Media Omit Crucial Detail In Reporting On Retired General's Benghazi Testimony

Mainstream media distorted Ret. Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell's Benghazi testimony to the House Oversight Committee, seizing on a partial remark that “we should have tried” to rescue the victims and ignoring the fact that Lovell later explained that he did not mean the military response was insufficient.

Lovell Testifies Before House Oversight Committee About Benghazi Attack

Lovell Says “We Should Have Tried” To Rescue Victims, Clarifies He Did Not Mean The Response Was Insufficient. On May 1, Lovell, who served as deputy intelligence director at the U.S. Africa Command in Germany (AFRICOM) during the September 11, 2012 attack, testified that “we should have tried” to rescue the victims of the attack. Later, Lovell clarified his remark in an exchange with Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA):

CONNOLLY: I want to read to you the conclusion of the chairman of the [Armed Services] Committee, the Republican chairman Buck McKeon, who conducted formal briefings and oversaw that report. He said, quote, “I'm pretty well satisfied that given where the troops were, how quickly the thing all happened, and how quickly it dissipated we probably couldn't have done much more than we did.” Do you take issue with the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee? In that conclusion?

LOVELL: His conclusion that he couldn't have done much more than they did with the capability and the way they executed it?

CONNOLLY: Given the timeframe.

LOVELL: That's a fact. 


LOVELL: The way it is right now. The way he stated it.

CONNOLLY: All right, because I'm sure you can appreciate, general, there might be some who, for various and sundry reasons would like to distort your testimony and suggest that you're testifying that we could have, should have done a lot more than we did because we had capabilities we simply didn't utilize. That is not your testimony?

LOVELL: That is not my testimony.

CONNOLLY: I thank you very much. [Media Matters5/1/14]

Media Ignore Lovell's Crucial Clarification, Seize On “We Should Have Tried” Comment

ABC News' Sawyer: Lovell “Testified Before Congress That The U.S. Military Should Have Tried To Do More To Fend Off That Attack.” In a May 1 report on Lovell's Benghazi testimony, ABC World News host Diane Sawyer said Lovell “testified before Congress that the U.S. military should have tried to do more to fend off that attack.” The segment never mentioned that Lovell later clarified the remark and agreed that the military could not have done more. [ABC, ABC World News5/1/14]

NBC News: “Official: 'We Should Have Tried' to Help During Benghazi Attack.” published a report on Lovell's testimony under the headline, “Official: 'We Should Have Tried' to Help During Benghazi Attack.” The report omitted Lovell's clarification with Rep. Connolly in which he explained that it was “a fact” that there was nothing more the military could have done. [, 5/1/14]

Fox's Perino: Lovell “Said That Our Military Should Have At Least Tried” To Save Benghazi Victims. On the May 1 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Dana Perino claimed that during testimony of the military's response to Benghazi, Lovell “said that our military should have at least tried, but it was never even ordered.” The rest of the show made no mention of Lovell's later clarification of those remarks. [Fox News, The Five5/1/14]

Fox's Scott: Lovell Testified That “Military Should Have Responded” To Attack In Benghazi. On the May 1 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott said Lovell testified that “the U.S. military should have responded to help Americans under fire at our consulate on that horrible night.” He repeated the assertion later in the show. Scott failed to mention Lovell's clarification that he did not mean that the military's response was insufficient or his agreement that the military could not have done more. [Fox News, Happening Now5/1/145/1/14]

Fox's On The Record Omits Lovell's Clarification In Video Montage Of House Hearing. On the May 1 edition of Fox News' On the Record, host Greta Van Susteren played a video montage of the House Oversight Committee's hearing on Benghazi with the chyron “We Should Have Tried To Help.” At no point during the show did Van Susteren report Lovell's clarification that it was “a fact” that the military could not have responded differently. [Fox News, On The Record with Greta Van Susteren5/1/14]