After an almost 11-hour hearing with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right-wing media conceded that House Select Committee on Benghazi members “didn't accomplish much.”
Clinton “Avoided Major Damage To Her Presidential Campaign” During Benghazi Testimony
Clinton Appeared “In Command” Throughout The “Contentious” Benghazi Hearing. In an October 22 article, CNN wrote that Clinton had a calm demeanor while being “grill[ed]” about the September 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi and her email use:
Hillary Clinton avoided major damage to her presidential campaign during a nearly 11-hour congressional hearing Thursday dominated by Republican criticism of her response to the Benghazi attacks.
Bitter political undercurrents festered all day during a contentious showdown that turned into a political endurance test. After a day-long grilling on the details of the attack and how Clinton handled it, the former secretary of state was forced to defend her use of a private email account while in office from a flurry of late evening attacks by GOP lawmakers.
She also came under testy cross-examination over the extent to which she has taken responsibility for the deaths of the Americans in the September 11, 2012, attacks and her contact with U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, one of the victims, after sending him to the North African country. [CNN, 10/22/15]
Conservative Media Admit Benghazi Hearing Will Be Viewed As “No Big Deal”
Morning Joe Host: Clinton Hearing Was “A Very Bad Day For Trey Gowdy And The Republicans.” On the October 23 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough discussed Hillary Clinton's testimony during the October 22 Special Committee on Benghazi hearing, saying panels of this sort “seem to fall flat on their face,” and this one was no exception:
JOE SCARBOROUGH (HOST): Welcome to Morning Joe. Of course, Hillary Clinton and congressional Republicans and Democrats sparred all day yesterday. And Benghazi hearings that could only be seen, at least in terms of theatrics, as a TKO for Hillary Clinton. It wasn't even a close call. Also a new Bloomberg poll out this morning that really solidifies what we learned yesterday. But I want to talk about the hearings first. Mike Barnacle, any time you have a major national figure that goes before Congress, it seems whether through the years it's Republicans or Democrats, it's always the person behind the microphone that knows what they're doing that seems to make their questioners look like fools. And whether it was in the mid-80s with Rehnquist and Scalia when they were trying to be nominated before the Court or even Oliver North, I guess I should say especially Oliver North. This isn't just a Republican phenomenon or Democratic phenomenon. It's just a Congressional phenomenon. These sort of panels always seem to fall flat on their face, and yesterday, no exception, a very bad day for Trey Gowdy and the Republicans, theatrically, at least. Maybe some new evidence came out, but sure didn't look like it yesterday. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 10/23/15]
Columnist And Fox News Contributor Categorized Hearing As A “Marathon That Didn't Accomplish Much.” In an October 22 column for the Washington Examiner, Byron York wrote that the hearing was unlikely to be “big news,” and was a “marathon that didn't accomplish much,” as viewers already knew even the “damaging” details:
And that is what took place more than once Thursday in Clinton's much-watched Benghazi testimony. Republicans presented some new information. One leading Democrat had a tantrum and started a fight with Gowdy. And some Republicans got tangled up in side issues that didn't tell the public much about the core issues at stake in Benghazi. The result was a marathon hearing that didn't accomplish much.
The documents were still more evidence that the blame-it-on-the-video story was lies and spin. But the public has known for a while that it was lies and spin. It seems unlikely to strike many Americans as very big news.
So a hearing billed as an epic, High Noon-style confrontation -- granted, the hype came from the media, not Republican committee members themselves -- instead turned out to be a somewhat interesting look at a few limited aspects of the Benghazi affair. In other words, no big deal. And that is very, very good news for Hillary Clinton. [The Washington Examiner, 10/22/15]
The Washington Times “Reluctantly” Concluded The Benghazi Committee “Failed.” An October 22 editorial in The Washington Times explained that despite the $5 million budget, The House Select Committee on Benghazi was unsuccessful, citing committee members' long speeches and Chairman Gowdy's lack of control:
But after observing hours of the committee grilling Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday in a long-awaited hearing, we reluctantly conclude that the committee has so far failed to do the job. The committee jumped from issue to issue, devolved into bickering that left Hillary Clinton cackling with laughter, and failed to provide a consistent and compelling assessment of what happened. The public is still in the dark.
There is much to care about the Benghazi tragedy, but Chairman Trey Gowdy did little to reinforce that idea on Thursday. He seemed unnecessarily defensive, intimidated by the Democrats and fearful of how the media would cover the hearing, shifting blame for the unanswered questions and inadequacy of the earlier inquiry. He lost control of the proceedings to Democratic clowning, often taking the bait rather than staying focused on the questions that would have told the public why it should care about the tragedy and the government's shame in Benghazi. [The Washington Times, 10/22/15]
The New York Post: Questions In Clinton's Testimony “Have Been Asked ... For More Than Three Years.” In an October 23 New York Post column, Fox News contributor and columnist Michael Goodwin wrote that while Clinton faced “tough questions” about U.S. presence in Libya and security requests, neither the questions nor her answers were new:
The puerile fireworks notwithstanding, the loudest noise coming from the Benghazi hearing was a low hiss. It was the sound of air coming out of the Republican balloon.
“These questions linger because previous investigations were not thorough,” committee chairman Trey Gowdy said in his opening statement.
At the end of a very long day, they still linger, for Gowdy's probe failed to answer them. If he's surprised, he's alone. [The New York Post, 10/23/15]
Fox News' Erick Erickson: Benghazi Hearings Are “A Waste Of Time.” In an October 22 post for his blog Erickson wrote that while he believes there are still “relevant questions” about the September 2012 attacks, the “hearings are a waste of time because everything about it is politicized and nothing is going to happen,” and “most” of the committee “just wants to grandstand” :
The hearings are a waste of time because everything about it is politicized and nothing is going to happen. There will be no scalp collection. In fact, it is clear from today's hearing that Trey Gowdy and Peter Roskam seem to be the only two people on the committee of either party who are capable of asking exacting, precise questions. Most of the rest of the committee just wants to grandstand for the folks back home as either prosecutors of or defenders of Hillary Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton too is far too bright to be trapped in this or any questions. There have been some, by Trey Gowdy typically, that have clearly caused Mrs. Clinton to be flustered, but the long term effects of that will be to make her a martyr to her own side. But the fact is, Democratic voters are not going to reject Mrs. Clinton even if she were to admit that she had flown to Benghazi and joined Al Qaeda in the attack. [The Erick Erickson Show, 10/22/15]