Last week, the US President had to use a joint press conference with the Turkish Prime Minister to address His domestic troubles regarding the whole Benghazi mess, as well as the growing scandal of political intimidation by the IRS. The BBC helpfully spelled out all the White House talking points while censoring the two most important facts of both stories.
Obama tries to tame political tempests
After briefly outlining the IRS scandal, the BBC says this:
Joseph Grant, who headed the IRS division responsible, announced that he intends to retire next month.
Key detail missing: Grant was promoted to head the division only a couple weeks ago. He was deputy commissioner until then, including while the political intimidation and obstruction was going on. But as far as BBC audiences know, the President has taken decisive action and secured the resignation of a person responsible for the wrongdoing. Why is this an important point? Because the BBC doesn’t want you to know – or simply don’t know themselves, which would be poor journalism – that the person who actually was the head of the tax-exemption division while all this was going on is now in charge of the IRS division which will be enforcing ObamaCare.
Sarah Hall Ingram still has her top job at the IRS, and considering the huge impact ObamaCare is going to have on the country beginning next year, perhaps one of the most important jobs in the country. Her assistant was scapegoated instead, yet the BBC ignores this entirely. As a result, you’re misinformed on two levels. Why is this a big deal? Well, why should we trust someone who oversaw political intimidation and suppression by the IRS to oversee implementation of another policy? The BBC isn’t interested.
After quoting the President’s assurance that He was on the case, the article moves on to Benghazi. Again we get more of the President’s statement, this time the shifting blame to Congress for approving more funding for embassy security, we at least hear a concern raised by Speaker Boehner. Except this isn’t the whole story at all.
What the BBC left out is that the noise about needing more funding for security is irrelevant, a smokescreen. In fact, part of the original fuss was that the State Department had deliberately reduced security there, out of concern for appearances and appeasing local sensitivities about Crusader boots on the ground. Has the BBC forgotten about that? It was brought up during that infamous second presidential debate, when the President took responsibility for it before later passing the buck.
There were State Dept. resignations late last year over their failure to provide adequate security. Nothing whatsoever to do with a lack of funding.
The Benghazi incident appeared likely to tarnish Clinton’s four-year tenure as secretary of state but the report did not fault her specifically and the officials who led the review stopped short of blaming her.
“We did conclude that certain State Department bureau-level senior officials in critical positions of authority and responsibility in Washington demonstrated a lack of leadership and management ability appropriate for senior ranks,” retired Admiral Michael Mullen, one of the leaders of the inquiry, told reporters on Wednesday.
The panel’s chair, retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering, said it had determined that responsibility for security shortcomings in Benghazi belonged at levels lower than Clinton’s office.
Yet the BBC leaves all this out and you’re left to focus on the funding issue, which, naturally, shifts blame away from the President and His Administration and makes it into a partisan issue. As usual with the BBC, the President is merely trapped in a world He never made, apparently surrounded by incompetents like a cartoon villain who just can’t get good help these days. If only Congress wasn’t so awful and helped Him fix things, right? Coincidentally, the latest excuse by the IRS is that they weren’t partisan but merely incompetent. But back to the BBC and Benghazi.
The BBC article then goes on to explain what’s probably the biggest aspect of the Benghazi scandal at the moment: the talking points.
The emails show that White House staff requested only minor edits to the so-called talking points about the Benghazi assault, but there were repeated requests from the state department to omit information that might be used to criticise them.
The BBC left out the most important factor of all: there is no mention in any of the versions of the talking points of that stupid video. You know the one: the amateur anti-Mohammed video made by some Egyptian guy living in the US that was initially – dishonestly – blamed for the attack in Benghazi. That’s why everyone is poring over the talking points, not just about how the Administration wanted to suppress information which made their foreign policy look bad.
Here’s the full set of the different versions of the talking points (NB: PDF file). Look for yourselves and see if there’s anything there about the video. The closest anything gets is the original claim that the Benghazi attack was spontaneously inspired by the protests in Cairo, which was only superficially about that video.
I’m sure everyone here remembers that Amb. Susan Rice, Sec. of State Clinton, and the President Himself lied to the public and the victims’ families about the video being the cause. Clinton even assured them at a special gathering that they’d go after the video maker, as if that was all that mattered. No mention of this from the BBC. Their brief mention here is basically the White House version of events, omitting what’s most important.
The BBC then moves on to the third scandal, and possibly the one which actually broke the slavish media defensive wall that has surrounded this President for years, including during His initial candidacy: the Dept. of Justice seizing phone records of journalists at the Associated Press. All this other stuff was generally viewed as mere partisan noise by His enemies, until the gatekeepers themselves got hit.
The BBC gives us the President’s line of defense, that it was a national security issue and of course we shouldn’t spare any effort to keep us all safe. Yet the leak in question was about something that made a statement from the Administration look like a lie, not about classified data that put anyone in harm’s way. No mention of that from the BBC. Oh, and the DoJ also tapped the AP phone line in the press gallery in the House of Representatives, possibly allowing them to gather phone records of conversations with Congressman, which is illegal.
I realize that this was really a BBC summary of the President’s speech, and that they can’t cover everything fully, can’t provide every single detail about each issue. But surely they can mention the most important factors of each, instead of misleading you.
PS: I see the BBC used the photo of the President making a Marine hold an umbrella for Him, as if he was a valet. It’s not the most flattering picture of Him, but there have still been no snarky tweets from Beeboids about how it’s a bad protocol gaffe.