Hillary, Benghazi, and the Media


Democrat and RepublicanFollowing Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi grilling, there has been the expected finger-pointing. Some feel the panel was nothing more than a Republican attack-squad hell-bent on undermining candidate Clinton’s presidential campaign.

And the media are firing some shots across each other’s bows as well.

Take for example, Friday’s piece on FoxNews.com: “Hillary helped by partisan media atmosphere undermining Benghazi hearing.” Here we have Fox’s favorite drumbeat about a “liberal media,” an argument not easy to sustain when it’s impossible to find a major news outlet in the country that advocates changes anywhere near the neighborhood of Bernie Sanders’ platform. However, it was interesting to see that Fox acknowledged the aggression of the panel in the article, as well as intimating that the whole thing may end up as a strategic blunder for the Republicans. The subtext is that all such panels are about politics rather than investigation, something that was echoed in other media headlines following the hearing:

Washington Post: “Amid shouting at Benghazi hearing, Republicans land no clear punches.”

USA Today headline: “Benghazi hearing ‘chaos’ could help Clinton.”

L.A. Times headline: “Clinton maintains relentless calm as Benghazi hearing hits 8-hour mark.”

And as the Fox piece read: “Ordinary folks who don’t have time to watch a daylong hearing will rely largely on the media coverage, which in part is focusing heavily on the partisanship.”

To put aside whether the hearing was productive and sincere — most folks probably have a pretty fair idea of the answer to that — it is a good time forthe media to take a look at itself and how it handles major political/issues events like this. Which, of course, makes the remaining presidential debates interesting as media events, even if they lack real substance for voters.