Paramount Pictures couldn’t have asked for anything more from Fox News. Its new Michael Bay-directed film “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” secured 32 segments on Fox News from Jan. 4 through Jan. 19, totaling nearly three hours of programming — segments that commonly packaged the film with speculation/guesses/hope that it would revive the September 2012, attacks as a public issue, to the detriment of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The numbers come courtesy of Media Matters for America, the conservative media-policing outfit founded by pro-Clinton operative David Brock. It created this chart to explain the distribution of Fox News’s “13 Hours” obsession:
As for the notably dim moments of the coverage, try Fox News’s Andrea Tantaros, who said on the show “Outnumbered” that anyone who sees the movie and “and then goes on to vote for Hillary Clinton, they’re a criminal.” Why not just say that all Clinton voters are criminals, regardless of whether they saw “13 Hours” beforehand?
Megyn Kelly, Fox News’s franchise anchor, clocked in with an hour and 22 minutes of “13 Hours” coverage, starting with a 17-minute extravaganza on Jan. 4. Kelly opened by saying this: “Breaking tonight, a ‘Kelly File’ exclusive on the gripping new film that may pose a threat to Hillary Clinton’s hopes for the White House.” Consider that when Kelly said those words, the movie hadn’t even come out (its release date was Jan. 15), let alone stirred any discernible threat to Clinton. Consider, too, that Kelly sells herself as a straight-news merchant and works in that guise during Fox News’s presidential debates. Truth be told, she does quite well in that capacity.
The game plan of Fox News vis-a-vis “13 Hours” (which is based on the book “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi“) was telegraphed by “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy over the summer, when the film’s trailer came out. Yes, Fox News found the trailer newsworthy. “This movie, if it’s really popular, is going to force her to answer some questions,” said Doocy of Clinton. Precisely!
So Fox News set out to make the movie really popular. On one level, it succeeded, as “13 Hours,” according to reports, performed well in red states, though not so well in liberal precincts. Overall, it fell far short of other films of its genre. Maybe the movie-going public, after watching endless Fox News segments about Benghazi over the past few years, felt there wasn’t much left to learn about the tragedy.