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The facts are in and there is no Benghazi scandal

Media Matters conducted alot of research over the years about the “cover-up” on the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi back on September 11, 2012. Fox continues to talk about it when there is nothing to report about it except what Fox News has to say about it. They have made recent news events about Benghazi when it has nothing to do with the attacks. There is a website called The Benghazi Hoax: All Questions Answered, which shows documents from the Republican side of the argument about what happened to distort the facts. You can read what Media Matters said about the website here. All the facts shown below are going to be credited to Media Matters as this is their research.

Fox News’ evening lineup ran nearly 1,100 segments on the Benghazi attacks and their aftermath in the first 20 months following the attacks. Nearly 500 segments focused on a set of Obama administration talking points used in September 2012 interviews; more than 100 linked the attacks to a potential Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential run; and dozens of segments compared the attacks and the administration response to the Watergate or Iran-Contra scandals. The network hosted Republican members of Congress to discuss Benghazi nearly 30 times more frequently than Democrats.

Key Findings

  • 1,098 total Fox News evening segments that included significant discussion of Benghazi — an average of about 13 segments per week
  • In 18 of 20 months studied, Fox ran at least 20 Benghazi segments per month, with a high of 174 in October 2012
  • 382 segments aired on Special Report, the network’s flagship news program
  • 478 segments invoked the talking points used for Susan Rice’s 2012 Sunday show appearances
  • 281 segments alleging a “cover-up” by the Obama administration
  • 144 interviews of GOP members of Congress versus only five interviews of Democratic members of Congress and Obama administration officials
  • 120 comparisons to Iran-Contra, Watergate, and the actions of the Nixon administration
  • 105 attempts to link Benghazi to Hillary Clinton’s potential presidential ambitions
  • 100 segments promoting the lie that the administration issued a “stand-down order”

Segments

Fox News’ Evening Shows Broadcast Nearly 1,100 Segments On Benghazi In The 20 Months Following The Attack. During the period of the study, Fox News’ evening lineup aired a total of 1,098 segments featuring significant discussion of Benghazi, an average of about 13 segments per week. Special Report with Bret Baier, the network’s flagship news program, led the charge with 382 individual segments. Hannity and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren followed in distant second and third, with 220 and 214 segments, respectively. The O’Reilly Factor aired 181 segments, and The Five aired 101. Special Report runs more segments in general than the other programs, while The Five typically runs fewer (the latter, however, repeatedly aired nearly an entire show devoted to discussing Benghazi).

In 18 Of 20 Months Studied, Fox Ran At Least 20 Benghazi Segments Per Month, With A High Of 174 In October 2012. In the months following the attack and leading into the 2012 presidential election, Fox News aired its largest share of Benghazi segments. September 2012 saw 102 segments; in October, that number jumped to a high of 174; and in November, the number slid slightly to 141. For the next five months, Benghazi segments steadily declined but then surged to 168 in May 2013. This coincides with coverage of the May 8 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, which included controversial testimony from foreign service officer Gregory Hicks. Following that May, coverage dropped down again, fluctuating between about 20 and 50 segments a month. In March 2014 coverage hit its lowest point, with only six segments. Coverage surged again in April 2014 in response to calls for forming a House select committee, which Boehner announced on May 2.

Susan Rice

Conservatives Tried To Manufacture A Scandal From Sunday Show Talking Points. Then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice appeared on the Sunday political talk shows on September 16, 2012, to discuss Benghazi and a series of anti-American demonstrations across the Muslim world, which were a response to an anti-Muslim YouTube video. Rice immediately came under fire for linking the Benghazi attacks to the video and for not referring to the attack as terrorism, even though she called the perpetrators “extremists” and made clear that her comments were based on the limited intelligence available. Lawmakers and media subsequently fixated on the “talking points” she was given for the appearances, falsely suggesting that the Obama administration had deceptively edited CIA intelligence to downplay the role of terrorism in order to benefit President Obama’s re-election campaign. But the email record of the editing process shows that references to terrorists were removed from Rice’s talking points in order preserve the ongoing criminal investigation, that the first draft of the talking points submitted by the CIA had stated that the Benghazi attacks were inspired by Egyptian protests against the video, and that the intelligence community signed off on the final draft of the talking points. [Media Matters11/30/12Media Matters9/11/13Media Matters5/15/13Media Matters6/5/13]

Fox News Discussed The Talking Points In Nearly Half Of Its Benghazi Segments. Out of 1,098 segments, 478 included discussion of the talking points delivered by Rice, amounting to 44 percent of all segments. Special Report raised the topic the most, with 158 segments.

“Cover-Up”

“Stand Down” Order

Hilary Clinton

Benghazi Increasingly Mentioned In Relation To Clinton’s Potential 2016 Presidential Bid. Fox News continually brought up the specter of Benghazi as the media’s 2016 presidential speculation has heated up. Fox connected the Benghazi attacks to a potential Clinton presidential run shortly after the 2012 election and went quiet until the May 2013 Benghazi hearing sparked a surge of 19 mentions. Benghazi as an issue for Clinton steadily rose again in December 2013 and into 2014.

Helping the GOP

97 Percent Of All Congressional And Administration Interviews On Benghazi Were With Republicans. Republican members of Congress were asked about Benghazi during 144 individual interviews, while Democratic members of Congress and administration members were asked about Benghazi in only five interviews. Fox News interviewed Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and asked about Benghazi on 27 occasions. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) came in a close second with 25 total interviews that included discussion of Benghazi. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) — who is heading the Benghazi special committee — and House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) rounded out the top five with 15, 13, and eight interviews each, respectively. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) was the only Democrat to be interviewed more than once, with two interviews in which Benghazi was discussed. The other three Democrats interviewed about Benghazi were then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and current Secretary of State John Kerry.

Methodology

Media Matters identified segments based on Nexis transcripts for The FiveSpecial Report with Bret BaierOn the Record with Greta Van SusterenThe O’Reilly Factor, and Hannity between September 11, 2012, and May 2, 2014 for “Benghazi” or “Libya.” The Kelly File and Fox Report with Shepard Smith were not included because they did not air during the full period of the study.

  • Segments referencing the talking points delivered by then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice on September 16, 2012
  • Suggestions that the administration deliberately misled about who perpetrated the attack and why
  • Characterizations of the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi attack as a “cover-up”
  • Suggestions that the Obama administration did not originally term the attack an act of terror
  • Suggestions that the Obama administration’s actions with regard to Benghazi were politically motivated to strengthen Obama’s 2012 electoral prospects
  • Suggestions that the Obama administration ordered security forces to stand down, including allegations from whistleblower Gregory Hicks
  • Suggestions that no security forces were deployed to Benghazi in response to the attack
  • Segments calling into question the whereabouts of senior administration officials on the night of the attack
  • Suggestions that the Obama administration had access to a real-time video of the attack as it unfolded
  • Suggestions that Clinton faked her concussion to avoid testifying about the attack
  • Segments or mentions linking the Benghazi attack to a potential Clinton 2016 presidential run
  • Segments interviewing a Republican or Democrat on Benghazi
  • Mentions of Clinton’s “What difference, at this point, does it make?” quote, including both paraphrases and direct quotes or clips
  • Comparisons to the Iran-contra scandal, the Watergate scandal, or the Nixon administration, or suggesting that the Obama administration engaged in “Nixonian” tactics in response to Benghazi
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