The Benghazi Talking-Point: Fox News and Manufacturing Indignation

Benghazi has become an incendiary term, and I’m uncomfortable addressing the terrorist act because of the people who were killed. Shortly after the violence, the mother of one of the security guards at Benghazi asked for the media not to make the death of her son into a political talking-point. Fox News has completely disregarded this mother’s pleas and continued to push Benghazi as a great political scandal comparable to Watergate. With the discovery of a fairly benign e-mail analyzing how to frame press releases discussing Benghazi, the Fox News machine went into overdrive once again, making Benghazi their premier news point once again…and once again the Republican party in Congress seized Fox News’ direction, calling for yet another investigative committee, designed to smear Democrats and divert our government’s attention away from creating utilitarian policies and laws. I find Fox News’ obsessive campaigning on Benghazi to be distasteful, and I would prefer to dismiss it as another case of Fox News promoting their own stupidity for stupidity’s sake…but as with most things Fox News promotes, I observe many local folks parroting the stupidity. I’ll write about Benghazi just this once to oppose Fox News, but I grow tired of Fox News’ power to direct our national conversation toward absurd claims and unnecessary scandal.

First, I will admit that our government did indeed screw up. There should have been more security at the U.S. embassy in Libya. The minimalist approach for security at Benghazi was an egregious error, and there are four dead Americans because our government did not acknowledge a heightened potential for violence in time to prevent this terrorist attack. We decided to take the cheapest and slowest way out, denying Christopher Stevens’ requests for additional security and asking the embassy to work with what was fiscally available. While both parties within Congress should acknowledge guilt, it is perfectly fair to hold both President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accountable for the lack of adequate security at Benghazi.

A problem with the intense focus on Benghazi by Fox News and many Republicans is their created diversion from the impact of the film-trailer, Innocence of Muslims. It seems their mission is to defend Americans’ right to create incendiary messages under the veil of righteous Christianity. Fox News obviously has a vested interest in defending the actions and fundamental beliefs of American Christians. Their messaging since the attack of September 11, 2012, has been to direct indignation away from the film-trailer and towards Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Somehow, this has been effective for Republican messaging. The producers of the film, Media for Christ, are seldom mentioned, and in fact, accountability for their role is deflected by recitation of first-amendment rights of free speech and expression. Republicans have actually implanted a vision into the American mindset, one in which Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton wickedly watched video of the Benghazi attack, which the pair conspired to allow happen, as any insidious, unified attack on Muslim nations/Islamic religion by American Christian organizations are ignored entirely.

There’s something wrong with this, and it contributes to Fox News’ tendency to treat its audience like ignoramuses by omitting necessary information. The film trailer was indeed created by American Christian organizations. It was intended to support American Christianity and offend Islamic sensibilities. It was supported and viewed by several American churches, and it was sent through the internet specifically to Islamic factions outside of America to enflame and harass. This was supported as a righteous mission by fundamentalist Christians who have convinced themselves that it is their religious duty to oppose Islam. These Christians succeeded at offending Islamic followers. Leaders of Islamic factions throughout the Middle East (and Europe and Asia) became aware of the trailer and used it to incite and organize opposition. There were organized gatherings in multiple nations, and not just Libya. It became an ideal cover for the Benghazi terrorists to attack and kill four Americans.

This is all factual. It is very logical to surmise that Innocence of Muslims had some fault in inspiring the attack at Benghazi. It is also logical to assume that there is no single factor involved in any terrorist attack. It is less logical to assume that our President and Secretary of State were complicit with the terrorists because they were careful with rhetoric within a week of the attack. It is ultimately less logical to unduly attack Susan Rice because she might have acknowledged the possibility of a movie trailer provoking Islamic opposition on the Sunday-morning news programs within the confusing aftermath. There is no logic whatsoever in this continued incitement around the terrorist attack at Benghazi, other than to serve the purposes of the Republican party to defame current and potential Democratic presidents.

My disdain for Fox News’ obsessive attention of Benghazi comes from their continued push to gin up indignation, based on the deaths of J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone S. Woods. I am most tired of Fox News telling me about what I should find to be offensive, and I am weary of our Congress following Fox News’ lead. Fox News disregarded the death of Trayvon Martin in favor of support for George Zimmerman. Fox News opted to support the NRA and Wayne LaPierre instead of focusing on the deaths of twenty 5- and 6- year olds, who sat in American classrooms, not embassies within a violent country. Fox News has chosen to ignore the lies and faulty talking points utilized by the George W. Bush administration that directly led to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers.

Fox News has lost its legitimacy for instructing the American public about where we should find indignation. They have no credibility concerning the terrorist attack at Benghazi. I can only hope that their unrelenting attention of Benghazi does not infect the American people, but it’s obvious that Fox News has built their viewer-base through successfully spreading propaganda, like a virus. America needs to inoculate itself from the disease of Fox News.

{If you appreciated this writing and want to help support the continuation of this blog, please consider sending a donation to:

Scott C. Guffey
P.O. Box 53
Michigan City, IN 46360

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