Fox News regurgitated discredited attacks to smear former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice in advance of her appointment as the new national security advisor, falsely claiming Rice was purposely misleading when she spoke about the attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Fox also rehashed the false claim that current National Security Advisor Tom Donilon was missing the night of the attacks.
On June 5, Foreign Policy reported that President Obama planned to appoint Rice as his national security advisor. Fox & Friends co-hosts Gretchen Carlson and Steve Doocy reacted to the news by using long-debunked myths about the attacks in Benghazi. Doocy claimed that Rice was purposely misleading during her appearances on Sunday talk shows after the attacks because of the approaching election, while on-screen text accused her of “floating fiction”:
But Rice relied on talking points approved by the intelligence community which affirmed that the attacks in Benghazi were related to an anti-Islam video released days before the attack.
Indeed, every version of the CIA talking points, including the version ultimately used by Rice, stated that the attacks were “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo,” which had been triggered by the video. Recently released emails that document the drafting process of the Benghazi talking points confirm what former director of the CIA David Petraeus testified in a November 2012 congressional hearing: that the intelligence community signed off on the final draft of the talking points.
Carlson also suggested that the man Rice will replace, Tom Donilon, was “missing” during the attack in Benghazi, while on-screen text suggested there were still questions about Donilon's “whereabouts”:
In fact, Tom Donilon was in the Oval Office during the attack.
A photo was taken of Donilon participating in a briefing in the Oval Office with President Obama on the night of the Benghazi attack. In a May 30 Fox & Friends segment, the picture was displayed, with the on-screen text asking “where was Donilon on the night of Benghazi.” Media Matters highlighted Donilon's presence in the picture:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey also testified before Congress that Donilon and White House staff were actively engaged with the President during the attacks.
This post has been updated for clarity.