At Salon, they don’t just drink the Kool-aid, they swim in that shit:
Benghazi derp’s chief enablers: Why pundits’ fear to call out liars has grave consequences
The real scandal: GOP’s bad-faith opportunism, and White House reporters’ refusal to focus on what actually matters
One of the cardinal rules of punditry states that when a conflict can be said to have two sides, blame shall be apportioned in such a way that both sides shall be made to seem culpable. Then, and only then, can your take be deemed smart. With both Benghazi and the Affordable Care Act topping the news this week, the volume of pox-on-both-houses punditry is seeing a short-term spike.
Let’s turn first to Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, who wrote a column arguing that “if Republicans succeed in turning the Benghazi ‘scandal’ from a nothingburger into a Double Big Mac, the Obama White House can blame its own secrecy and obsessive control over information.” If you haven’t been following the latest Benghazi news, the new development is that Republicans are freaking out over a previously unreleased email from a White House aide that was intended to help prepare Susan Rice for her post-Benghazi Sunday talk show circuit. The Republicans think that this email is proof of a cover-up conspiracy of some sort because it wasn’t included in a previous batch of Benghazi-related documents released by the White House.
Why that email wasn’t included in the previous document dump is a legitimate question to ask. But that’s where the legitimacy of all this begins and ends. The email itself is decidedly uncontroversial. As Kevin Drum’s neat summation of the affair makes plain, its contents don’t deviate from the CIA’s position at the time. All it shows is that “like any administration, the Obama White House wanted to put the best face on its Middle East policy.” Not exactly earth-shaking stuff.
And yet, its release prompted Republicans to form a House select committee on Benghazi and, as Milbank writes, “a White House press briefing was dominated for a third time by questions about Benghazi.”
Milbank himself acknowledges that the Benghazi “scandal” is the weakest of weak tea. “The Republican allegations,” he writes, “even if true, don’t amount to much.” If that’s the case, then what he’s describing is an opposition party and a White House press corps obsessively hounding the administration over failing to release in a more timely fashion a document that, ultimately, isn’t important.
Sure, let’s agree the White House should be more transparent. All for that. But what’s driving this current round of Benghazi-mania — and every round that preceded it — is the opportunistic bad-faith behavior of the Republicans and the inability of the White House press corps to focus on stories that actually matter.
Now let’s turn to Ron Fournier of the National Journal, who was very upset with the New York Times’ Paul Krugman for calling out the House Republicans who lied about the number of Obamacare enrollees who had paid their first month’s premiums.
The article then continues for several paragraphs discussing the alleged perfidy of the GOP regarding Obamacare enrollment statistics. Not another peep about Benghazi.
The author of that piece is Simon Maloy. Simple Simon doesn’t actually work at Salon, despite having published quite a few articles there. Simple Simon works for Media Matters (MMFA) which is a Democratic Party propaganda outlet. That’s what I say anyway. According to MMFA they are a watchdog group that is “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media”.
The other day I discussed why Benghazi really is a scandal. I listed seven separate sub-scandals and later it was pointed out that I missed at least one. So I thought I would grant equal time to the other side and post this as a rebuttal of sorts.
So let us dissect and analyze Simple Simon’s counter-argument.
The title and subtitle are technically not part of the argument, but what (or who) is the “Benghazi derp?” The first paragraph is just fluff. It’s an intro with a nice strawman, but it doesn’t state a real thesis.
The second paragraph presents some alleged facts after quoting Dana Milbank. Milbank is hardly a right-wing pundit. He’s a left-wing hack who works for the Washington Post. Again, no thesis statement is given.
The third paragraph goes “opinion, opinion, opinion, vague factual assertion, opinion, opinion. Still no thesis statement.
The fourth and fifth paragraphs quote Milbank to prove . . . something. The sixth paragraph is a strawman argument, and I just put the seventh in there to show you that Simple Simon changes the topic at that point.
If you had just arrived here from another planet would you have any idea what Simple Simon is talking about? Is there anything in that article that mentions why Benghazi was the least bit controversial in the first place? Anything about four dead Americans and a foreign policy fiasco followed by a cover-up?
That first paragraph mentions something about an argument having two sides, but he doesn’t tell you anything about either side. The only controversy he mentions is the smoking gun email, which he then declares to be uncontroversial. Then he tries to change the subject to something that he says “actually matters.”
If I was grading this article I would have to give Simple Simon an “F”.
There is an old saying in the legal profession that “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. If you don’t have either one, pound the table.” All Simple Simon and his compatriots in the Big Democratic Noise Machine have been doing this week is pounding the table.
They have their talking points and they are sticking to them. It’s a phony scandal, a big waste of time, all the questions have been answered, let’s move on.
Hillary Clinton says she is satisfied that she knows all the answers to Benghazi, but I still have questions.
So does Trey Gowdy.