The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Classic: State Department Attacks CNN for Reporting Inconvenient Facts on Libya

Posted on | September 23, 2012 | 23 Comments

We now know that, despite warnings from multiple sources — including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens — about the rising threat from Islamic extremists in Libya, the Obama administration failed to take necessary precautions. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans, the Obama administration dishonestly tried to deceive the public by characterizing the attack as part of a “spontaneous” protest inspired by an obscure video. As the truth of the matter has slowly emerged, the Obama administration has sought to avoid admitting its errors and deceptions, and instead attempted to distract from this catastrophic failure of its own policies by attacking media outlets that are reporting honestly on the Libyan disaster.

CNN news reported that Ambassador Stevens was concerned that he was on an “al-Qaeda hit list,” but the network failed to disclose that one source of that report was the ambassador’s journal, which the network’s reporters had recovered from the ruins of the consulate.

The State Department has scapegoated the network for that decision, and you can see the predictable dogpile at Memeorandum, although news that is favorable to the Obama administration — e.g., “secret video” — never provokes this kind of reaction. PJ Media’s Rick Moran comments on the ethical question:

One can sympathize with the family on this issue, but the murder of an American ambassador and publishing his thoughts leading up to his death is a story with worldwide significance. CNN felt it had an obligation to selectively air those thoughts, only after confirming them with other sources, and keeping secret any personal and intimate details contained in the journal.

It’s a rare day when I agree with Rick Moran, but he’s right here: While CNN’s conduct is certainly subject to criticism, that pales in comparison to the “worldwide significance” — the legitimate news value — of the story they were reporting. Attempting to distract from this important story by trying to indict CNN before the court of public opinion? Predictable and wrong:

CNN broke a pledge to the late ambassador’s family that it wouldn’t report on the diary, said State Department spokesman Philippe Reines, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In a blistering statement, Reines called CNN’s actions “indefensible.”
The channel said in the story online that it took “newsworthy tips” from Stevens’ diary and confirmed them with other sources. Citing an unidentified source “familiar with Stevens’ thinking,” CNN said that the ambassador was concerned about security threats in Benghazi and a “rise in Islamic extremism.”
In a statement Saturday, CNN defended its use of the journal’s contents and asked “why is the State Department now attacking the messenger.”
“CNN did not initially report on the existence of a journal out of respect for the family, but we felt there were issues raised in the journal which required full reporting, which we did,” the channel said.
The public has a right to know what CNN learned from “multiple sources” about fears and warnings of a terror threat before the Benghazi attack, the channel said, “which are now raising questions about why the State Department didn’t do more to protect Ambassador Stevens and other U.S. personnel.”

Here is the CNN video report:

More commentary from Darleen Click, Ann AlthouseThe Lonely Conservative, TwitchyGateway Pundit and NewsBusters.

Related: “Fox News’ Chris Wallace Hammers Obama Advisor Robert Gibbs on Administration’s Libya Lies.”



  • Adjoran

    That’s not “journalism,” it is theft and obstruction of justice.

    Somehow reporters feel the law doesn’t apply to them.

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  • Proof

    “…the Obama administration dishonestly tried to deceive the public by characterizing the attack as part of a “spontaneous” protest inspired by an obscure video.”

    Yes, but what is Mitt trying to hide in his taxes??? (That was the takeaway I got from Robert Fibbs on Fox News Sunday this AM!)

  • DonaldDouglas
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  • JeffS

    The vipers are fanging each other. Excellent.

  • Sasp Press

    Just for the record… CNN quit covering those facts quickly after CNN was scolded by their Master’s thug.

    (a sigh of disappoint and desperation)

    Another chapter in Atlas Shrugged has passed.

  • Sasp Press

    Anything can facilitate a Muslim spontaneous protest. Subsequently your assertions are correct. On the other hand in your liberal message, Romney has in fact released his tax returns and it’s ludicrous to believe that a multimillionaire could evade the IRS, even people who have made as little as $30K per year are attacked by the IRS for making money. So instead of your really dumb claims, let’s see the President whip out some IRS agents cracking down on this -delusional- GOP tax cheating.

    OH Sorry, It’s not delusional because the Obama state responded to something that wasn’t a documented threat.

  • Sasp Press

    But Mitt disclosed his taxes; even though it’s not requires. Let’s go back to Obama’s deceptive treatment. I think this is really important.

  • Sasp Press

    While we are at it… Why won’t Hawaii confirm and validate Obama’s birth certificate? It’s just a question, not an allegation that Obama was born an Anti-American Muslim, just a question; that’s all. I hope some liberal can answer it with validity.

  • Bob Belvedere

    It seems Proof’s sarcasm went right over you head.

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  • Neo

    They must be hiring cretins at State.

    Back in the “Olden Days” when “grown-ups” were in charge of our government, they would have used anything to deflect the “incident” from getting bigger. The last thing they would do would be to point out a “useful non-sequitur,” like a pathetically bad movie on YouTube, which your adversaries could use to garner more support for their “bad behaviour.”

    But, the US President didn’t bow back in those days either.

  • Sage McLaughlin

    So finding something lying around and returning it to the family to whom it belonged is now “theft”? Geez you people are desperate.

  • lgeubank

    At this point I care less for what happened before the attacks, than about the fact that there has been no retaliation since the attacks.

    Why haven’t we cruise-missiled the living hell out of the Arab Street, to show them they can’t get away with that crap? Instead, we get Obama putting out an all-points bulletin on the miscreants. He going to send Deppity Dawg over there to catch the varmints.

    In other words, Obama is doing nothing to punish his Muslim homies, while pretending to be firm.

  • Casey

    Why haven’t we cruise-missiled the living hell out of the Arab Street, to show them they can’t get away with that crap?

    And just who do we target, General Turgidson? Anyone standing on an Arab street when the missiles fly over? Which street? I assume at least you are thinking of Libya. You do know that a great number of Libyans have protested against the militias in that country, and shown great favor to America, right?

    But let’s get back to targeting; given that it’s damn near impossible to determine if the ragheads under the missile were, in fact, involved in the embassy attack, do you intend to kill them anyway? If so, how does this make you any different from them, since you’re killing people just because they’re Muslim, or on the wrong street at the wrong time.

  • LordJiggy

    In the (bad old Republican) past, turning an AQ training camp into a smoking rubble-strewn pit was a handy response. Under our enlightened New Leader, the drones apparently need individual targets. Of course, not giving the government of these savages a Billion American dollars is not even an option.

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  • Aristotle120

    See the excellent reports and analyses being done over at The Diplomad 2.0 ( He has a whole string of posts on the Libya disaster and brings a State Department insider’s knowledge to the issue.

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