April 30, 2014

Politico’s Hounshell: No One ‘Credible’ or ‘Authoritative’ Has Shown That ‘WH Knowingly Pushed a False (Benghazi) Narrative’

NewsBusters commenter “bkeyser” at my Benghazi-related post last night pointed to a tweet from Politico Magazine Deputy Editor Blake Hounshell that is at the same time breathtakingly ignorant and astonishingly insolent.

Reacting to the contents of Benghazi-related emails finally obtained and published by Judicial Watch, Hounshell asked, “Can you point me to a credible, authoritative story saying the WH knowingly pushed a false narrative?” Well Blake, on the off-chance that you’re really interested in the truth instead of serving as one of your organization’s lead Obama administration lapdogs, I give you the Tuesday night writeup from an investigative journalist who, per her “about” page, has won four national Emmy Awards and has been nominated for eight others.

BlakeHounshellPoltico

That journalist is Sharyl Attkisson, who recently left CBS News. Her story went up yesterday (bolds are mine):

White House Directed Incorrect Benghazi Narrative
Newly-released emails: “Video” to blame, “not a broader failure or policy.”

Newly-released documents reveal direct White House involvement in steering the public narrative about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, toward that of a spontaneous protest that never happened.

In one sentence, the “authoritative” Attkisson answered Hounshell’s question. It’s “credible” because it’s based on an actual email. The White House already knew that the “spontaneous protest … never happened,” so it “knowing pushed a false narrative.”

Will Hounshell have the integrity to admit that Attkisson has provided him with everything he asked for?

Here’s the detail from Attkisson:

One of the operative documents, which the government had withheld from Congress and reporters for a year and a half, is an internal September 14, ​2012 email to White House press officials from Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s ​Assistant and Deputy National Security Advisor. (Disclosure:Ben Rhodes ​is the brother of David Rhodes, the President of CBS News, where I was employed until March.)

In the email, Ben Rhodes lists as a “goal” the White House desire “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”

The email is entitled, “RE: PREP CALL with Susan, Saturday at 4:00 pm ET” and refers to White House involvement in preparing then-U.S.Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice for her upcoming appearance on Sunday television​ network political talk shows.

The Rhodes email states that another “goal” is “To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

A court compelled the release of the documents, which were heavily-redacted, to the conservative watchdog group JudicialWatch, which has sued the government over its failed Freedom of Information responses. I have also requested Benghazi-related documents under Freedom of Information law, but the government has only produced a few pages to date.

Today, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the Rhodes email the “smoking gun” showing the “political manipulation by the White House” after the attacks.

​“The political shop at the White House took over early on,” Graham told me. “They understood it was a terrorist attack, that they had a political problem, and were going to handle it politically. They weren’t going to entertain anything other than what they wanted the public to hear.”

If all of this isn’t enough for Hounshell, he should henceforth be called Baghdad Blake.

Hounshell, last seen at NewsBusters petulantly acknowledging that he was wrong when he ridiculed Sarah Palin six years ago when she correctly predicted Russia’ adventuristic ambitions in Ukraine, should really apologize to the public he supposedly serves for last night’s Twitter charade. Readers are advised not to sit by their computers waiting for it.

Naturally, Poltico didn’t run a story on this until this morning so it could present the White House’s defense. It’s here, if you can stand it. The opening claim is that “recently released emails on the 2012 Benghazi attacks reflected what officials ‘understood to be the facts at the time.’” Horse manure.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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1 Comment

  1. “understood to be the facts at the time”
    That sure explains why the emails were redacted? Only if you just don’t want to know the truth.

    Comment by Jim — April 30, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

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