Yesterday afternoon, there was quite a bit of attention focused on NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and his press conference on Donald Sterling being “banned for life.” Most of the networks covered Silver’s remarks live.
But Fox News went in another direction, skipping the NBA discussion to instead tell viewers there was “breaking news” about … wait for it … Benghazi.
As your wacky uncle who watches Fox all day has probably told you, the conspiracy theory is alive once more thanks to some new materials, which Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has labeled a “smoking gun.” Charles Krauthammer went with “smoking document,” but the sentiment was the same.
I know why Republicans bother – they and their base are a little too invested in his conspiracy, especially as the news on the Affordable Care Act keeps getting better – but it’s a shame the right expects everyone else to take this seriously.
The Washington Post reported today:
New White House e-mails made public Tuesday by conservative Judicial Watch further support that the Obama team wanted then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to stress that a video disparaging the Prophet Muhammad was the catalyst for a series of anti-American protests across the Islamic world, including the deadly attacks on the Benghazi mission in September 2012.
And why is this shocking? It’s not.
Ultimately, the new e-mails do little more than buttress what has been known for a year about the immediate communication among the Obama team as it rushed to cobble together talking points from the information it had to feed to Rice, who was only asked late in the day Friday to be the White House mouthpiece.
Dave Weigel added that in order to take the “smoking gun” argument seriously, “you need to forget the previously-known” information that’s already part of the public record.
Indeed, in some respects, the conspiracy theorists should feel discouraged, not emboldened – the “new” information Republicans are so excited about “reveals nothing new.”
And yet, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl seemed quite animated about this at today’s White House press briefing, which is a shame. Karl already has an unfortunate track record on covering Benghazi theories, and it’s already led to him to flub some of the new details.
Fox News, meanwhile, wants to talk about little else.
It’s clear at this point that no amount of evidence, no number of investigations, no hours of hearings, no volumes of comprehensive reports will ever be enough for those who want the Benghazi conspiracy theories to have merit. It’s no longer about substantiation; it’s more of a feeling. It’s as if Stephen Colbert’ persona were real and a large group of people proudly declared, “It doesn’t matter if the evidence says we’re wrong because our guts say we’re right.”
It’s no way to win an argument, but for Benghazi conspiracy theorists, they’ve already won the argument by convincing themselves that their version of reality is superior to everyone else’s.
In the version of reality in which facts still matter, though, this “smoking gun” is still shooting blanks.