News coverage of the Benghazi hearings briefly left the Foxiverse last Friday when ABC News published a report that reporter Jon Karl had read White House emails proving the White House was playing politics during the Benghazi attacks last year before the election.
What really happened was that Jon Karl had not read any White House emails, and in fact completely made up a whole bunch of bullshit. He wrote it down and called it a “verbatim quote from the White House emails” and ABC News ran with the story and called it news.
Fortunately CNN’s Jake Tapper had his eyes open and is out with a report which pushes back on ABC’s Jon Karl and also criticizes Stephen Hayes from the Weekly Standard for his false reports of a similar nature.
Here’s what Tapper says really happened, and it leaves ABC and Weekly Standard with a whole lot of egg on their faces:
Tapper was able to obtain an email from Ben Rhodes, a top aide to President Obama who used to serve as Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications. This is the same email that was misquoted by both ABC and Weekly Standard.
Tapper’s report states that the White House email he saw differed from the previous reports, in other words that the previous reports from ABC and Weekly Standard simply made up and inserted language and attributed it to the White House when in fact what the White House said was entirely different. In other words, they printed lies and Tapper caught them and called them out.
Addicted to detail? Awesome.
Here’s what ABC printed last week, and what their reporter Jon Karl claimed came from his having “reviewed White House emails”:
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.”
And now, here’s the main part of the actual White House email that CNN’s Tapper was able to obtain:
“There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.”
But what does this all mean?
Clearly, there was a made-up portion about the White House talking about State Department concerns when the White House never said any such thing. When asked about this, Jon Karl admitted he had never really read the White House emails after all. Karl reluctantly had to admit that he had not read the emails but had merely quoted a source who had claimed to have reviewed the emails.
In school, it’s called plagiarism when someone submits work written by someone else and calls it their own. This wasn’t quite plagiarism by Jon Karl as much as an outright, bold faced lie. “I read the emails,” he first declared. But he hadn’t reviewed the emails. He lied. ABC lied. And Weekly Standard, if they printed the same false quote, they lied too. At best, they all should apologize to the White House and to the American People for abusing our trust and causing harm in the search for truth.
What does the White House say about this whole thing?
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary in his press briefing on Tuesday blamed Republicans not only for leaking the emails in the first place but for fabricating portions of the emails. Carney points to the fabricated portions of the emails which Fox news has been pounding over and over as talking points in order to add fuel to their false claims that Benghazi is a scandal. (Spoiler alert: it’s not.)
Carney said, “I think the entire email — the report I read showed the entire email, and what it showed is that Republicans who were leaking these press — these emails that have been shared with Congress didn’t just do that; they decided to fabricate portions of an email and make up portions of an email in order to fit a political narrative. And I think — I’m not surprised by it because we’ve seen it again and again.”
Now for my 2 cents: You haven’t seen a post from me here for quite some time. This story rouses so much ire, I hope the whole blogosphere comes alive with this story today… nothing’s worse than a so-called news organization, by any name, who publishes lies and won’t come correct even when called out and humiliated. That’s my opinion.
ABC: bad news organization for this. Jon Karl: bad reporting. Your false reports fueled Fox’s false claims, and caused real damage in the news cycle, and you should apologize. Doubly in fact, for continuing to try and spin your false reporting into some kind of face saving effort to convince us you didn’t lie to our faces. Pride and ego at the expense of truth and honesty does not a good news organization make. Have some integrity, guys. We’re all watching and keeping score who can be trusted, and who’s blowing a lot of hot air.