Fox News is launching a new round of smears against the Obama administration over the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, using old, long-debunked falsehoods as ammunition.
The day after the Benghazi attack, on September 12, President Obama spoke from the White House Rose Garden about Benghazi, saying, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.” Obama referred to Benghazi twice more as an “act of terror” on September 13, two days after the attack.
But Fox spent months pretending Obama never labeled Benghazi as an act of terror, omitting his statements in video montages, and claiming that Obama was referencing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks instead. Fox so successfully omitted Obama's words that even presidential candidate Mitt Romney believed Obama delayed calling Benghazi an “act of terror.”
Fox also conducted a witch-hunt against United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, who appeared on five Sunday news shows on September 16 and reported that the intelligence community's best current assessment of the attack was that a small number of extremists appeared to have taken advantage of a larger protest at the compound over an anti-Islam video made in the U.S. Fox twisted Rice's remarks and accused her of altering the intelligence community's original talking points in order to cover up its belief that Al Qaeda played a role in the attack. In reality, as The Weekly Standard's Steve Hayes inadvertently pointed out, the CIA's original talking points draft read that a spontaneous protest in Benghazi evolved into the consulate attack, just as Rice reported.
Eight months later, Fox is back to parroting these same untruths to reprise their Benghazi smear campaign.
On May 6's Happening Now, host Jon Scott spoke with anchor Bret Baier about upcoming congressional hearings on Benghazi. Fox again ignored Obama's declaration that Benghazi was an “act of terror,” airing this graphic during Baier's interview:
Scott furthered this distortion of Obama's response, stating, “It's pretty astounding that the number two person on the ground in Tripoli is telling his superiors in Washington, you know, 'This is a terrorist attack,' and then we get this whole thing about, 'This was a spontaneous demonstration inspired by a video.'”
Baier responded by recalling Rice's appearance on the Sunday news shows and pretending her remarks contradicted original CIA talking points. Baier accidentally undermined his point by praising Hayes' self-debunking Weekly Standard piece:
I think that is another part of the story. And Steve Hayes has done some great reporting on this at The Weekly Standard, where he has the actual document as it's evolved, the talking points, from September 14th in which you see the version one, version two, version three, and the mark-out, and the lines and the drawing in the margins of what was changed. And it is a dramatic change from what was started from the intelligence community, talking points-wise, to what ended up being given to Susan Rice before those six Sunday shows.