Fox News Cuts Away From Obama Press Conf. Cuz No One Was Asking About Benghazi


Most of us know that Fox News Channel is a right-wing agitprop machine masquerading as a news network. But yesterday, Fox News dropped even the tiniest pretense that it is a bastion of serious journalism. The network cut away from President Obama’s press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel because none of the reporters were asking Obama about the 2012 Benghazi attacks–and never returned. Mediaite captured the entire exchange.

The Obama-Merkel press conference began at noon Eastern Time, just as yesterday’s edition of Fox News’ daytime show, “Outnumbered,” went to air. While Merkel was giving her opening statement, Fox News abruptly cut back to the studio, where “Outnumbered” co-host Harris Faulkner confidently predicted that at some point, one of the reporters would ask about a recently-released email exchange that seemed to put White House adviser Ben Rhodes into the conversation on how to spin the attack on the American embassy in Libya. In one of those emails, Rhodes supported the suggestion that the attacks grew out of protests against the crudely produced anti-Islamic video “Innocence of Muslims.” That email apparently prompted House Speaker John Boehner to announce the creation of a select committee to investigate the White House response to the attacks.

A few minutes later, Fox News rejoined the press conference. But 23 minutes later, Fox News rejoined the “Outnumbered” crew, where Faulkner made this breathtaking announcement:

We know that the next question that’s coming up is from a German reporter. We are not anticipating that would be about the situation in Benghazi, which which is breaking news since the president has been talking really. So, if in fact somebody throws him a question on this topic, we will go back to that joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Faulkner then said that she and her colleagues–Sandra Smith, Kirsten Powers, Jedediah Bila, and Eric Bolling–would “move on to what is breaking.” True to its word, Fox News never returned to the White House. In contrast, both CNN and MSNBC gave up their entire noon-hour (Eastern Time) schedules to cover the press conference in full.

There’s a plausible explanation for why the assembled reporters disappointed Fox News. Slate’s David Weigel points out that Rhodes sent his email just nine hours after the CIA circulated its initial talking points saying the attacks grew out of the protests.? Weigel rightly says that it’s “lazy journalism or lazy politicking” to blame Rhodes–and by extension, the White House–for a talking point that came from the CIA.? Chances are that the reporters in the Rose Garden knew this as well, and didn’t want to make themselves look like fools on international television by asking a question about those emails when it was obvious that there was no there there.

But even without this to consider, it’s very disturbing that Fox News bailed on this press conference when it didn’t unfold the way that it wanted. If you hold yourself out to be a news organization, you should cover the story even if it takes a direction you don’t like. This is probably the strongest evidence yet that Fox News’ longtime slogans–“Fair and Balanced” and “We report…you decide” are both transparent lies.

Darrell Lucus.jpg Darrell Lucus is a radical-lefty Jesus-lover who has been blogging for change for a decade. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook.

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.