John Kirby explained to reporters that two emails with a “C” notation, denoting “confidential” material, were marked as such in error. On July 7, before the committee, Comey further testified that the mistaken marking of those emails as classified was also incorrectly performed, as they lacked necessary headers. Comey said that because of this incorrect procedure, it would be “reasonable” to infer that even an “expert at what is classified and what's not classified” would not have realized the email was classified.

    Despite describing the apparent contradiction between Clinton’s statement and Comey’s July 5 claim that a small number of her emails “bore markings indicating the presence of classified information,” the Times failed to report on either Kirby or Comey’s explanation for why the former secretary may have repeatedly claimed she did not send or received emails “marked classified” on her private email account. From the July 7 New York Times article:

    Mr. Comey — who maintained his composure except for one flash of anger when Republicans questioned his integrity — repeatedly acknowledged that the public statements by the former secretary of state, including some she delivered during a sworn appearance before Congress last year, were contradicted by the facts uncovered during the F.B.I. investigation.

    “Secretary Clinton said there was nothing marked classified on her emails, either sent or received,” Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, said during several hours of testimony by Mr. Comey before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Was that true?”

    “That’s not true,” Mr. Comey said. Asked later about Mrs. Clinton’s assertion during congressional testimony that none of her emails had been marked “classified,” Mr. Comey said three emails bore small markings indicating that they contained classified information.

  • Five Times Comey Corrected Right-Wing Media Misinformation During His Congressional Testimony On Clinton Email Probe

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    During his July 7 testimony on Capitol Hill, FBI Director James Comey dismantled several right-wing media myths about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state. In his testimony about the FBI’s recommendation against pursuing criminal charges, Comey debunked flawed comparisons and corrected faulty definitions that right-wing media have repeatedly pushed.

  • Wash. Post Editorial Board: Republicans Are Damaging Rule Of Law By Attacking FBI Director Comey

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Washington Post criticized Republicans' "disheartening" attacks on FBI Director James Comey following his announcement that he would not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton, arguing that Republicans, not Comey, are doing "damage ... to the rule of law" by "cast[ing] baseless aspersions on U.S. law enforcement in the service of their partisan goals."

    As the Post explained in its editorial, “Republican leaders had practically promised supporters that Ms. Clinton would be indicted” as a result of the FBI investigation into her private email server. Instead, Comey “explained that the facts of the case did not conform to the fevered partisan fantasies that have developed around them — did not, in other words, merit prosecution. So GOP leaders decided to attack the fact-finder.” Republican lawmakers have announced they will question Comey on Capitol Hill about the results of the FBI investigation.

    From the July 7 Washington Post editorial:

    If Republicans believe the FBI director is corrupt and political, they should have the gumption to say so. Instead, many have insulted James B. Comey with slimy implications and underhanded threats since Tuesday, when he announced that he would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton relating to her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

    [...]

    Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) issued a veiled threat to Mr. Comey: “If it wants to avoid giving the impression that the FBI was pulling punches,” he said, “the agency must now be more transparent than ever in releasing information gathered during its investigation,” presumably so that he and other Republicans can transfigure new details into fresh “proof” of criminality. Not to be outdone, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) will haul Mr. Comey before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for a grilling Thursday.

    Several other Republicans, meanwhile, called for a new investigation and an independent counsel. As with Benghazi, their motto seems to be: Keep investigating until we get the outcome we want.

    “It appears damage is being done to the rule of law,” Mr. Ryan said. He’s right, but the FBI director isn’t doing the damage. The wreckers are those who cast baseless aspersions on U.S. law enforcement in the service of their partisan goals.

  • Evening Newscasts Ignore New Exculpatory Information Regarding Clinton Emails

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

     

    All three network evening broadcasts ignored State Department spokesman John Kirby’s explanation that two emails sent to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were erroneously marked confidential after a staffer failed to change the markings on a routine email that should have been marked sensitive but unclassified (SBU).

    Journalists seized on FBI Director James Comey’s July 5 statement that “a very small number of the emails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information” to claim that Comey, in the words of The Washington Post, “directly contradicted Clinton’s claim that she did not send or receive materials ‘marked’ classified.”

    But in his July 6 press briefing, State Department spokesman Kirby provided an explanation for the discrepancy, saying that the “markings were human error” and should not have been included in the documents, which were call sheets for Clinton. From the July 6 daily press briefing (emphasis added):

    I’m not going to comment on their findings and recommendations or all the documents that they reviewed. I am aware that there have been media – a media report pointing to call sheets within the Clinton email set that appear to bear classification markings. So let me just talk to that in a sense.

    Generally speaking, there’s a standard process for developing call sheets for the secretary of state. Call sheets are often marked – it’s not untypical at all for them to be marked at the confidential level – prior to a decision by the secretary that he or she will make that call. Oftentimes, once it is clear that the secretary intends to make a call, the department will then consider the call sheet SBU, sensitive but unclassified, or unclassified altogether, and then mark it appropriately and prepare it for the secretary’s use in actually making the call. The classification of a call sheet therefore is not necessarily fixed in time, and staffers in the secretary’s office who are involved in preparing and finalizing these call sheets, they understand that. Given this context, it appears the markings in the documents raised in the media report were no longer necessary or appropriate at the time that they were sent as an actual email.

    NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and ABC’s World News Tonight all covered the Clinton email investigation during their July 6 broadcasts, but each ignored Kirby’s press briefing.

    Attorney General Loretta Lynch closed the Clinton email investigation today with no criminal charges.

  • Right-Wing Media Run With Another Baseless Comparison With Clinton Emails

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Media spuriously likened Hillary Clinton’s email use to the case of Bryan Nishimura -- who was criminally charged with mishandling classified information -- after FBI Director James Comey announced the bureau would not recommend criminal charges against Clinton. Media figures seized on Nishimura’s 2015 charges to erroneously characterize Comey’s announcement as a double standard, but, as with the debunked comparisons of Clinton’s email use to David Petraeus’ and John Deutch’s cases, legal experts note that unlike Clinton, Nishimura knowingly mishandled classified information.