The Washington Post

Fox’s Benghazi story

Third in a sprawling series on Fox News’s Oct. 26 Benghazi story.

Geraldo Rivera, in this entertaining and informative clip from “Fox & Friends,” splits Benghazi into three segments:

1) How well the United States prepared for Benghazi;

2) How well the United States responded to the attack on our assets in Benghazi;

3) How well the United States explained the attack to the public after it went down.

By Geraldo’s accounting, No. 1 and No. 3 provide legitimate openings for accountability and criticism.

But not No. 2: The response to the attack by personnel on the ground, says Geraldo, was strong. In his inimitable, grandstanding fashion, Geraldo noted that he’d spoken with “four-star General Jack Keane, the former vice [chief of staff] of the United States Army, our premier military analyst. I am convinced that the military did whatever it could have done under the circumstances.” The CIA and the State Department both get high marks from Geraldo as well.

Eric Bolling, a Fox host also in on the “Fox & Friends” discussion, tells Geraldo, in effect, “nonsense”: During the attack, he argues, officials sat on their hands. “Washington, the State Department, the CIA does nothing, sends no help.”

To which Geraldo responds, “You are a politician looking to make a political point.”

Geraldo makes an accurate accusation, and it’s one that matters to this whole Fox-Benghazi saga. In its suddenly very famous Oct. 26 report on the alleged failures of the CIA in responding to the attack on Sept. 11, Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin acknowledges that security assistance did indeed arrive from Tripoli. Here’s the text:

An American Quick Reaction Force sent from Tripoli had arrived at the Benghazi airport at 2 a.m. (four hours after the initial attack on the consulate) and was delayed for 45 minutes at the airport because they could not at first get transportation, allegedly due to confusion among Libyan militias who were supposed to escort them to the annex, according to Benghazi sources.

Perhaps Fox should require its people to read the reporting of Fox journalists. To its credit, however, it allows dissenter Geraldo all the time and space he needs to shout down Fox reporting. Good TV.

This post has been updated.

The series so far:

First: Media outlets fail to follow Fox News.

Second: Does Fox story stand up to government timeline?

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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