May 6, 2013

If you’re not inside the conservative information feedback loop, you might not be aware that within that loop the Benghazi “scandal” is still going at 100 percent strength. Months after the actual incident, which was back in September. Even though no one has ever made clear exactly what terrible secret was the subject of the supposed cover-up; even though a succession of “revelations” have all turned out to be nonsense (here’s one from just last week). Doesn’t matter; discredited accusations are just forgotten and new ones are substituted.

This week it’s a new round of claims that whistleblowers were suppressed. Over in the House, Darrell Issa’s committee is going to get a hearing out of it. No, there’s no particular reason that it makes any sense…there’s still no core story that this cover-up was (supposedly) covering up for. But there do appear to be plenty of Usual Suspect conservative movement lawyers and flacks involved.

So what are those of us outside of the conservative feedback loop to make of all of this?

Two things. One is that this is another case of how the minimal standards of the GOP-aligned press make Republican politicians lazy. Just chant “Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi” and you’re sure to generate plenty of positive publicity, so what’s the incentive for actually mastering the substantive issues involved?

And second: there’s a real dogs-not-barking aspect to this; the continued focus on what has appeared for months to be a dry well suggests that there are no real Barack Obama (or Hillary Clinton) scandals to investigate.

What’s a shame is that while there may not be any real massive conspiracies and cover-ups, there very well may be real instances of administration errors and worse throughout the government. There always are! But uncovering them requires hard work, and might only turn up low-level malfeasance in agencies that most Fox News viewers have never heard of and don’t care about. So House Republicans, who have the position to investigate real wrongdoing, don’t bother. Finding out that some low-level appointee did something real but relatively minor might result in better government, but it’s not guaranteed to get mentioned by all the conservative talk radio hosts. So: Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, and never mind whether the government is actually functioning properly or not.