What do I Mean by “Benghazi Conspiracy Theories”?

An attempt to lay down some basic groundwork for discussing this story.

I think that my quick post from last night (What Do Benghazi Conspiracy Theories and the Romney Electoral College Landslide Have in Common?) needs a bit of elucidation.

First, I very much think that the basic dynamic that has made, for some, Benghazi a huge story of epic significance (rather than just an important story) and that made it possible for so many people to think that Romney was going to win in a landslide are the same.  I suspect that if I had the data necessary to draw a Venn diagram of people who were certain the polls were wrong and that Romney would win and who think that there is a massive cover up/conspiracy/massively under-reported by the mainstream media story in regards to Benghazi, that the circles would almost encompass one another.  This is largely conjecture, I will admit, as I do not have the polling capabilities to do an actual study of the public.  However, I will say that it goes beyond sheer guesswork in the following sense:  it is clear that similarly oriented media outlets have been pushing both narratives.

One has to recognize, by the way, that the Benghazi story plays into two right wing tropes: 1)  that Obama is weak and incompetent (and in the more extreme camps, a Muslim, terrorist sympathizer who wants to impose Sharia on America*) and. 2) that the mainstream press is hopelessly liberal and that only the conservative press tells the truth.

Second, the election story is rather easy to deal with, and indeed brings the problem of news-as-entertainment, and especially the conservative entertainment complex (CEC) itself, into sharp focus.  We can look at the pronouncements and predictions of specific commentators (see here for an impressive run-down) and then compare them to actual events.  This makes the debunking of the bullshit** easy:  we had empirical claims that were easy to understand (specific EV predictions) and empirical results (election night) that could be compared.  This provided a singular moment of clarity and cast an appalling light on the conservative entertainment complex.  This is empirically incontrovertible (and, indeed, as Doug Mataconis noted yesterday, Romney’s campaign bought the BS as well, demonstrating the real world ramifications of this problem—and yes, it is a problem).

Third, there is a profound and important difference between treating Benghazi as an important story and a massive coverup/conspiracy/massively underreported by the mainstream media story.  Let me be clear:  the death of a US Ambassador, along with three other American in the context of an attack on a US consulate is an important story.  It deserves attention.  It should be thoroughly investigated.   However, I am not talking about a legitimate interest in a legitimate story when I deploy the notion of BS here and compare it to the polling discussion.  No, I am talking about stories, almost all (if not all) in the CEC that touted Benghazi as a massive cover up.  For example:

The American Spectator:  Media Bias 101: Benghazi vs. Watergate and Iran-Contra

The Blaze: BENGHAZI ATTACK COVER-UP IS WORSE THAN WATERGATE

World Net Daily:  BENGHAZI COVER-UP: ‘THIS DWARFS WATERGATE’.   Note that this story gets the notion from Rush Limbaugh, King of the CEC:

“This dwarfs Watergate, weapons of mass destruction, whatever,” said radio host Rush Limbaugh Wednesday afternoon.

“This dwarfs Iran-Contra, about which the media spent three solid years trying to take out Ronald Reagan. The latest shoe to drop in the Benghazi disaster is the news that the State Department was e-mailing about the attack on the consulate and the terrorists who they thought were behind it within two hours, and the e-mails went to the Situation Room of the White House. Obama knew.”

I would note that the invocation of Watergate is to assert that a conspiracy to cover up events is actively taking place at the highest levels of government.  This, alone, is enough to state that the CEC is engaging in conspiracy theories.

Two other, and more specific, conspiracy theories (one of recent vintage, and the reason I started thinking about this again):

1.   They Watched!

A clear example of conspiriacy theories (which contain the hope of a massive anti-Obama gotcha): (again via The Blaze):  RETIRED LT. COL.: MY SOURCES SAY OBAMA WAS IN THE ROOM WATCHING BENGHAZI ATTACK HAPPEN.

While it has been reported that a drone was diverted for use in dealing with the event, it was not the case that the folks in the White House just sat down to watch events like it was a TV show or something:

A four-hour lull in the fighting beginning shortly after midnight seemed to suggest that the worst was over. An unarmed military drone that the C.I.A. took control of to map possible escape routes relayed reassuring images to Tripoli and Washington. But just before dawn, and soon after a C.I.A.-led team of reinforcements, including two military commandos, arrived from Tripoli, a brief but deadly mortar attack surprised the Americans. Two of the C.I.A. security officers who were defending the base from a rooftop were killed.

That is from a NYT piece that bears reading.  It contains far more details than any of the sloppy conspiracy-minded stories have.  Further, it paints a picture of the complicated nature of the situation (unlike the video game-like versions in the CEC where help is easy and immediate if only someone would allow that help to come) and it also debunks the notion that people were told to “stand down” (another conspiracy theory) and that no attempt at aid was rendered.

2.  Petraeus.

I have seen several attempts to state that the Petraeus resignation was part of the Benghazi cover-up.  See some examples here (including the God Emperor of the CEC, Rupert Murdoch and CEC headliner Laura Ingraham).   Some blogospheric examples  here and here.

Question:  if the Obama administration wanted to use Petraeus’ affair in some draconian way to influence his testimony, wouldn’t it have made more sense for them to have kept him in place and used the information against him?  Further, why do people think that his resignation would mean that he could not be called before Congress to testify if they thought it necessary?  None of this makes any sense unless, of course, one is looing for a conspiracy built on BS.

Let me be clear:  the events in Benghazi need to be investigated, but they need to be investigated because we need to understand why it happened and prevent such happenings in the future.  However, it would appear that many do not want to simply understand the events, they are convinced that there is a deep, dark secret to be uncovered.  Prior to Tuesday, many thought it was the key to defeating Obama at the polls (Romney thought he had a massive win on this topic in the second debate, for example), and now many still think that it is cudgel with which they can beat him, if not impeach him.  The latter is from the land of wish (which, to bring this full circle, is where the CEC’s electoral projection originated).

The main problem with a story like Benghazi is that it is much harder to demonstrate the BS because of its complexity, while with the election it was quite easy to do.  Indeed, almost all political stories are more like Benghazi than the election, which makes debunking the BS on a daily basis nearly impossible.

Still, one concluding plea:  those who consume massive amounts of the CEC, please consider the degree to which you were mislead over the election and then, perhaps, start to apply some grains of salt when the exact same people spin various conspiracy theories (whether on Benghazi or on the next thing, because there will be numerous next things).

Much more could be written, but I will leave here for now.  To conclude, however, let me say this:  my fundamental point is that there is a difference of great importance between wanting to understand what happened in Benghazi and wanting to turn Benghazi into a massive scandal based on conjecture and animosity towards the administration.  And, most important of all:  evidence and careful analysis are far more likely to lead to a useful conclusion than is wishful partisan ranting presented in a sensationalistic fashion.

*One need look no further than Dinesh D’Souza’s ridiculous 2016 to demonstrate this fact.

**I use that term in Harry G. Frankfurt’s sense of the term, as taken from the description of the essay:  “bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner’s capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”  Clearly, a lot of the discussion of polling that we saw, and can now see were wrong (like Jay Cost’s claims about PA or George Will’s about MN, to name tow very specific examples in a sea of BS) fit well into what Frankfurt was talking about.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2012, National Security, Terrorism, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    Further, it paints a picture of the complicated nature of the situation

    Even the conservatives who don’t buy in to every conspiracy theory refuse to acknowledge this simple fact. On the anniversary of 9/11 protests were sparked around the Muslim world in response to a stupid video on the Web, including a rather dangerous one in Egypt, a country that just underwent a revolution. In another Muslim country that just underwent a revolution and has a complicated mix of actors vying for control, including a number of Islamic extremist, a group attacked the consulate and a CIA annex in two attacks over the course of the night. The US maintains diplomatic relations alongside a substantial CIA presence in that country, and much of what they are doing there is extremely sensitive and some is covert and highly dangerous.

    This is a very complicated situation, and the wingnuts who don’t really care one whit about the Americans killed, but saw an opportunity to weaken the president during an election, immediately insisted that every single detail of what happened that night should have been presented in public, without any doubts or caveats, immediately after the events occurred. They have insisted ever since that the lack of a immediately issued, highly detailed report of events that occurred involving covert operations in a country that is barely stable in a hostile region of the world is an impeachable offense.

    That an investigation into exactly what happened and why is underway and the CIA has released a timeline of events doesn’t matter to them at all. Anything short of live video feed that didn’t exist broadcast in real time on network television during the attack is a coverup WORSE THAN WATERGATE!!!!!1111!!!

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    Enemies found a weakness in our defenses and exploited it to successfully attack a diplomatic outpost. Such things happen when two forces engage in violent conflict. But it sounds to me as though the Malkins and Limbaughs are demanding nothing less than 100%, absolute and total security everywhere, all the time, which is not possible under any president or any policy. Didn’t Sun-Tzu write that defending in a few sectors means being strong in a few sectors, while defending everywhere means being weak everywhere?

    There’a no question that a primary motivator in this is pure hatred for the President, but is it also possible these people are just plain terrified of everything? Do thy have a psychology which detects enemies under every bed and in every community, waiting to strike? How much is BS and how much is paranoia and fear?

  3. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    There are three phases to this story, and there are troubling questions regarding all three.

    Before the attack. There were repeated reports about the insecurity of the Benghazi facility, and several credible reports of terrorists in and around Benghazi assembling and preparing for a big operation. Why were these not addressed? Why was our ambassador dispatched there on 9/11, of all days, considering how much symbolism the terrorists put into such dates?

    During the attack. The US response was woefully inadequate — that it succeeded is proof of that. Was a more forceful response unavailable, or declined? And if it was declined, who made the decision to abandon the Americans to the terrorists?

    After the attack. The immediate rush to downplay the terrorist angle and push the “crazed mob” story — to the point of inventing riots in Benghazi and scapegoating this dumbass in California before the world — raises some very troubling questions. By singling out the dumbass, he’s now been raised to the status of Theo Van Gogh, Salman Rushdie, and Lars Vilks, who live under death sentences from Muslims worldwide.

    And “worse than Watergate?” As the old saying goes, nobody died at Watergate. Four Americans were murdered in Benghazi. To some people, that’s kind of a big deal.

  4. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Ben Wolf: Actually, I’m demanding competence and honesty. I understand “shit happens,” but a lot of the time shit has help happening.

  5. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And “worse than Watergate?” As the old saying goes, nobody died at Watergate. Four Americans were murdered in Benghazi. To some people, that’s kind of a big deal.

    This is trite and intellectual lazy.

    First, by that standard any traffic accident with a fatality is “worse than Watergate”–which is true if the standard we are using is number of fatalities.

    Second, the Watergate comparison (and whether something is worse or not) is about coverups and the level of the coverup (and the why of the coverup). Given that there is little evidence of a coverup (although there are theories of a coverup) it is impossible to actually state if Benghazi is a coverup, let alone as to its scope.

  6. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The US response was woefully inadequate — that it succeeded is proof of that.

    So, you think that it is possible to have 100% security? That is an intriguing, if wholly fantastical, position.

  7. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The immediate rush to downplay the terrorist angle and push the “crazed mob” story — to the point of inventing riots in Benghazi and scapegoating this dumbass in California before the world — raises some very troubling questions.

    Given that there were protests and demonstrations of some kind in 54 countries, including ones that lead to deaths, associated with the video, the attention paid to it made perfect sense.

    The problem with the video is that a lot of Benghazi conspiracy theorists like to pretend that the administration was only dealing with the video in the context of Libya, which is patently not the case.

    You are simply falling for, and regurgitating, the BS I noted in the post.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    So, you think that it is possible to have 100% security? That is an intriguing, if wholly fantastical, position.

    Steven, Jenos specializes in wholly fantastical, positions.

  9. Ben Wolf says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Before the attack. There were repeated reports about the insecurity of the Benghazi facility, and several credible reports of terrorists in and around Benghazi assembling and preparing for a big operation. Why were these not addressed? Why was our ambassador dispatched there on 9/11, of all days, considering how much symbolism the terrorists put into such dates?

    There are credible reports of terrorists all over the world, and credible reports of potential attacks. We (meaning the United States) are not omniscient and omnipotent.

    During the attack. The US response was woefully inadequate — that it succeeded is proof of that. Was a more forceful response unavailable, or declined? And if it was declined, who made the decision to abandon the Americans to the terrorists?

    We do not have the necessary assets to dominate every spatial point on the planet. I won’t bother responding to the suggestion someone (if you’ll be more up front and acknowledge you think the President was behind it) “abandoned” Americans just because . . . why exactly?

    And “worse than Watergate?” As the old saying goes, nobody died at Watergate. Four Americans were murdered in Benghazi. To some people, that’s kind of a big deal.

    Absurd. By that standard George W. Bush is a greater criminal for his administration’s failures to prevent the killings of marines in Fallujah or the attacks on the World Trade Center, for which there were multiple credible reports warning of the threats.

  10. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    No, I suspect that like JKB has posted elsewhere, @jenos believes that the proper response, as the even unfolded was to attack the crowd/terrorists engaged in the attack — either via air support (drones, helicopter, or jets) or flying a Special Forces rapid response team to the area to directly engage with the crowd.

    Option A (air support) is problematic because of the area effect nature of the response. As for Option B, I’ve yet to see a non-partisan military expert (i.e. not a foxpert or a typical go-to for the CMC) who can confirm that the US staff this type of Rapid Response team and the necessary transport for that team anywhere within striking distance of the consulate.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    There’a no question that a primary motivator in this is pure hatred for the President, but is it also possible these people are just plain terrified of everything? Do thy have a psychology which detects enemies under every bed and in every community, waiting to strike? How much is BS and how much is paranoia and fear?

    You know the answers to all of these questions…why else did so many people in this country have such a warped reaction to the original 9/11? The sooner the so-called “War on Terror” is over, in addition to other “Wars on” whatever, the better off we’ll all be and certainly the more freedom we will have…

    This is trite and intellectual lazy.

    Well, considering the source, this should be expected…

  12. Ben Wolf says:

    @An Interested Party:

    You know the answers to all of these questions…

    Well I do have my own opinions, yes. But I always keep in mind the things I think aren’t necessarily so, and keep asking questions. I wish people like Jenos and JKB and Florack would do a little of that themselves.

  13. @mattb:

    No, I suspect that like JKB has posted elsewhere, @jenos believes that the proper response, as the even unfolded was to attack the crowd/terrorists engaged in the attack — either via air support (drones, helicopter, or jets) or flying a Special Forces rapid response team to the area to directly engage with the crowd.

    All of that just sound like action-movie/video game/comic book understandings of these situations.

  14. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Why was our ambassador dispatched there on 9/11, of all days, considering how much symbolism the terrorists put into such dates?

    Do you have evidence that he was “dispatched”? According to this, ” Stevens would have had the authority to set his own schedule and travel plans, without Washington’s approval.”

    Indeed, from my reading, it was Ambassador Stevens’s MO to travel about on his own, or in the company of a few others.

  15. steve says:

    “Before the attack. There were repeated reports about the insecurity of the Benghazi facility, and several credible reports of terrorists in and around Benghazi assembling and preparing for a big operation. Why were these not addressed? Why was our ambassador dispatched there on 9/11, of all days, considering how much symbolism the terrorists put into such dates?”

    This is inconsistent with stories about what happened that day. The security people in the compound were carrying only sidearms, not their long guns. They were not wearing body armor. Back up security was at the annex, not at the compound. They clearly had no intelliigence leading them to believe an attack was imminent.

    Steve

  16. Coop says:

    I hate to be that guy….but this article needs a little editing. Otherwise, great article.

    It should be thoroughly investigation.

    No, I am talking about stories, almost all (if not all) in the CEC that touted Benghazi as a massive coverage.

    It contain far more details than any of the sloppy conspiracy-minded stories have.

    Let me be clear: the events in Benghazi need to be investigated, but they need to be investigated because we need to understand why happened and prevent such happenings in the future.

    Prior to Tuesday, many thought it was the key to defeating Obama at the polls (Romney thought he had a massive win on this topic in the second debate, for example), and now many still think that that it is cudgel with which they can beat him now, if not impeach him.

    To conclude, however, let me say this: my fundamental point is that there is a difference of great important between wanting to understand what happened in Benghazi and wanting to turn Benghazi into a massive scandal based on conjecture and animosity towards the administration.

  17. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    But what do you expect? As you well know there are a lot of “Military Experts” out there who found any number of creative excuses to not actually serve. But they support the troops, can talk about every sort of military vehicle, expect massive responses to any situation, and read lots of Tom Clancy.

    It’s sorta like the number of people who pontificate on gun defense without ever having taken a gun handling course or doings any sort of regular range work. Ditto self defense “experts” who’ve never actually done any real sort of fight training, usually have a spare tire, and at best have a green belt from the local McDojo.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Coop:

    I hate to be that guy….

    Than don’t 😉 Seriously tho, it is a blog, not a newspaper.

  19. @Coop: Thanks for the edits. I do, in fact, need an editor. Further, I am (like many people) my own worst editor.

  20. @OzarkHillbilly: I actually do not mind. I only get annoyed with the “you need an editor” comments when typos and minor errors are considered as invalidating arguments and evidence.

    I have written and published enough in my life to know that yes, I need an editor (and I also know that anyone who is published (beyond self-publishing, such as blogging) has one.

  21. (I also know, as a professor and someone who has done peer review work that it is always easier to find the errors of others).

  22. Mike says:

    Regarding what was or wasn’t available for military support, all the reports I’ve seen indicate that the closest unit available to “ride to the rescue” was the EUCOM QRF (AFRICOM doesn’t have one and piggybacks off EUCOM’s), which was a Special Forces team doing training in Croatia. They got alerted and were deployed to Italy but got there after the shooting was over. Same goes for a Delta detachment that was deployed to Italy from the CONUS, and same for the FAST platoons that deployed from Rota.

    As far as air support, some AFSOC assets from the U.S. got alerted and deployed to Italy with the Delta guys, but there was nothing in theater on alert and it’s not like you can just conjure up aircraft from nothing (there’s a reason aircraft are cocked on alert when they need to be ready to go at a moment’s notice), not to mention put together a plan to effectively employ them in combat, not to mention the transit time since the nearest base to Benghazi with U.S. strike aircraft was still a couple of hours flight time away, not to mention that those would’ve been strike aircraft with limited loiter time and limited ability to figure out who was who on the ground.

    Bottom line is that when there is less than 12 hours from start to finish it is very difficult to have a military response to anything unless the forces are pre-alerted and in theater prior to the start of events.

  23. Peter says:

    Some blogospherians think that the consulate’s call for help should have elicited an immediate response like calling 911.

  24. john personna says:

    Pulling back to the wider perspective again, Timothy B. Lee, at Forbes:

    Conservatives’ Reality Problem

  25. ernieyeball says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I do, in fact, need an editor.

    Watch out what you wish for…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPT5KIbSuzM&feature=player_embedded

  26. Janiah says:

    @mantis: How can you say the “wing nuts” don’t care that the CIA has released a timeline of events when one of the questions it raised is why it disagrees with the timeline released by the Pentagon?

    Oh never mind. Your point is to bash conservatives. You’ll do that regardless of facts. You bash them on many issues for emotional release or something. Talking facts is a waste of time with anyone, which includes probably most of the people here, who is in a discussion for emotional release.

  27. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The problem with the video is that a lot of Benghazi conspiracy theorists like to pretend that the administration was only dealing with the video in the context of Libya, which is patently not the case.

    That excuse could work for, at most, a day or two.

    “Conspiracy theorists” is a perjorative and does not apply. The White House itself claims to not know what happened. If it doesn’t, why shouldn’t the public wonder also?

  28. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Actually, I’m demanding competence and honesty”

    The first time you ever demonstrate the slightest shred of either, I’m sure we’ll all believe that this is really what you’re demanding.

  29. @Janiah:

    “Conspiracy theorists” is a perjorative and does not apply.

    People who are liken this to Watergate, and even saying that it is worse, are very much calling this a conspiracy.

    Further, if one thinks that there is a cover-up going on here thinks that there is a conspiracy.

    What else would you call it?

  30. @Janiah:

    That excuse could work for, at most, a day or two.

    And they are no longer citing the video.

    Why the ongoing focus by critics on the video?

  31. @Janiah:

    why shouldn’t the public wonder also?

    Who is saying that we shouldn’t try to figure out what happened?

  32. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Why the ongoing focus by critics on the video?

    Surely you know perfectly well that it makes no sense to many people that the video was blamed for this long after the administration knew better, after Obama had said it was a terrorist attack (and then blamed the video again), and that Petraeus told Congress the video was involved in creating a situation like a “flash mob” the day after the FBI & Nat’l Counterterrorism Center told Congress it was al Qaeda or an AQ affiliate.

    So people say “why blame the video?” and the answer they are getting from many (and the predominate theme here) is that it is illegitimate to ask.

    Who is saying that we shouldn’t try to figure out what happened?

    No one is saying that explicitly. They are all for it, ha ha, except 1) they attack those who are curious about what happened, or 2) they claim it’s already known if one just reads Wikipedia (the other threat), or 3) that anything that isn’t known is classified so we shouldn’t expect to find out. Other than that, and the insulting venn diagram crap meant to make curiosity illegitimate only with an oh so intellectual veneer (give me a break), it is all fine and dandy.

    Why, everyone here is oh so concerned about why four people died without meaningful security in what would have to be one of the most scary situations imaginable, and why the government responsible keeps telling conflicting stories while the President and his office keep saying he doesn’t know what happened. Why be concerned about that when many here can instead spend the thread bashing conservatives for wondering?

    I read this blog a lot years ago and then didn’t for some years and now tht I have returned I am disappointed to see that it has turned into something of a dog pen where the bloggers throw out meat to be shredded by rabid dogs. The bloggers are throwing out fairly superficial posts (given that I’m reading posts by people with advanced degrees), often containing some kind of faux-intellectual criticism of conservatives, to commenters, many of whom use the posts as excuses to shred conservatives rather than discuss the question that (at least officially) is on the table.

    I am reaching the conclusion that the point these days here for the bloggers is to throw out a lot of stuff to get page views (ad revenue?) and that many of the commenters seemingly have personality disorders, as their anger level is continually so high it appears to limit their ability to converse normally.

  33. @Janiah:

    While I note your criticism of the quality of the posts, I would note that your comment is mostly is mostly a critique of the commenters.

    What is your argument with what I wrote?

    And BTW: I would note that it is not logically mutually exclusive to state that the attack was an act of terror and to think that the video was in some way relevant.

    I am, ultimately, not sure what your point/goal is here.

  34. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And they are no longer citing the video.

    Why the ongoing focus by critics on the video?

    It is perceived by critics as a deliberate attempt to cover up the “truth” rather than a simple misapprehension of the situation in the short-term aftermath or, alternately, as a way to placate the volatile situation in Libya and other nations where there also demonstrations.

  35. An Interested Party says:

    I am reaching the conclusion that the point these days here for the bloggers is to throw out a lot of stuff to get page views (ad revenue?) and that many of the commenters seemingly have personality disorders, as their anger level is continually so high it appears to limit their ability to converse normally.

    You’re confused, sweetie…after the election results, there are plenty of people around here who are quite pleased…yes, there are some regulars who probably now have a quite high level of anger, but they have been noticeably absent since Tuesday night…if you want to see more people with personality disorders and a high anger level, I’m sure sites like National Review Online, RedState.com, and Ace of Spades, among many others, will perfectly suit your needs…

  36. Janiah says:

    My frustration is, as you note, greater with the commenters, though I think as a whole, over time, the posts lead to an atmosphere in which the commenters are led to be critical, and fairly emotionally so, as opposed to analytical and constructive (though there is some of the latter).

    This is often accomplished, in my view, by the choice of angle in these posts rather than specific objectionable sentences.

    In your posts today and yesterday, for example, you examine the Benghazi situation from a perspective that people who care about Benghazi are people who consume conservative media, or what you choose to call, copying Frum (a man who always writes things straight and never says anything to get attention or pageviews) a “conservative entertainment complex,” and since the “conservative entertainment complex” mostly got the election wrong (keep in mind some conservatives in the media did not or simply said the election would be close, but it is no fun to emphasize those), it means consumers of the “conservative entertainment complex” should view news about Benghazi with a “grain of salt.”

    This is not wrong on the face of it (though a bit patronizing) but definitely tilted.

    First, ALL media consumption should take place with a grain of salt; mentioning only the “conservative entertainment complex” requires this tilts your story in a direction that attracts those who enjoy criticism of conservatives (or as you would say, the “right wing”).

    Second, conservative consumers of the “conservative entertainment complex” may be more interested in Benghazi because they are hearing stories about it, but their relative interest also exists because the “liberal entertainment complex” has not been particularly interested. Surely any interest conservatives had in Banghazi (before Tuesday) because they distrust Obama, fear he is incompetent in world affairs or simply wanted to see Obama lose was mirrored by liberals discounting the story because they trust Obama, believe him to be competent in world affairs or simply wanted to see him re-elected. Yet the latter motivation was not mentioned and has not, to my knowledge for coverage of the Benghazi case, been addressed in other posts.

    The tendency across many posts by multiple authors to address issues straight down the middle has an affect, and the affect I see is that the blog now attracts commenters who treat commenting.

    The “about us” for the blog says, “We aim to have informed, polite conversation about the issues which we find interesting.” The official writers appear to be polite but that’s where politeness ends.

    But look, I want to be clear. I’m not saying you guys do not have a right to post a lot of fast-written posts that not infrequently find an angle of criticism of the right, and which tend to attract commentators who go to town expressing animosity. Many have made good money in the liberal entertainment complex, and it is your blog (James’s?), not mine. I just liked this blog better before, when one could read comments on posts and see both sides more represented, and while there was some salty talk, there seemed to be more of an effort being made by commenters to bring intellectual arguments to the fore.

    And I think a change in a slant in the posts has changed the audience that is attracted to the blog (notice that the up and down arrows always *overwhelmingly* favor the left — conservatives mostly seem to have abandoned this blog), resulting in an audience uninterested in the informed, polite conversations with people of differing views that this blog once hoped to sponsor.

    This response is longer than I intended, as what I think about the direction this blog has taken is not important. It is your blog and your business decisions are really none of my business.

  37. Janiah says:

    The post directly above was meant as a response to @Steven L. Taylor. Sorry.

  38. al-Ameda says:

    The truth is not what Republicans are after, not what they really care about. This is being ginned up as a conspiracy by people who want to see Obama impeached for something – “Fast and Furious or “Benghazi” – anything will do.

    Conservatives never accepted Clinton as legitimate and, in his 2nd term, with control of the House, they impeached Clinton, knowing full well that the Senate would probably not vote to convict.

    I would not put it past this Republican House (and Darrell Issa) to undertake such a venture. I’d say that the odds are 10 to 1 against it, but remember, this is the Republican Party, keep your expectations low and you’ll never be disappointed by them.

  39. @Janiah:

    Quickly, because it is late:

    1. I am not criticizing people who want answers and understanding about Benghazi. I am criticizing people who see Benghazi as a massive scandal. It is my opinion, backed by evidence, that the main source of the notion that Benghazi is a scandal are key segments of rightward media, specially FNC, Rush Limbaugh, WND, and so forth.

    2. I think that, like the polling situation I noted in the other post, that persons who consume a disproportionate about of such media, which I do think is more about entertainment than news, are more prone to think that Benghazi is a scandal.

    3. I think that people who think that Benghazi is scandal, like those who thought that Romney was going to win in a landslide, are being ill-served by said media and that this is not healthy for said consumers, nor for the republic in general.

    4. No: there is not an equivalent liberal entertainment complex.

    A few other things:

    The tendency across many posts by multiple authors to address issues straight down the middle has an affect, and the affect I see is that the blog now attracts commenters who treat commenting.

    I don’t that that there is any attempt by us to address issues straight down the middle (or in any direction). We write what we think is correct.

  40. Janiah Hoff says:

    You are of course entitled to your opinions, and to write for a blog that, based on the check marks, attracts a largely left of center audience.

  41. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’ve been busy for the past 24 hours, so I apologize for the tardiness and responding to several of your comments all at once.

    So, you think that it is possible to have 100% security? That is an intriguing, if wholly fantastical, position. How absolutist of you. But no matter how it’s spun, Benghazi was a massive failure that led to the death of a very high-ranking American official. We have a right to know what went wrong, and what will be done to prevent it from happening again.

    Given that there were protests and demonstrations of some kind in 54 countries, including ones that lead to deaths, associated with the video, the attention paid to it made perfect sense.

    For two weeks? Bullshit.

    In the early stages of the Civil War, Lincoln went through quite a few generals until he got to some who were willing and able to fight. I don’t think any of those sacked were Confederate sympathizers. After the Japanese attack, the commanding officers at Pearl Harbor were also relieved of duty. Neither were Japanese sympathizers.

    The attack in Benghazi should not have been so wildly successful. We need to know how it happened so we can work to prevent it from happening again.

    And there was no frigging reason to spend two weeks painting a giant bullseye for the world’s radical Muslims on the back of that schmuck filmmaker. I can’t find out if he’s a naturalized American or still Egyptian and a legal resident of the US, but regardless — he’s now marked for death for the unforgivable sin of “insulting Islam.”

    But hey, he’s a criminal anyway. So screw him.

  42. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    This is one of those discussions (like, well, almost everyone we engage in) in which I am certain no amount of back and forth is going to be especially fruitful. I consider you position to be a cartoon version of reality wherein the administration simply said, on a daily basis, “it’s all about the video” and therefore did nothing in terms of investigation or anything else. They just repeated “video” over and over.

    And in regards to the filmmaker, I hate to say it: but he brought the wrath of the Muslim world (ridiculous though it may be) down on himself. He is the one who made the film and posted it on YouTube for global distribution. He wanted it to be insulting.

    The thing is: that had nothing to do, ultimately, with the administration. There were protests in numerous countries, some of which led to deaths, in response to that video. If the Obama administration had never uttered the word “video” the filmmaker was going to be found out by the press and outed.

    And yes: i think having protests over a silly YouTube video is ridiculous and the deaths associated thereto are tragic.

    However, the Benghazi craze on the right makes no sense–not in the notion that it is a scandal of scandals. Nor is it correct to pretend that the administration sicced the world on the guy that made the film.

  43. Look, the events in Pakistan alone were going to be enough to get the film’s maker made public: 19 Reported Dead as Pakistanis Protest Muhammad Video

    Also see here (and note, these were not final tallies, as the Pakistan deaths were almost a week after this list was published):

    20+
    Countries that have experienced protests triggered by the film trailer, including Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, and Iran

    400
    Demonstrators who took to the streets in Sydney, Australia

    2
    Australian police reportedly injured

    17
    Sydney protesters reportedly injured

    10
    Protesters who have died in the worldwide riots

    2,000
    Marchers who took to the streets in the Afghan capital of Kabul

    50
    Policemen who sustained wounds during the Kabul protests

    3,000
    Students and teachers who protested in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province. Students as young as 12 were reportedly told to skip class by their instructors to attend the protests

    1
    Country (Sudan) that denied U.S. Marines entry as the Pentagon bolsters security measures

    128
    U.S. diplomats and members of the U.S. embassy staff evacuated from Tunisia

    1.5 billion
    Worldwide Muslim population

    $100,000
    Reported cost of the obscure, low-budget film. (Read more about it here.)

    50
    Protesters arrested in Libya over the U.S. consulate attack last Tuesday, which killed 4 Americans, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens

    If you can’t understand why the video was in the news, or why there would have been assumptions made about Libyan (especially since there were initial reports that the video was involved) then your ability to assess evidence is even less impressive than I previously thought.

  44. Just Me says:

    People who are liken this to Watergate, and even saying that it is worse, are very much calling this a conspiracy.

    I don’t think it is Watergate, but I do think it shows that somewhere there was incompetence or indifference in the chain of what happened.

    I am absolutely flabbergasted that there are no assets available to AFRICOM and they have to borrow assets from other commands and that on 9-11 those assets were apparently unavailable.

    Now a terrorist attack on April 12th might be a date where various assets wouldn’t be on high readiness, but it was flipping 9-11 and there wasn’t anyone on stand by just in case?

    1. I am not criticizing people who want answers and understanding about Benghazi. I am criticizing people who see Benghazi as a massive scandal.

    Except your other post and this one are actually rather condescending and dismissive of the concerns people have regarding Benghazi and you actually do seem to think “it should be investigated but not that much because it really isn’t a big deal.” Oh and the people who care about this are all delusional right wingers who only watch Fox News.

    Benghazi was a failure and at least some part of that failure shouldn’t have happened.

    And I am bothered by the fact that for 2 weeks this administratino blamed a movie when they knew at least 2 days later that it wasn’t (as I said Libya the very next day was saying there was no protest and that it was a terrorist attack).

    I find it hard to believe that I was better informed on this through the news than the president was through his intelligence community.

  45. @Janiah Hoff:

    You are of course entitled to your opinions, and to write for a blog that, based on the check marks, attracts a largely left of center audience.

    The thing is, you are somewhat confirming my overall hypothesis because you are viewing outlets as ideological first and foremost. You think, it seems, that I write to please a certain audience. I do not. I write what I think is correct.

    Put another way: the issue in judging the quality of content should be how much it does, or does not, conform to a better understanding of reality, not whether it is left, right, center, etc.

    I continue to maintain (and I say this as a former consumer and one who has family who consumes quite a lot of Fox, et al.) that CEC, as Frum calls it, is creating a false view of reality. The pre-election coverage clearly demonstrate this fact and I think the Benghazi coverage does as well.

    A simple question: do you think that Benghazi is worse than Watergate? And if so, why? And if not, what is your view of those who push that view?

  46. anjin-san says:

    @ Just Me

    Oh and the people who care about this

    You know what? Everybody cares about the deaths of Americans in Libya. Not everyone thinks those deaths are a stick to clobber the President with.

    I spent some time reading Benghazi related comments on Romney’s FB page. “Those four seals did not have to die” “Obama watched them die from the White House” “They begged for help, but Obama said no way” “All Obama cared about was his next trip to Vegas” “Those soldiers should not have died”…

    Most of the people who “care about this” have no clue about even the basic facts of the matter. One of the facts is that, while tragic, Benghazi does not matter strategically. We need to make a dispassionate analysis of what happened, identify what errors were made and take our lessons learned and move on. The hysteria the right wing media has whipped up does not honor the dead, nor does it serve our national interests.

  47. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In the early stages of the Civil War, Lincoln went through quite a few generals […] After the Japanese attack, the commanding officers at Pearl Harbor were also relieved of duty.

    For @Janiah… again, we see the same hyperbole in play:
    Benghazi = Civil War
    Benghazi = Pearl Harbor
    or as @Steven notes from above:
    Benghazi > Watergate

    @Just Me:

    I am absolutely flabbergasted that there are no assets available to AFRICOM and they have to borrow assets from other commands and that on 9-11 those assets were apparently unavailable.

    And what actual military experience do you base this on? Seriously? This seems to me like jurors who second guess police decisions based on their extensive viewings of CSI and other police forensic dramas.

    Except your other post and this one are actually rather condescending and dismissive of the concerns people have regarding Benghazi and you actually do seem to think “it should be investigated but not that much because it really isn’t a big deal.” Oh and the people who care about this are all delusional right wingers who only watch Fox News.

    Again, you are fundamentally misreading Steven Taylor’s point. The problem with the majority of people (pundits and commenters) agitating for investigations is that they are not looking for honest investigations, they are looking for a specific outcome.

    What you and others are looking for is confirmation that the current administration is (a) incompetent, (b) corrupt, and (c) engaged in some sort of cover up. You want people punished.

    One need only look to the disatisfaction among CMC conservatives over the eventual Fast and Furious investigation findings to see that this isn’t about the *investigation* it’s about getting specific results. And if those results are not reached, then the investigation isn’t credible.

  48. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    On a different note, you might be really interested in Thomas Rick’s new book “The Generals.” In part it looks at how, over the last fifty years, there has been a move away from firing Generals. Rick’s history and argument appear quite good, and give some understand about how things have shifted from the days of WWII and Pearl Harbor. Here’s an extended interview with the author where he discusses the book:
    http://www.npr.org/2012/11/01/164096479/ricks-firing-generals-to-fight-better-wars

  49. Just Me says:

    The problem with the majority of people (pundits and commenters) agitating for investigations is that they are not looking for honest investigations, they are looking for a specific outcome.

    And the problem with the people who believe that those concerned a just a bunch of conservative wackos is that you seem to really argue that what happened is essentially nothing big.

    How many of you actually support congressional investigations?

  50. mattb says:

    @Just Me:
    For the record I have no issue with a congressional investigation. I also have little hope that, in the current political environment, there’s much of a chance for a political investigation that doesn’t end up as political theatre largely aimed at trying to embarrass the Obama administration.

    I also suspect that at the end of the day, as with the investigation of Fast and Furious, the Congressional investigation will reveal that there was no vast conspiracy.

  51. mattb says:

    Btw, @Just Me if your key concern is that there should be investigations, then mission accomplished as there are going to be hearings in at least two House committees!

    Isn’t it time to now sit back and see what emerges?

  52. @Just Me:

    Except your other post and this one are actually rather condescending and dismissive of the concerns people have regarding Benghazi

    I will admit to being a bit condescending, perhaps, but not to people who want answers. However, to the people who think that this it worse that Watergate, I am not sure they deserve a whole lot of intellectual respect.

    I am absolutely flabbergasted that there are no assets available to AFRICOM and they have to borrow assets from other commands and that on 9-11 those assets were apparently unavailable.

    First, have you read this? C.I.A. Played Major Role Fighting Militants in Libya Attack

    Second, I think mattb is right: you make it sound like it should have worked like an action movie, rather than real life.

    How many of you actually support congressional investigations?

    I have, for a long time, advocated for a more activist Congress. I think that the legislative has ceded too much power to the executive and I think that Congress should taking governing far more seriously. As such, I very much support hearings. Of course, what I would like are hearings that are aimed at policy and governing and fixing mistakes. Issa has not demonstrated to date that that is what he is after. Rather, as mattb notes above, the goal seems to me a fishing expedition to find a way to beat up the administration. If they deserve to be beat, all well and good. However, that should not be the goal of the process.

  53. James in LA says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The thing is, you are somewhat confirming my overall hypothesis because you are viewing outlets as ideological first and foremost. You think, it seems, that I write to please a certain audience. I do not. I write what I thing [sic] is correct.

    This is virtually the only reason I read OTB, warts and all. That, and to watch Reynolds bitch-slap Superdestroyer, who really seems to want it.

    To drift slightly on topic, Benghazi was one wolf-cry too many, far too late, for an audience far too dim to be taken seriously.

  54. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: So, stripped of the condescension, what you’re saying is that those of us calling for a full and thorough investigation are right in what we say, but you thoroughly disagree with what we aren’t saying and what you perceive to be our real motives. And because you don’t like those perceived motives, you’re going to mock and condescend our statements — even though you agree, quietly in comments — that we’re right.

    Nice to know.

  55. Jenos Idanian 13 says:

    Oh, crap, the stupid icon is back… lemme lose the hashtag and see if it goes away.

  56. @Jenos Idanian #13: No. I think that anyone who thinks that there is a massive scandal here is radically mistaken and that the reason that they think that there is a massive scandal is almost certainly because they are being mislead by the CEC.

    And I think that a lot of folks, and you would be a good example, are concerned about these things because you want a means to beat up the administration.

    I think that Fast and Furious was the same sort of situation. And, not surprisingly, it too was a story touted by FNC, Rush, et al.

    And to conclude: as I am pretty sure I have noted before, if you want to be taken seriously, be serious.

  57. @Jenos Idanian 13: I expect that if you go back to Jay Tea that the icon would change.

  58. @Jenos Idanian #13: BTW, do you actually read the posts?

    From the post:

    Let me be clear: the death of a US Ambassador, along with three other American in the context of an attack on a US consulate is an important story. It deserves attention. It should be thoroughly investigated. However, I am not talking about a legitimate interest in a legitimate story when I deploy the notion of BS here and compare it to the polling discussion. No, I am talking about stories, almost all (if not all) in the CEC that touted Benghazi as a massive cover up.

    That’s not “quietly agreeing” that an investigation is warranted.

  59. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I read that. It jumped out as a touch of CYA buried in a heap of condescension. It’s what I call the “pony principle” — “if there’s this much horse crap, there’s gotta be a pony in here somewhere!” And that’s the pony.

    Fine, you say you favor an investigation. But you only say so when you also take the opportunity to swipe at those who also say it. With friends like you, who needs enemies?

    Finally… you seem to put a lot of faith in the reports from the Obama administration. It might have escaped your notice, but this is the same administration that kept spinning new stories on the details of the Bin Laden raid and gave away all kinds of classified information about it to blow their own horn. I recall Joe Biden identifying by name the commander of the unit and film makers being given unprecedented access for their movie.

    And back to that dumb bastard in California… yeah, some Muslims were unhappy (“unhappy” meaning “driven to psychotic levels of rage yet again, and demanding we all submit to their barbaric Islamic laws”) over the guy, but it’s hardly the place of the US government to name him prominently, condemn him, and then look for any excuse to toss him in jail and shut him up. This guy has a death warrant on his head (which, it must be said, he kinda sorta went looking for), and thanks to the Obama administration spending two weeks scapegoating him, it’s a lot easier for the crazies to find and kill him.

    I don’t think that’s a proper role for the federal government. But then, what the hell do I know? I also don’t like presidents ordering the assassination of American citizens who haven’t been charged with any crimes (and, incidentally, blowing up said citizen’s underage son in the process). I have all kinds of silly ideas.

  60. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    A simple question: do you think that Benghazi is worse than Watergate? And if so, why? And if not, what is your view of those who push that view?

    I take it you fail to perceive the irony that you do not like people looking at Benghazi as a scandal, so you ask me, someone who has only addressed the events themselves and from a national security perspective, to please address the question of whether it is a scandal on par with Watergate?

    I have NO IDEA if it is worse than Watergate. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. How can you miss that the whole point of wondering what happened is because we do not know what happened?

    I haven’t been developing an opinion about the people who think it is worse than Watergate, but you’ve led me to develop one about the people who keep complaining about them: That they are protesting too much.

    If I thought you knew anything about what really happened beyond the confused information so far made available to the public, I’d take your over-protestations as a sign that there’s something to hide. However, I don’t think you know anything more than anyone else in the public. Maybe you are just irritated that people do not trust the Administration, or are just throwing this out to earn pageviews. Honestly, who cares? The important thing is what happened at Benghazi….?

    No: there is not an equivalent liberal entertainment complex.

    On another point, I watched that Frum clip Doug M posted. Frum’s thesis about the existence of a “conservative entertainment complex” was expressed only in vague terms and seemed to be based on the notion that there are for-profit media outlets pandering to conservatives for profit that say inaccurate things. If this is indeed his definition, then your contention that there is no such thing on the left cannot be serious.

  61. @Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail:

    I read that. It jumped out as a touch of CYA buried in a heap of condescension. It’s what I call the “pony principle” — “if there’s this much horse crap, there’s gotta be a pony in here somewhere!” And that’s the pony.

    I respect sound argument, logic, and evidence. If my rejection of the lack of such things is to be considered condescension, so be it.

  62. David M says:

    @Janiah:

    WE DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. How can you miss that the whole point of wondering what happened is because we do not know what happened?

    Um, that’s the problem right there. It’s fairly clear to most people what happened in Benghazi, and even more obvious there’s no “scandal”. Here’s the short version:

    1. The consulate was attacked and set on fire, a couple people die.
    2. CIA operators rescue a couple other people, move to annex.
    3. Mortar rounds land on annex, kill a couple more people.
    4. GOP lunatics go crazy.

    There’s really nothing for the Obama administration to be covering up, so the “but benghazi!!!111!1!1!!!” morons can safely be ignored.

  63. @Janiah:

    I have NO IDEA if it is worse than Watergate. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

    Then I would guess you would join with me in stating that anyone who claims otherwise is over-reacting and that news outlets that are claiming that it is worse than Watergate (or otherwise engaging in hyperbole) are incorrect to do so, yes?

  64. (After all: that is what my central thesis was in both posts).

    (and one that Jenos doesn’t seem to understand, btw)

  65. @Janiah:

    then your contention that there is no such thing on the left cannot be serious.

    Let me ask this: prior to the election, where was the left-wing media outlets that where creating their own polling numbers?

    Beyond that: where is the leftward equivalent of the following (and that are regularly cited as legit? by co-partisans?):

    Right-wing talk radio (Rush, Hannity, Beck, Ingraham, etc.)?

    How about: World Net Daily, Washington Examiner, Washington Times, etc.?

    How many people do you know who watch only MSNBC the way so many watch only Fox? (And MSNBC is not as linked to the Democratic Party the way Fox is to the Republicans).

  66. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Then I would guess you would join with me in stating that anyone who claims otherwise is over-reacting and that news outlets that are claiming that it is worse than Watergate (or otherwise engaging in hyperbole) are incorrect to do so, yes?

    Your concern for the national security aspects and the dead Americans is laudable.

    Presumably they are at best premature and at worst ridiculous. I have only seen this said in comments on web pages where the people seemed to be criticizing the news media for not covering the story more. In those contexts, the comments apparently were about news judgements. Evidently you have seen/heard this said by Rush, by Fox personnel, or in news or editorial pieces elsewhere. I have not.

  67. @David M: Indeed–the basic facts are not in dispute.

  68. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think that anyone who thinks that there is a massive scandal here is radically mistaken and that the reason that they think that there is a massive scandal is almost certainly because they are being mislead by the CEC.

    Actually, I think @Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail and @Janiah demonstrate how your argument needs to be flipped.

    There are a significant number of people who believe that there is a massive scandal here because it happened under Obama’s watch. And there is little evidence that suggests that *any evidence* would change their opinions. Hence’s @Jenos taking the NYTimes article as evidence that helps reinforce that there is some sort of CYA action taking place.

    The popularity of the CEC is that is supplies further evidence to help support these individuals existing biases. Hence that’s why many of the more extreme sites are running stories connecting the Patereus resignation with the “Benghazi Coverup.”

    As I mentioned on another thread, CEC isn’t going to heavily suffer for it’s recent “water carrying” and all out lying to it’s audience. The problem is that @Jenos and other’s WANT TO BE LIED TO — or rather want, at all cost, to have their beliefs proven right.

    As long as they’re a willing market, CEC will continue to sell them exactly what they want. Which, btw Janiah, is exactly what Frum (and Sean Scallon before him) were calling the CEC/Conservative Inc out on.

    And, ot — what’s going to be particularly interesting to see is how the audience will react to individuals like Hannity and Krauthammer attempt to redefine conservative values and positions in order to shore up the Republican party.

  69. @Janiah:

    Your concern for the national security aspects and the dead Americans is laudable.

    These posts are not about Benghazi, per se, but about how and where information is obtained. The election connection is rather vital to understanding my point, which you are eliding.

  70. @Janiah: One more thought: look at how many in the CEC are treating the Petreaus situation: it HAS to be Benghazi-related because, well, because it is obvious that Benghazi is a scandal that needs to be covered up.

  71. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Let me ask this: prior to the election, where was the left-wing media outlets that where creating their own polling numbers?

    Beyond that: where is the leftward equivalent of the following (and that are regularly cited as legit? by co-partisans?):

    Right-wing talk radio (Rush, Hannity, Beck, Ingraham, etc.)?

    How about: World Net Daily, Washington Examiner, Washington Times, etc.?

    How many people do you know who watch only MSNBC the way so many watch only Fox? (And MSNBC is not as linked to the Democratic Party the way Fox is to the Republicans).

    You seem to be under the mistaken impression that you can give me homework.

    Homework consisting of strawmen I am required to knock down.

    Here’s how it works in serious conversation: You make a contention and prove it. You don’t get to make unsupported contentions that will be considered valid unless I take the time out of my day to knock them down.

  72. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    (And MSNBC is not as linked to the Democratic Party the way Fox is to the Republicans).

    While I appreciate what you are trying to say here and what you are *not saying* (i.e. that you are NOT saying that MSNBC has no connections with the Democratic Party), I think this is the type of thing that gets you into trouble.

    MSNBC clearly does have links to the Democratic party — both explicit (Al Sharpton having played a role in Democratic politics for quite some time0 and implicity (the number of Democratic politicians who regularly appear on programs).

    That said, to your point, there has yet to be evidence of as much synchronization of messaging between the talkers on MSNBC and the national party as there has been between Fox New’s commentary programs and the national Republican Party.

  73. @Janiah:

    You seem to be under the mistaken impression that you can give me homework.

    No, I am asking you to back your claims, that’s how arguments work (or, at least, how arguments work if you want to be taken seriously).

    You claimed that there was a CEC on the left. I have outlined, and very quickly without homework, how I would define the CEC, but you claim there is an LEC that would match the CEC as defined. One would think that you are going to make the claim that you have a basis for said claim.

  74. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:@Janiah:

    One more thought: look at how many in the CEC are treating the Petreaus situation: it HAS to be Benghazi-related because, well, because it is obvious that Benghazi is a scandal that needs to be covered up.

    You must be a constant consumer of conservative for-profit media. I have not seen this. I did however see a congressman or two question the timing. I watch a lot of C-Span.

  75. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You claimed that there was a CEC on the left. I have outlined, and very quickly without homework, how I would define the CEC, but you claim there is an LEC that would match the CEC as defined. One would think that you are going to make the claim that you have a basis for said claim.

    There are liberal news outlets that pander to a liberal audience and which carry inaccurate information. Stating more is a waste of time as this is basic knowledge. I do not know why you are contesting it unless it is that people watch less MSNBC than Fox. I make no claims about equal sizes. According to Gallup, almost twice as many Americans claim to be conservative compared to liberal. I expect this alone would affect audience sizes.

  76. @mattb: I take the point. But what I am referring to things like actually sponsoring Tea Party events and having major Republican fundraisers (i.e., Karl Rove) as analyst.

  77. @Janiah: Yes, but this is not what you claimed.

  78. mattb says:

    @Janiah:

    Homework consisting of strawmen I am required to knock down.

    Actually, given that you have been stating that you read OTB, then you must have seen the many posts on the “Unskewed Polls” and Poll Denial that that have been written here by all of the main authors.

    Hell, just googling the terms reveals little ditty like:

    Featured in The Blaze, the Drudge Report and mentioned on the Rush Limbaugh Show and others, everyone is visiting UnSkewedPolls.com to check out the UnSkewedPolls.com average of unskewed polls.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/mitt-romney-leads-by-nine-percent-new-qstarnews-presidential-poll

    Here’s Limbaugh telling his audience “Don’t Let Bogus Polls Depress You

    I’m happy to provide you more links to demonstrate how this isn’t a strawman argument. That said, you’ve done little to demonstrate that you would actually concede that this might in fact be the case.

  79. @Janiah: The Petreaus thing is mentioned in the body of the post to which we are commenting at the moment (with links).

    And yes: I consume a lot of news and media in general.

  80. mattb says:

    @Janiah:
    If you didn’t know that the CEC is linking the resignation with Benghazi, I suggest looking at sites like The Daily Caller, Wizbang, Powerline, The Blaze, Red State, amoung others, which have all run stories about this within the last two days. I’d also suggest looking a comment threads on all of these sites and fox news to see how many of the readers are currently pushing a connection despite the denial.

    So far, the National Review has been the only major CEC voice I’ve seen to dismiss an outright connection.

  81. Janiah says:

    @mattb:

    If you didn’t know that the CEC is linking the resignation with Benghazi, I suggest looking at sites like The Daily Caller, Wizbang, Powerline, The Blaze, Red State, amoung others, which have all run stories about this within the last two days. I’d also suggest looking a comment threads on all of these sites and fox news to see how many of the readers are currently pushing a connection despite the denial.

    So far, the National Review has been the only major CEC voice I’ve seen to dismiss an outright connection.

    If you believe there is no connection, why are you urging me to read stories claiming there is a connection?

    My plan for this story is to watch the next hearings on this matter that are made public, as well as hear/read direct statements by involved parties and congressional investigators.

    Regarding Petraeus, I am hopeful that he will still testify, because he has knowledge regardless of his current employment status. I concede to curiosity regarding the timing along the same lines as Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s comments in the WSJ this AM at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324894104578112851221977118.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEFTTopStories

  82. mattb says:

    @Janiah:

    If you believe there is no connection, why are you urging me to read stories claiming there is a connection?

    Really… are you that disingenuous?!
    @Janiah:

    You must be a constant consumer of conservative for-profit media. I have not seen [The CEC connecting the resignation and Benghazi].

    Since you have accused Steven of raising Stawman arguments and explicitly stated that you don’t feel you have to do any research, I was simply supplying proof that the CEC is in fact pursuing this line of speculation.

    But of course CEC doesn’t exist. And you don’t consume any of it. You just happen to have arrived at all the same talking points, biases, innuendos, and mass denials. Have you met @Jan? You two would really get along.

  83. Janiah says:

    @mattb:

    I’m happy to provide you more links to demonstrate how this isn’t a strawman argument.

    I’m not sure that you understand what I called a strawman argument. It was in reference to things I cited in the post where I made the mention of strawmen, e.g., te size of the MSNBC audience proving one way or another whether there is such a thing as for-profit liberal media intentionally seeking a liberal audience as a business model and which broadcasts/publishes inaccurate information.

    Certainly it is clear that many conservative media figures falsely believed the turnout assumptions in polls predicting an Obama victory were overly rosy for Obama, and many consumers of this news media agreed with them. And consumers of liberal media sites likewise believe what they hear/read. None of these are breakthrough realizations.

  84. Janiah says:

    @mattb:

    Since you have accused Steven of raising Stawman arguments and explicitly stated that you don’t feel you have to do any research, I was simply supplying proof that the CEC is in fact pursuing this line of speculation.

    I see. Except

    1) Steven was talking about whether there is a liberal entertainment complex (he says no) and you are talking about whether conservative media are spectulating a connection between Petraeus’s resignation and Benghazi.

    and

    2) I was not saying I do not have to do research. I said he doesn’t get to throw up contentions without proof and have them be assumed to be true unless I spend time disproving them. He can prove his own contentions like anybody else.

  85. @Janiah:

    te size of the MSNBC audience proving one way or another whether there is such a thing as for-profit liberal media intentionally seeking a liberal audience as a business model and which broadcasts/publishes inaccurate information.

    You do not understand my argument. I recognize that there are for-profit liberal-oriented outlets.

    The issue is the degree to which there is a liberal bubble as comprehensive as there is a conservative bubble.

    But you mainly watch C-Span, so no worries, I guess.

  86. @Janiah:

    Let me try again, and I will go step at a time.

    Is there a liberal equivalent to conservative talk radio?

  87. Janiah says:

    @mattb:

    But of course CEC doesn’t exist. And you don’t consume any of it. You just happen to have arrived at all the same talking points, biases, innuendos, and mass denials. Have you met @Jan? You two would really get along.

    Of course conservative media exists. Steven and I agree that it exists. He doesn’t believe there a liberal counterpart and I do.

  88. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Let me try again, and I will go step at a time.

    Is there a liberal equivalent to conservative talk radio?

    So you practice being patronizing in front of a mirror?

    Of course there is. Smaller audience than conservative talk radio. And websites, TV networks, Internet newsmagazines and the like. If you plan to continue to deny the existence of liberal media with themes, common talking points they push and so forth, don’t bother. I read and see them regularly.

  89. @Janiah:

    Of course conservative media exists. Steven and I agree that it exists. He doesn’t believe there a liberal counterpart and I do.

    You are utterly missing the point.

    I would be happy to assume that this is because I have been unclear, but I am not so sure. I am expressly talking about a phenomenon in which a significant number of persons receive almost all of their news from FNC, talk radio and online sources like WND. This thesis is not unique to me. I am pretty sure I have been clear about this.

    Do you really not understand my point?

  90. @Janiah: The issue is not one of mere existence. The issue one of size, scope and influence,

    There is absolutely no analog to Rush, Hannity, Beck, Ingraham, etc. on the liberal side of the coin.

  91. @Janiah:

    So you practice being patronizing in front of a mirror?

    Funny, I thought that I was patiently trying to explain my position (and spending a lot more time than most bloggers would).

    But yes, some of my exasperation is, no doubt, coming though.

  92. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You do not understand my argument. I recognize that there are for-profit liberal-oriented outlets.

    The issue is the degree to which there is a liberal bubble as comprehensive as there is a conservative bubble.

    Good to know that you concede that. Since I already have said the media expressly seeking liberal audiences as a business model often has a smaller audience than the conservative ones (recall my Gallip comment), we disagree on nothing and I can go back to caring why the United States of America had scarcely any security in a region filled with terrorists on the 9-11 anniversary and why getting a straight answer to this question has raised more questions than answers so far.

  93. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: As to the question of there being few liberals who get all their news from expressly liberal sources, if you really believe that, you will not be convincing me. I have talked to far too many liberals who have never heard the conservative POV on question after question. It’s not a matter of disagreeing with it. It is a matter of them even knowing what it is.

  94. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: So, cutting through all the crap and getting right to the topic… we agree that there needs to be an investigation into this whole fiasco. Where you seem to have issues is that I actually say why I want such an investigation, and why I simply won’t take the Obama administration’s explanations (use of plural deliberate) at face value.

    I’ve heard of “agreeing to disagree” and “disagreeing without being disagreeable,” but this is quite possibly the first time I’ve experienced “agreeing while being disagreeable.”

  95. @Jenos Idanian #13: While I am happy to concede that there is some basis for agreement, I fear that, like Janiah, you are missing my fundamental point.

  96. Just Me says:

    First, have you read this? C.I.A. Played Major Role Fighting Militants in Libya Attack

    Back to being condescending again.

    You assume that somehow I haven’t read the various news stories that have been published on Benghazi.

    This tells me you spend a lot of time making assumptions about people then ascribing those assumptions to them.

  97. @Just Me: You have wondered out loud about lack of assets available to help and I ask if you have read a news story that shows assets were deployed.

    How is asking if you have encountered a certain piece of information condescending?

  98. You assume that somehow I haven’t read the various news stories that have been published on Benghazi.

    This tells me you spend a lot of time making assumptions about people then ascribing those assumptions to them.

    How am I supposed to know what you have read?

  99. @Janiah and @Jenos:

    This is the kind of thing I am talking about (in regards to the elections, but that I think is happening with Benghazi and other stories, like F&F, as well): How Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File

    (and I hope @Just Me isn’t offended that I am suggesting something to read).

  100. Just Me says:

    You have wondered out loud about lack of assets available to help and I ask if you have read a news story that shows assets were deployed.

    I was talking about the department of defense release that AFRICOM had no assets available.

  101. @Just Me: Yes, I realize that you referenced AFRICOM, although I thought, no snark at all, that it would matter that assets were deployed in aid. Further, there were forces in Europe (which were probably closer in any event) than anything in Africa (but, perhaps I am mistaken).

    I suppose part of my overall point on the deployment of asset question is that in an attack of this nature any real aid would have to have been extremely nearby to help.

    Setting aside any question of hyperbole about the incident, and forgetting entirely about my critique of the CEC, etc., it really does seem to me that a lot of critics of what happened in Benghazi have wholly unrealistic assessments of what can be done in such a situation. And, it seemed to me, that the NYT piece that I linked demonstrated a fairly substantial and fast response even given those circumstances.

  102. First, a correction: AFRICOM forces would have come from Europe, my mistake.

    Second, I note that as I poke the intertubes concerning Benghazi and AFRICOM, I note that there is quite a bit of conspiracy talk around the question of AFRICOM, which brings us full circle.

  103. Jon Hendry says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “Why the ongoing focus by critics on the video?”

    I think because many of the critics would have preferred that Obama defend the video, promote the video, and proclaim its accuracy, perhaps hosting it on whitehouse.gov.

  104. Jon Hendry says:

    @mattb: “MSNBC clearly does have links to the Democratic party — both explicit (Al Sharpton having played a role in Democratic politics for quite some time0 and implicity (the number of Democratic politicians who regularly appear on programs).”

    They also have a former Republican Congressman who hosts his own show for several hours every morning, and used to have Pat Buchanan on pretty regularly.

    It’ll be a cold day in hell before Fox replaces the dim-bulb propagandists of Fox and Friends with 3 hours of Barney Frank.

  105. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    This is the kind of thing I am talking about (in regards to the elections, but that I think is happening with Benghazi and other stories, like F&F, as well): How Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File

    Honestly, that Conor Friedersdorf article isn’t all that good. The meme I’m picking up on with these various articles is gloating. Obama beat Romney. These guys seem to want a piece of that for themselves: Roughly, liberal/MSM journalists beat conservative journalists.

    Well, actually, Obama beat Romney, and a bunch of conservatives misread the election. The non-conservative journalists appear to me to be trying to steal some of Obama’s glory.

    Journalists aren’t the most modest of people. They assume their readers/listeners/viewers are following them, or at least, some other journalist. Never let it be said that people were thinking for themselves (even if some of it, a large part of it in this case evidently, was wishful thinking).

    If there’s some evidence Romney would have won if the conservative media had been less optimistic, then I might put more significance to all of this.

    As to Benghazi, think you understate the genuine concern about what happened there and also natural human curiosity to want to find out things that are kept hidden. The media (of all stripes) panders to tastes to get viewers/readers/listeners just as it stirs pots. Not a one-way street.

    I don’t know why you bring up Fast and Furious. I am no expert on it, but the American people have yet to learn why our government did that, and who ultimately made the decision to go forward, right? Assuming I missed no big break in the case, where’s the beef? Plus, the conservative media discusses F&F, but the big leaders in pursuing it were CBS News, House investigations, and, most recently, Univision, correct? Why should conservatives regret wanting to know why we sold guns to people who used them to commit many murders, literally letting the guns out of our hands and not even trace them?

  106. @Janiah:

    and a bunch of conservatives misread the election.

    No, they didn’t “misread the election” they ignored the data and, in several cases, touted someone who reworked the numbers in a way to make them conform to their preferences rather than to reality.

    This is the fundamental point (and a rather important one at that).

    My entire point is focused on the fact that the business model of a number of rightward media outlets is to tell their viewers/listeners/readers what they want to hear. This is detrimental to knowledge and democracy as a general principle and is specifically problematic to the Republican Party if it wants to win and govern.

    These are not small issues.

  107. If there’s some evidence Romney would have won if the conservative media had been less optimistic, then I might put more significance to all of this.

    A realistic assessment is crucial for winning elections.

  108. I don’t know why you bring up Fast and Furious

    Because it was treated in similar fashion as has Benghazi by the rightward media: as a possibly major scandal of, perhaps, impeachable proportions.

  109. Janiah Hoff says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: F&F IS a major scandal.

    As to the elections, remember, Fox/Rush/talk hosts etc did not run the presidential campaign for the GOP.

    As for accuracy being important in the media, ALL media, no one believes this more than I.

  110. Mike says:

    Regarding forces assigned to AFRICOM, AFRICOM is in effect a rump command, in that it has no forces permanently assigned to it. Up until a few years ago, AFRICOM didn’t exist and what is now the AFRICOM AOR was nominally under EUCOM. AFRICOM has stood up, but it is basically just a staff (still based out of Germany, by the way) with some temporarily assigned units…it’s not like EUCOM, for example, where you have USAREUR with an Armored Corps, a Cavalry Regiment, multiple Infantry Brigades, and a buttload of support commands along with USAFE which has three fighter wings, an airlift wing, a refueling wing, and a Special Operations Group. Speaking of USAFE, that’s an interesting point…17th Air Force, which was the Numbered Air Force that was running AFAFRICA, was deactivated in April, with USAFE and some of its component commands picking up the role of AF component to AFRICOM.

    The reason for this lack of forces is two fold: first, the mission in AFRICOM is generally a non-combat one of building partner capacity/foreign internal defense, where U.S. forces go in to provide training and assistance for local personnel as opposed to conducting operations themselves (counter-terrorism related operations in the vicinity of the HOA being the one big exception to this). The reason for this is related to the second reason why there are no standing forces in Africa, which is a distinct lack of trust on the part of pretty much all the countries on the continent (even the ones that are nominally friendly with the U.S.) due in large part to the legacy of colonialism. Because of this there will never be U.S. forces permanently assigned to Africa, and there will probably never be an AFRICOM headquarters located on African soil (because no nation will be willing to take that step of inviting a permanent U.S. military presence.)

    So basically there are no forces permanently assigned to AFRICOM because its mission doesn’t require them, and even if there were they would be located in Europe because of political considerations, so there would be no geographical difference between AFRICOM assets and EUCOM assets.

  111. mattb says:

    @Mike:
    Thanks for the two informative posts.

  112. mantis says:

    @Janiah Hoff:

    F&F IS a major scandal.

    Says you.

  113. @Janiah Hoff:

    F&F IS a major scandal.

    By what metric?

  114. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    @Janiah Hoff:

    F&F IS a major scandal.

    By what metric?

    There is no such thing as a “scandal metric.” If the contents of the Univision special combined with the President declaring ex priv to keep docs from the public isn’t enough for you, I can live with myself for still caring about the dead people, especially those kids.

  115. @Janiah: If you are going to use a modifier like “major” as in “major scandal” one ought to have some way of defining the term.

    F&F was certainly an ill-conceived policy and perhaps the word “scandal” is warranted (but even then, I suppose it depends on the definition because I am not sure that stupid policy that goes awry is scandalous), but “major” strikes as not the case.

    Watergate was a major scandal, and there no deaths involved. Iran-contra was a major scandal and no direct deaths were involved. Monica Lewinsky was a major scandal, no deaths there, either.

    On the one hand you have strong feelings about these events, but on the other you can’t define what you mean by the terms you, yourself, deploy to describe them?

  116. @Janiah:

    Why should conservatives regret wanting to know why we sold guns to people who used them to commit many murders, literally letting the guns out of our hands and not even trace them?

    First, what is being conservative relevant? (This gets to the broader point here)

    Second, I agree that we should want to know what happened, why, and who was responsible. That is different than pursuing the matter as a “major scandal”.

  117. mattb says:

    @Janiah:

    Plus, the conservative media discusses F&F, but the big leaders in pursuing it were CBS News, House investigations, and, most recently, Univision, correct? Why should conservatives regret wanting to know why we sold guns to people who used them to commit many murders, literally letting the guns out of our hands and not even trace them?

    There’s also a bit of false equivalency going on here. Its true that F&F was covered by both the main stream media and the CEC. However the coverage, reporting, and speculation was in no way comparable.

    The MSM handled it as a story.

    The CEC used it to (a) call for Holder’s removal, (b) as a rational for Obama not being reelected, and, in many cases, (c) the grounds for Obama to be impeached. What about efforts among the CEC to push a convoluted conspiracy theory that F&F was part of a strange plan to create the conditions for implementing new tougher gun control laws?

    Given all of those facts, do you think that the CEC was in any way attempting to fairly or accurately represent the story of F&F to it’s audience? Do you think that members of the CEC were interested in the “facts” or really “getting to the bottom of the F&F”?

  118. Janiah says:

    @mattb:Remember, much of this media, like all the other media, is seeking viewers/listeners/pageviews for revenue.

    Other than that, the “CEC” is not even defined. As far as I can tell, you have a mash that includes everyone from Catherine Herridge-type reporters, the WSJ editorial page, hundreds of talk radio hosts and for-profit Internet magazines like WND all in the same bowl.

  119. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    @Janiah:

    Why should conservatives regret wanting to know why we sold guns to people who used them to commit many murders, literally letting the guns out of our hands and not even trace them?

    First, what is being conservative relevant? (This gets to the broader point here)

    Second, I agree that we should want to know what happened, why, and who was responsible. That is different than pursuing the matter as a “major scandal”.

    OK, fine. Major outlets like CBS News are breaking stories that attract the concerned attention of tens of millions of people, who then discuss the story on the Internet and on other media to which they have access. Congress gets involved. The U.S. attorney general testifies more than once before congressional committees on the matter. The U.S. attorney general is found to have given false information to Congress. Americans are killed. The executive branch refuses to reveal why a policy was initiated and who approved it and, if a different person, who approved the aspects of it that went so dramatically wrong. Continuing reporting reveals additional deaths, some of them minors. Congressional attempts to get answers continue to get stonewalled. Then the president declares executive privilege to give legal authority for the attorney general to refuse to provide key additional details — an attorney general who happens to be a very close personal friend of the president.

    I think any scandal meeting those metrics is major.

  120. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    First, what is being conservative relevant?

    Because you are criticizing the conservative media.

  121. @Janiah: I am getting a bit dizzy here.

    I thought you were rejecting the notion that these stories were being especially pushed by the conservative media. Now you are pointing out that, in fact, the conservative media has been especially concerned with these stories (although the media outlet you have cited are C-Span, CBS, and Univision)?

    If there are obvious and “major” scandals, then why does it require specifically conservative attention?

    Really, you are helping make my point.

  122. mattb says:

    @Janiah:

    Other than that, the “CEC” is not even defined.

    Really… How about the conglomeration of media outlets – Broadcast, Web, and Print – that specifically target Conservative Americans as their primary demographic for their news and editorial commentary.

    Is it really that hard? So yes, it most definitely includes Fox News, the WSJ (in particular their Editorial Page), various blogs and online publications, and most of political radio.

    Remember, much of this media, like all the other media, is seeking viewers/listeners/pageviews for revenue.

    Correct. However, the issue that Steven, myself, and others continue to bring up, is that in order to maintain that audience, the CEC has systematically made the decision to mislead at best and, at worst, outright lie to its audience. Further it does this with a regularity not seen in the mainstream or liberal media (note my use of “regularity”).

    Finally, in cases where this misleading has been revealed, the individuals involved rarely lose their positions and more often than not, the audience of the CEC has in no way either (a) chosen to take their business elsewhere or (b) applied skepticism or critical judgement, that you have stated should always be engaged, to future claims by the very same sources.

  123. mattb says:

    @Janiah:

    Because you are criticizing the conservative media.

    All caps for clarity.

    Steven, myself, and others ARE NOT CRITICIZING THE CONSERVATIVE MEDIA FOR COVERING ISSUES!

    We are CRITICIZING THE CONSERVATIVE MEDIA FOR HOW THEY COVER ISSUES AND IN THE PROCESS MISLEAD THEIR AUDIENCES!

  124. @mattb:

    We are CRITICIZING THE CONSERVATIVE MEDIA FOR HOW THEY COVER ISSUES AND IN THE PROCESS MISLEAD THEIR AUDIENCES!

    Indeed,

  125. mattb says:

    Apropos of this conversation, this bit of self honesty — a comment on The American Conservative — speaks to a broader point being made in this thread:

    JS says:
    November 13, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Instinctively I want to be scandalized, if only because I vehemently dislike Obama, but, while I agree it seems like there was a cover-up, it’s really hard to see how a Petraeus scandal would have hurt Obama, much less cost him anything significant in the election.

    [http://www.theamericanconservative.com/more-on-petraeus/comment-page-1/#comment-642104]

  126. Janiah says:

    @mattb:

    @Janiah:

    Because you are criticizing the conservative media.

    All caps for clarity.

    Steven, myself, and others ARE NOT CRITICIZING THE CONSERVATIVE MEDIA FOR COVERING ISSUES!

    We are CRITICIZING THE CONSERVATIVE MEDIA FOR HOW THEY COVER ISSUES AND IN THE PROCESS MISLEAD THEIR AUDIENCES!

    Sigh. He asked me why I was singling out conservatives. I’m saying that’s because the conservative media is the topic on the table.

  127. Janiah says:

    @mattb:

    @Janiah:

    Because you are criticizing the conservative media.

    All caps for clarity.

    Steven, myself, and others ARE NOT CRITICIZING THE CONSERVATIVE MEDIA FOR COVERING ISSUES!

    We are CRITICIZING THE CONSERVATIVE MEDIA FOR HOW THEY COVER ISSUES AND IN THE PROCESS MISLEAD THEIR AUDIENCES!

    OK, fine. Got it. You are criticizing the conservative media, and apparently, all as one big lump. The WSJ editorial page responds to the same stimuli as WND. David Asman’s and Sean Hannity’s shows are for purposes of the conversation more alike than similar. Judge Napolitano on Fox and Michael Savage go to work each day with the same goals and standards. Rush Limbaugh and a small market radio host, or for that matter, Rush Limbaugh and Chris Wallace, are very similar.

    Except they are diverse.

  128. Janiah says:

    @mattb:

    the issue that Steven, myself, and others continue to bring up, is that in order to maintain that audience, the CEC has systematically made the decision to mislead at best and, at worst, outright lie to its audience

    Go ahead and prove that. If you can I think you can get an op-ed in a major paper rather than comments in a blog. You surely can get on MSNBC if for some reason you wanted to.

    Further it does this with a regularity not seen in the mainstream or liberal media

    As implied above, it seems you do not watch MSNBC or consume much liberal media. Wise choice.

  129. mantis says:

    @Janiah:

    Except they are diverse.

    Indeed, the conservative media misinform you in a variety of ways.

  130. Janiah says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    @Janiah: I am getting a bit dizzy here.

    I thought you were rejecting the notion that these stories were being especially pushed by the conservative media. Now you are pointing out that, in fact, the conservative media has been especially concerned with these stories (although the media outlet you have cited are C-Span, CBS, and Univision)?

    If there are obvious and “major” scandals, then why does it require specifically conservative attention?

    Really, you are helping make my point.

    To the best of my recollection, all I have said about F&F is that it is a major scandal, that it has been covered by the mainstream media, Spanish-language media and conservative media, and wondered why you seemed to be upset that the conservative media has been discussing it. I think all the media that covers govt-type news should be covering F&F. It would be nice to know what happened there.

    I have since then surmised that you do not like it that unnamed commentators who are conservative hope(d) F&F would hurt Obama politically. OK, I get it. You do not like consumers of conservative media to root for specific political outcomes. Fine. However, you will be disappointed. Just as there was Bush Derangement Syndrome and the Twin Towers being blown up by agents of Bush, and constant allegations that conservatives have racist motives, there is Obama Derangement Syndrome and birtherism and Obama is a secret Muslim. Whomever the next president is is going to have his or her version of the same thing. Doesn’t mean all the media on either “side” buy into all of it.

  131. @Janiah: You are essentially proving my point.

  132. mattb says:

    @janiah:

    Just as there was Bush Derangement Syndrome and the Twin Towers being blown up by agents of Bush, and constant allegations that conservatives have racist motives, there is Obama Derangement Syndrome and birtherism and Obama is a secret Muslim. Whomever the next president is is going to have his or her version of the same thing. Doesn’t mean all the media on either “side” buy into all of it.

    If you are seriously pretending the 9/11 trutherism was/is as pervasive as Birtherism within their respective media spheres, then we cannot have this conversation.

    If you truly believe that the Liberal Entertainment Media has the same respective hold on liberals that the CEC has over conservatives, we cannot have this conversation.

    We’re simply not going to agree.

  133. @mattb: The interesting thing is that he seems to be conceding, despite protestations about not knowing what we are talking about, that Benghazi and F&F re being pushed, as scandals, by the conservative media. And while he claims not to know what the facts are, he is certain that both are scandals, if not “major” scandals.

    One will grant that the coverage of the events in question one way or another prove nothing about their seriousness. However, my underlying point was never to assert a final analysis about Benghazi, it was to raise the question of whether the scandal hype associated with conservative press coverage about that event ought not be reassessed given the obvious problems with the conservative press’ pre-election analysis.

    Bringing up birtherism help make my point as well, because many in the conservative press have been more than willing to let that story live rather than reject it outright given the known facts. Instead of dealing with said facts, many in CEC have been more than happy to tell their audience what they want to hear. It is my point exactly.

  134. @Janiah:

    Go ahead and prove that.

    Go back and look at all the rejection of polls prior to the election.

    It is easy if you try.

  135. (Indeed, there is a link in the post above. Go re-read the post, in fact).

  136. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    You and are in agreement on all these points. And the general problem’s with Janiah’s argument throughout this thread.

    What I can’t figure out is if Janiah see’s the same issues and ideas that we do and he’s just trolling us, or if he legitimately believes that’s he’d making a coherent argument.

    Further, I’m at a loss as to why so many “free thinking conservative” posters (who seem to think they are making coherent and deeply insightful non biased contributions to OTB) choose handles start with a “J” (Jenos/Jay Tea, Jan, JWest, Janiah, Just Me, Smooth Jazz)….

  137. @mattb:

    What I can’t figure out is if Janiah see’s the same issues and ideas that we do and he’s just trolling us, or if he legitimately believes that’s he’d making a coherent argument.

    Indeed.

    And I am not sure what to make of the J phenomenon.

  138. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Bringing up birtherism help make my point as well, because many in the conservative press have been more than willing to let that story live rather than reject it outright given the known facts.

    And this goes back to my point about trying to create som false equivalency between 9/11 Trutherism and Birtherism among their respective audiences.

    Birtherism has continued for 4+ years to circulate in the mainstream CEC — the most recent example being the coverage that Donald Trump’s asinine bombshell. And Trump continues to be a welcome guest on many mainstream CEC programs (find me one time that Hannity doesn’t refer to him as “A Great American”). The only reason it will most likely stop is the fact that Obama can’t run again.

    I challenge anyone to find a similar reception for a 9/11 truther on any major LEC radio or media program four year after the event (or, hell during the 2004 campaign).

    Again, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that LEC doesn’t present facts in a way that biases progressive stereotypes. Nor am I suggesting that, given enough time and success, LEC wouldn’t grow into the same sort of twisted media ecosystem that the CEC has become.

  139. @Janiah:

    OK, I get it. You do not like consumers of conservative media to root for specific political outcomes.

    And no, you don’t get it (at least not all of it). I don’t like reporters and analysts to root for specific political outcomes and to allow those preferences to shape their reporting and their analysis.

    Further, reporters and analysts should not be catering to the political outcomes that their audience prefers, especially if to do so requires poor and/or dishonest reporting/analysis.

    THAT’s the problem I see here.

  140. @mattb:

    . The only reason it will most likely stop is the fact that Obama can’t run again.

    I expect it to continue because I think it is more about proving that Obama isn’t a “real American: than it is an hope of actually ousting him from office.

  141. mattb says:

    Unfortunately, I think all of that energy will be poured into calling for his impeachment on some “major scandal.”

  142. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And I am not sure what to make of the J phenomenon.

    Adding another, I forgot about JKB.

    So that brings it to 7 or 8 depending on how you count Jay Tea and Jenos…

  143. @mattb: of course, there is the counter-example of jukeboxgrad.

  144. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    How dare you rain on my anecdotal parade!

  145. Apropos of this Benghazi talk, Positively Republican, “the largest Republican group on Facebook! Conservatives and proud!” has a meme up with a photo of the president with “Benghazi: Investigate. Impeach.” as the caption.

  146. mannning says:

    Benghazi and F&F
    As many of my conservative friends agree, we have several fundamental problems with Benghazi and F&F. Each of these situations need investigating, and each need public assurance that they are not getting a whitewash in the process, but rather the honest facts, minus only those facts that are unalterably classified. We have deplored the seemingly inept manner of divulging these facts so far, and have blamed Obama for the amateurish handing of both, and for the pungent smell of cover up. These situations have not been handled in a forthright and timely manner to inform the public of the facts. In fact, it has been spin after spin, and it is problematical whether the full truth will ever be known, even after hearings and investigations have been completed.
    The reason for this is simple: many conservatives have great distrust of this administration for its closed shop approach. Its hubris (I won!), and its penchant for saying as little as possible about these issues until more or less forced to come out with something…and then changing the story only as needed to fit in new facts favorable, or not unfavorable, to the President…and mindful of the impact on the election of unfavorable facts. Or, as in the case of F&F, after long delays, the President employed Executive Privilege to deny access to relevant documents. All of these and other factors add up to the appearance of a cover up, whether or not the actual reasons for the denial of access were quite legitimate, but not known publically.
    Thus, a significant portion of the electorate is eagerly awaiting the results of these investigations, to be able to understand what happened, what could not happen, to see what remedies are proposed, and to fix blame if possible so that appropriate action can be taken against the derelict persons, if any.
    I do not believe that suspicion of a cover up ranks as a conspiracy theory per se, but rather, it is the ordinary observation by many people of cumulative contributing factors that lack explanation or justification to the people in the workings of the government in these instances. It is to be hoped that the reports of these matters will allay that suspicion.

  147. grigs says:

    I agree with manning that Benghazi was not a part of a conspiracy, because that would imply that the administration intended it to happen. However, I do feel that both sides tried to play with the facts they had that would best suit themselves in the aftermath up to the election. Romney played a quick hand with little information, just knowing that the embassy had put out a condemnation for the video, but it put him forefront with the position that it was an organized attack that caused the deaths of American citizens. Obama apparently also felt that is was an organized attack initially, but since Romney played his hand first Obama was forced to either go with his gut and agree with Romney or call out Romney and blame the event on what he originally thought it was about. This would make it a political talking point for both sides with Obama’s side being that of a slow-stepping cautious leader and Romney of being upfront and ready to act.

    That leads me into my theories as to why we got the information we did:

    1) Since the administration was responsible for making whatever intelligence came to them public, they could do as manning mentioned and use what would be most favorable for them in the re-election campaign while appearing to the public that they were doing all they could and making Romney look like a fool. With the fact that there were reports people protesting in that part of the world about the video is was logical to assume that enough people were really mad about it enough to get weapons, charge in, bomb and attack the embassy. Since this view supported Obama’s side more-so than Romney’s it’s obvious why this approach was taken, and was not necessarily lying by doing so. It was just emphasizing this potential cause of the attack more than if it were organized.

    The part of this theory that is unsettling is that it shouldn’t have taken over a month to realize that normal protesters don’t walk around with RPG’s and other arms. None of the other protesting demonstrations had weapons or attacked so this “demonstration” would have to have been unique in its own. The evidence of weaponry and destruction could readily be seen by investigators early. This is where most people start to feel as if it were a cover-up as they were getting strung along by the film theory for too long, but if taken as a political theory it would make sense to draw it out as long as possible. Then once it was shown super conclusively that it was a terrorist attack by a terrorist organization that the video was put aside and no longer used and even said it didn’t matter. The political points had been won.

    2) Obama was being a truly careful leader he knew that if he came out as Romney had initially and denounced the notions that the attack was spurned by the video and called out the terrorist group responsible from the beginning he would have incited potentially another terrorist man-hunt and launch us into another war. Even though the complete aftermath has shown that he would have been correct in labeling it as such and taking the appropriate actions from the beginning it is not who he is as a Democratic leader and so he used the time given by the protest to allow feelings to settle and then come out with the fact that emphatically yes, it was a terrorist attack. By the time this was publically announced, however, American feelings would have settled some and enough confusion would be out that we wouldn’t be as eager to go after them.

    3) Nobody in the aftermath really knew anything so they honestly gave us everything they knew.

  148. Bob Cox says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I believed the conservative talking heads because I didn’t realize how greedy and uninformed the average majority of American voters actually are.