Network Sunday Shows Largely Ignore House Report Debunking Prominent Benghazi Myths

A two-year investigation by the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee that debunked several prominent right-wing myths about the Benghazi attacks was largely ignored by the four major broadcast networks' Sunday shows.

GOP-Led House Committee Debunks Prominent Benghazi Myths

Associated Press: Republican-Controlled House Intelligence Committee Releases Report “Debunking A Series Of Persistent Allegations” About Benghazi Attack. As the Associated Press (AP) reported, the Republican-led House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the findings of its two-year investigation into the Benghazi attack in a November 21 report. The report found that “the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.” The AP outlined the numerous conspiracy theories that the report refuted (emphasis added):

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people. [Associated Press, 11/21/14]

Report Mentioned By NBC, But Ignored On Fox, ABC, CBS

Only NBC's Meet The Press Mentioned The New Intelligence Committee Report. Of the major network Sunday talk shows, only NBC's Meet the Press acknowledged the House Intelligence Committee's findings in a brief exchange between host Chuck Todd and Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Todd reported that the report was “exculpatory,” and found no evidence of wrongdoing or evidence to support conspiracy theories about the attacks:

TODD: Senator Flake, House Republican-led Intelligence Committee released a Benghazi report and basically, it's pretty exculpatory. The key findings: no intelligence failure prior to the attacks; security at CIA facilities were sufficient; yes, security at state department facilities were inadequate; and yes, some of the development of the talking points that Susan Rice used were flawed. But no wrongdoing, none of the conspiracies found. Is it time for the Republicans to drop the Benghazi conspiracy theories?  [NBC, Meet the Press, 11/23/14]

On Cable Networks, CNN Offered An Example Of Detailed Coverage

CNN: Report Found “No Conspiracy, No Cover-Up, And As For The Political Shenanigans? Absolutely Not.” CNN's State of the Union did cover the release on their broadcast. Substitute anchor Gloria Borger noted that the report concluded, “No conspiracy, no cover-up, and as for the political shenanigans? Absolutely not.” Borger then confronted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who had previously promoted the myth that the administration had deliberately misled the American public in the aftermath of the attack about the findings:

[CNN, State Of The Union, 11/23/14]


Media Matters reviewed video and transcript of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CBS' Face the Nation, Fox Broadcasting's Fox News Sunday, and NBC's Meet the Press from November 23, 2014 for any mentions of “Benghazi” that also referenced the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report that was released November 21.