Topic: Accuracy in Media
In his July 5 column, Accuracy in Media's Roger Aronoff predictably complained that the "liberal media" mostly ignored the final report from AIM's Benghazi kangaroo court -- er, the Citizens' Commission on Benghazi. And he also complained about the one "liberal media" member that did, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, who allegedly "regularly trolls conservative gatherings to heap scorn, sarcasm and peddle misinformation to his waiting readers. That is the sad state of journalism in this country today." Aronoff complains:
During the course of Milbank’s article, he called the members of the CCB “a coalition of far-right foreign-policy types,” “conspiracy theorists,” and “agitators.” This is all part of the attempt to discredit the messenger, because Milbank can’t really dispute the message—although he has certainly tried. But at least he was there, and spelled the names correctly, though he was wrong about the number of members on the commission (it’s 14, plus two advisory, not 11). Apparently the Post’s Fact-Checker was busy on other stories that day. Maybe they should hire more.
Milbank found our report to be what he called “full of inventive accusations.”
“They found ‘troubling evidence that Obama and Clinton were deeply and knowingly involved in running guns to al-Qaeda in Libya,’” writes Milbank, “as well as ‘a clear case of official U.S. government submission to the Islamic Law on slander.’”
“They determined that the Obama administration ‘switched sides in what was then called the Global War on Terror’ and ‘benefited this country’s worst enemies,’” he continues. “They wrote that Clinton herself blocked U.S. military forces from attempting a rescue mission, and they attributed the decision to oust Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi in part to financial interests of the Clinton Foundation.”
When Milbank quotes from the CCB’s findings, the obvious inference is that he finds these points to be baseless—and believes they could only originate from the minds of right-wing conspiracy theorists. The findings in the CCB’s latest report are, indeed, very damning accusations. But we back them up in every case, and encourage people to read the report and judge for themselves. Our military and intelligence experts—former admirals, generals, colonels, congressmen and CIA officers—are people with vast service to this country and outstanding reputations.
Aronoff doesn't want to talk about how the CCB is filled with far-right foreign policy types and conspiracy theorists because he knows that's indisputably true. His insistence that "our military and intelligence experts—former admirals, generals, colonels, congressmen and CIA officers—are people with vast service to this country and outstanding reputations" doesn't contradict the fact that they are, in fact, Obama-haters and birthers who had no intention of conducting a fair and balanced investigation.
Indeed, according to Milbank, one of the speakersat the press conference referred to Obama as "Barack Hussein Soetero Obama," a name only birthers and Obama-haters would use. Aronoff doesn't mention that.
Milbank also pointed out that the CCB included as a member Wayne Simmons, who was recently sentenced to prison on various fraud charges after it was discovered that he apparently lied about being a longtime CIA operative. Aronoff didn't note Milbank's reference to Simmons, let alone address why a commission that had him as a member has any credibility.
Aronoff is apparently under orders from AIM chief Don Irvine not to discuss Simmons; after news of Simmons' arrest broke last fall, AIM scrubbed its website of most references to Simmons and issued a statement on him that is the last public statement anyone at AIM has made about Simmons.
Like it or not, the presence of Simmons on the CCB, as much as AIM is now pretending it never happened, is a(nother) reason not to take the CCB seriously, as is Aronoff's refusal to discuss him.
Aronoff continues his complaint against Milbank:
It is Milbank who is being played for the fool by not looking at the evidence.
Apparently he doesn’t believe that Hillary Clinton, or anyone else, for that matter, “blocked U.S. military forces from attempting a rescue mission.” Yet American military assets were not sent to aid those in Benghazi. The Americans in Benghazi were left to withstand multiple terror attacks on their own, lasting approximately 13 hours from start to finish.
Actually, the reason to believe that Cliinton "blocked U.S. military forces from attempting a rescue mission" is because the commission offered no evidence that it happened.
Looking at the CCB report, the main source for that is an article at the far-right FrontPageMag.com by right-winger Ken Timmerman, whose headline falsely states that Clinton issued a "stand-down order" to troops purportedly ready to go to Benghazi on a rescue mission. Timmerman himself doesn't even claim that; he simply speculates that Clinton refused to authorize a military rescue into Benghazi, based on a memo issued by Jeremy Bash, an aide to then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
In fact, as the Democratic members of the House Selecddt Committee on Benghazi point out, the Bash memo confirms previous testimony by Panetta and others that even if military assets were blocked from going in (which they weren't), Americans at the Benghazi facility were evacuated before they would have arrived.
Meanwhile, note who does get Aronoff's praise for reporting on AIM's little kangaroo court:
Jerome Corsi at WorldNetDaily did read the report, and he wrote a different sort of article illuminating the dereliction of duty by the Obama administration.
Corsi recounts how Charles Woods, the father of Ty Woods, spoke at the June 29 press conference, and asked to know who is “responsible” for his son’s death. Ty was a former Navy SEAL who was part of the CIA Annex Security Team. In fact, I hope every American will get the chance to watch the movie “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” It is available on demand on most cable TV services. I attended the premiere last January in Dallas.
Jennifer Harper of The Washington Times also highlighted the new report from the CCB.
Needless to say, neither Corsi nor Harper mention the conspiratorial, Obama-hating nature of the CCB members or that the discredited criminal Simmons was a member. And Aronoff doesn't admit that WND and the Washington Times have right-wing editorial biases.
In other words, Aronoff is praising WND and the WashTimes for uncritically repeating what it wanted to be made public. That's not "accuracy in media"; that's stenography.
And he's mad that one media outlet did raise uncomfortable truths about the CCB that he did not want discussed, an attitude that appears to contradict the whole "accuracy in media" thing AIM claims to be all about.