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Fox News all but acknowledges the Benghazi hearing is a snooze

Even the network that ran almost 1,100 segments on Benghazi in the 20 months after the attack appears to be conceding that today’s marathon congressional hearing on the topic is going nowhere. In the 5 p.m. hour, when competing networks CNN and MSNBC stuck closely to live coverage of the all-day hearing, the Fox News program “The Five” started to drift.

While the Benghazi committee was churning along, the flamboyant co-hosts of the roundtable program — Eric Bolling, Greg Gutfeld, Juan Williams, Dana Perino and Kimberly Guilfoyle — were trading thoughts not about what former secretary of state Hillary Clinton was doing on that fateful night; not about why on earth her private e-mail account did so much business with an e-mail account of friend Sidney Blumenthal; not about whether this whole special Benghazi committee is a “partisan witch hunt,” as some partisan has said at one point or another. They were talking about Donald Trump!

Where was he on the night of Sept. 11, 2012?

Actually, the roundtablists were discussing a Twitter insult propagated by Trump — or, as he said, an “intern” — against the entire state of Iowa. “What kind of candidate trusts their Twitter account to an intern?” asked Gutfeld, who also offered “Greg’s Diet Tips” during the program. “The Five” also talked a bit about Wikileaks, climate change, the Cubs and a homecoming queen kicking an extra point.

Meanwhile, what was happening on Capitol Hill? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) was lecturing about the importance of preventing another Benghazi, and Clinton was nodding. It was just the sort of moment that Fox News had apparently had enough of: Democrats on the Benghazi committee setting up Clinton to explain herself against Republican attacks; and Republicans scrounging for lines of attack that somehow hadn’t been attempted in Clinton’s also prolonged 2013 congressional hearings or in the mountains of media coverage over the years.

We’re with Fox News here: “The Five” on Trump is far preferable to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Clinton on Benghazi. Or Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Clinton on Benghazi. Or whoever on Clinton on Benghazi. It’s just a little precious that this network, the Benghazi network, made the call to move away. Just goes to show that the ideology of Fox News may appear to be Benghazi and Kill Obamacare, but it’s really ratings.

Friday night, Fox News will air a special on Benghazi:

That’s a special based on the book “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi,” which was written by Boston University professor Mitchell Zuckoff and security operators who were on the ground that night. The special first aired about a year ago; it’s a rerun, a fitting term for most of this “new” Benghazi material.