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Fox News’s Van Susteren to issue clarification over claim that White House hadn’t cited terrorism

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Following the Benghazi attack of Sept. 11, 2012, Fox News for months and months criticized the Obama White House for not more quickly and fully acknowledging that it was an instance of terrorism. In an October 2012 broadcast, for instance, host Greta Van Susteren said, “There is now proof that the State Department and the White House knew as this was going on that a terrorist group with links to al Qaeda had claimed responsibility — Facebook and Twitter — yet they came out with that ridiculous video story!”

New terrorist act, same response.

On Sunday, two gunmen staged a foiled attack on a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest organized by Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative. The Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack, though that claim is unconfirmed. Police shot the attackers dead before they could ambush event attendees at the Garland, Tex., site.

On her program last night, Van Susteren criticized the response from officialdom. As she introduced a guest to chat about terrorism, she said, “So far, the White House is not saying the gunmen had ties to ISIS or calling the shooting a terror attack. Is the Obama administration being overly cautious and could it hurt national security?” And more: “The White House has not yet connected this to terrorism. I don’t know why. Seems pretty evident, but your thoughts on that,” she said to terrorism expert Walid Phares.

Except that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest in a media briefing hours earlier had made clear on several occasions just what his bosses thought of the attack:

*One example: “The thing that we can say, definitively, is that because of the quick and professional and brave work of local law enforcement officers, an attempted terrorist attack was foiled.”

*Another example:  “The principle that I restated yesterday is one that applies, which is, that there is no expression, however offensive, that justifies an act of terrorism or even an act of violence.”

*Another example: “Well, again, there’s no justification for an act of violence and an attempted act of terrorism like the one that we saw.”

At this point, the Erik Wemple Blog would rip into Van Susteren for ignoring or missing Earnest’s declarations. But Abby Danzig, who works with Van Susteren at Fox News, tells us that the host will issue a clarification tonight on her program. So we’ll just applaud her instead.