Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT
So much for the idea of right-wing media reform.
In the wake of the Mitt Romney's loss last week, conservative voices raised concerns about the state of right-wing press and how the "conservative entertainment complex," as writer David Frum dubbed it, had "fleeced" and "exploited" its followers by chronically, and purposefully, misinforming them about the issues of the day.
John McCain's former campaign manger, Steve Schmidt, lamented how much "power and the influence" the GOP Noise Machine has over Republican leadership. Today's commentators, he said, have given conservatism a "repellant" "snarl," said Schmidt.
Now, just ten days after Romney's drubbing, and just ten days after Republicans sounded alarms about chronic and paranoid misinformation on their side of the media aisle, Fox News is applying contorted pretzel logic as it desperately tries to turn the General David Petraeus extramarital affair story into a "Watergate"-like chapter in the supposed mega-scandal surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Benghazi represents the would-be bonfire that Fox News has tried to light time and again in order to fan the ugly flames of Obama hatred. Fox has now formed an impenetrable wall of noise on the topic. Since Novemeber 1, "Benghazi" has been mentioned far more often on Fox News than it has on CNN and MSNBC combined, according to TVeyes.com
Keep in mind there's nothing about the Petraeus story that connects his extramarital affair to how the government responded to the Benghazi attack, or how it explained the attack.
Yet that now forms virtually the entire basis for Fox's coverage of the story. Fox has simply concocted a story it wants to cover (Petraeus + Benghazi = scandal) and focuses on it relentlessly.
So, Fox regular Jay Sekulow suggests impeachment may be on the table "if the president lied" about Benghazi. And in a question typical of the network's over-the-top tone, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy pondered whether Petraeus was "being blackmailed by the White House to toe the company line" regarding his previous testimony about Benghazi.