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News Desk: “60 Minutes” Releases Clip of Obama on Whether Benghazi was Terrorist Attack

“It’s too early to know how exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. … As I said, we’re still investigating exactly what happened. I don’t want to jump the gun on this. But you’re right, that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt, and my suspicion is that there were folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.”- President Obama

“60 MINUTES” and CBS made a fundamental mistake in not releasing this portion of the Obama interview on air on September 12, when it was broadcast live. The release of this video now, the day before the election, quadruples the suspicions, while emphasizing the total lack of judgment at all levels of the network.

Will McAvoy, the fictional Edward R. Murrow, created in the likeness of the man who made CBS the vaunted news organization it grew to be, would never have made this error and neither would the people of “Newsroom.” The show is a constant reminder of how far our media has fallen.

How Obama labeled the Benghazi attack has been a source of conention and cause of conspiracy conversations and theories across the conservative blogosphere. The last minute release of this video makes it worse.

One can only imagine if the political party and situation were reversed what Democrats would be saying and they’d be right in doing so.

The brief transcript I’ve culled from the interview above, however, reveals caution from President Obama at labeling the attack in any way. However, he clearly states the Benghazi attack was not the same as what unfolded in Egypt, which was triggered by the amateur YouTube video that went viral. Obama then goes further to state that his “suspicion” was that Americans in Libya were “targeted,” this entire section a harrowing hint of the President’s thinking, which leaves the door open to exactly what the attack was.

Republicans, conservatives and the right have exploded over the release of this video. I don’t blame them, though I don’t see this as the “smoking gun” it’s being called.

News organizations and programs make judgments on what segments to air and what remains on the cutting room floor, so to speak. It’s clear to me, as someone who’s been involved in editing and news commentary for almost 20 years, that the clip above is newsworthy.

It’s important because of what the commander in chief is clearly telegraphing, which is that the Americans who died in Libya were likely targeted, but also that what ensued in the attack wasn’t the same as what happened in Egypt. President Obama doesn’t call it a terrorist attack, but it’s clear that’s what he’s hinting it is.

If CBS and “60 Minutes” had released the tape in the first place the American people would have been able to decide for themselves. That’s the first job of journalists. Report the facts, let the rest play out in public. This act is what separates news organizations from partisan networks like Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the latter which has completely ignored Benghazi during their primetime line up, but also during the day when other news is covered. Andrea Mitchell hasn’t ventured into this topic either, nor has Rachel Maddow, both of whom cover foreign policy.

The decision of “60 Minutes” and CBS has compounded and driven home why there is such distrust of U.S. media and the few important news shows on which the American people can rely. They have also given Fox News Channel more credibility than the network deserved, because of how actual news reports on Benghazi were sandwiched into hyper partisan analysis meant to benefit Mitt Romney.

But at least FNC bothered to report the story, though considering how much of it was done it’s not saying much. The worst of which was a trumpeted but false report claiming the CIA was asked to stand down, something that never should have been reported in the first place.

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3 Responses to News Desk: “60 Minutes” Releases Clip of Obama on Whether Benghazi was Terrorist Attack

  1. casualobserver November 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Jake Tapper and Bob Woodward are certainly not on the payroll of Fox News……and like me, they seemed to smell a fish in the Administration’s lunchbox right from the get-go.

    I’d also like to go back to the Candy Crowley debate and re-review her attack on Romney and defense of Obama in light of this.

  2. Taylor Marsh November 6, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Crowley was wrong to become part of the debate. She’s a pro and should know better.

    I was writing and analyzing this story BEFORE Jake Tapper or Bob Woodward decided they needed to weigh in.

    The way you’re characterizing what I wrote is also WRONG. I’ve written again and again that questions needs to be answered. Full. Stop. I’ve rightly criticized Fox News for the way they’ve sandwiched real reporting in hyper partisan analysis.

    FNC also has to answer for chumming the waters with a FALSE CIA report.

  3. Cujo359 November 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    Call me crazy, but that quote strikes me as the sort of thing I’d hope a President would say a few hours after an incident like this – not blaming it on someone or something until he and his advisors had a chance to review all the information.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong