Cover-ups and crimes, then and now

The New Yorker:

the mere existence of the edits — whatever the motivation for them — seriously undermines the White House’s credibility on this issue. This past November (after Election Day), White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that “The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate.”

Remarkably, Carney is sticking with that line even now. In his regular press briefing on Friday afternoon (a briefing that was delayed several times, presumably in part so the White House could get its spin in order, but also so that it could hold a secretive pre-briefing briefing with select members of the White House press corps), he said:

The only edit made by the White House or the State Department to those talking points generated by the C.I.A. was a change from referring to the facility that was attacked in Benghazi from “consulate,” because it was not a consulate, to “diplomatic post”… it was a matter of non-substantive factual correction. But there was a process leading up to that that involved inputs from a lot of agencies, as is always the case in a situation like this and is always appropriate.

This is an incredible thing for Carney to be saying. He’s playing semantic games, telling a roomful of journalists that the definition of editing we’ve all been using is wrong

There are a number of takeaways from this. First, the MSM apparently really believed their guy when he spoke rubbish and grandiosity lo these many years. They believed their guy even though most every word that came out of his mouth was to be measured in terms of its political usefulness, not by its truth. That accounts for the tone of surprise and incredulity in the New Yorker piece.

Second, the White House is equally unprepared and surprised. As we know from the days of Richard Nixon and Ron Ziegler, the press secretary’s orders come straight from the top. So when Carney looks like a buffoon telling lies that are long past their sell-by date, it’s because there’s confusion, disorganization and maybe even a little panic at the top. And why wouldn’t there be? Here was this Chicago Way politician with a nice voice getting treated as a god. Heaven on earth.

The MSM is now coming to grips with the fact that, despite it was Republicans saying so, there actually was a cover-up and they ignored it because they wrote it off as partisan politics. Oops! Whether the media get to the central issue is another matter. Contrary to the received wisdom in these matters, the cover-up is not always worse than the crime. In Ron Ziegler’s “third-rate burglary” that was true. In Benghazi, the opposite is the case. The crime in Benghazi was not taking whatever diplomatic and specifically military actions that might have saved four lives. Whether or not the efforts would have been successful is not the issue; orders to “stand down” are the issue. We know where the order came from. Whether the media are willing to go there is another thing entirely.

One Response to “Cover-ups and crimes, then and now”

  1. Maggie's Farm Says:

    Monday morning links…

    A storm from the sun: Astronomers watching for potential catastrophe I blame global warming Toward Rivals, It’s Craigslitigious – The company’s response: lawsuits to prevent anyone from doing to it what it did to newspapers. Stellar science sch…

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