Monday, October 15, 2012


Why The New York Times Continues to Fail

Here is an editorial from the NYT about the so-called politicization of the attack nearly 5 weeks ago on the Benghazi consulate and the murder there of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans by al Qaeda in Lybia. Here is a transcript and video of Obama Senior Campaign Manager David Axelrod on the Fox Sunday show.

If I were to quote selectively from each, it would be impossible to tell what was supposedly from disinterested journalists and what was pure Obama campaign rhetoric.

Chris Wallace provided sufficient coverage of what Axelrod was failing to do (Shut up, Axelrod explained), so let's look at the NYT piece which is titled, ironically, No Shame (and caries the internal  title Republicans have no shame).  It starts:

There are many unanswered questions about the vicious assault in Benghazi last month that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

No, there are only a few. The one that leaps out at many Americans, since we know that the State Department had a live video feed on the attack and drone surveillance of the attack, "On what did the Obama administration base its no longer operative supposition that the attack and murders were a spontaneous demonstration caused by the supposed movie critical of Mohammad?"

Neither the live feed nor the drone tape showed any protest at all. That's a very inconvenient fact to the administration who had UN Ambassador Susan Rice lie about the attack on 5 different Sunday talking head shows 4 days later. Moving on.

But Republican lawmakers leading the charge on Capitol Hill seem more interested in attacking President Obama than in formulating an effective response.

And what "effective response" is being formulated? Drone attacks on the leadership of al Qaeda in Lybia, or attempting to have the FBI arrest a few of the many attackers? Are we at war with al Qaeda or are they just a criminal organization like the Somali pirates or the Mafia? It seems to me that the President doesn't know the answer to that question.

Then the NYT trots out the straw man of budget cuts. It calls the Republican outrage at the incompetence of the administration in failing to protect Ambassador and other Americans in Benghazi hypocrisy because the Republicans have allegedly voted to cut the security budget of the State Department. I call this a straw man because the budget for security had nothing at all to do with lack of security in Benghazi. We somehow had enough money for a Marine security team in Barbados.

And has the State Department's security budget been cut? Is the alleged "cut" of $500 Million to the State Department's security accounts an actual cut (that is, less money spent than last fiscal year) or is it, as is usual with Democrats, merely code for giving the government department less of an increase in spending than it asked for? Anyone want to bet it's the former?

And the House budget with its supposed "cut" to the security accounts, that has been approved by the Senate in its budget and signed by the President, right? Oh, I forgot, the Senate hasn't passed a budget in nearly three years. So there is no actual budget and no actual cuts. Straw man within a straw man.

And the draconian budgets proposed by Mitt Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, would cut foreign affairs spending by 10 percent in 2013 and even more in 2016.

The so called "draconian" budget of Rep. Ryan allows deficit spending to continue for at least a decade, but, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, we are actually going to have to spend less on the federal level. We are actually going to have to cut the bloated federal budget. We cannot continue to run up $Trillion plus deficits, as we have each and every year that Obama has been president.

The NYT says there is a lot to learn about the attack. I think we have sufficient facts now. Then the NYT says this:

The former security chief at the embassy in Tripoli has been critical of the administration and said he had requested more security from State Department officials.  [...]  (In the last debate, Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. said of the consulate in Benghazi, “we did not know they wanted more security.”)
So who is not telling the truth, the security chief at the embassy in Tripoli or VP Biden? On that relevant question, the NYT is silent.

It ends this horrible exercise in misdirection with this thought:

More spending on security improvements will certainly help, but there will still be threats and risks. America’s diplomats must be protected, but they cannot do their jobs and interact with the world if they operate only behind fortress walls. There will always have to be a balance. Ambassador Stevens knew that.
 He knew the job was dangerous when he took it. His and the others' deaths were not the result of incompetent bureaucrats cutting the security at Benghazi and then steadfastly refusing to respond to repeated requests to restore them, in light of the intelligence that an attack was coming. It was merely the unavoidable result of the risks all Ambassadors take. Nothing to do with the Obama administration at all, if you really think about it.

The NYT continues to lose readers and money because most Americans are well enough informed from other sources to know this is partisan tripe, pure Obama campaign propaganda rather than an honest opinion piece.


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