Courtesy of Media Matters:
The House Select Committee on Benghazi, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), is criticizing CNN’s coverage of a former committee staffer’s claim that the panel’s work has become a “partisan investigation” that is “hyper focus[ed] on Hillary Clinton.”
The New York Times reported on October 10 that Bradley Podliska, a former investigator for Republican members of the committee who claims he was fired unlawfully, has accused the committee of focusing “primarily on the role of the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton” instead of conducting a comprehensive investigation into the September 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans.
CNN.com has since updated its article to note that Gowdy has “criticized CNN’s reporting of Podliska’s claims” and complained that the network did not contact the Benghazi committee prior to airing Podliska’s “sensationalistic and fabulist claim.” CNN refuted Gowdy’s statement, saying, “Chairman Gowdy is wrong.”
Here is a snippet from a great article by James Fallows at the Atlantic:
It has taken mainstream journalism too long a time to catch up with the reality of the “Benghazi Committee,” run by Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. (He is from our beloved Greenville, in fact.) The reality is that the Republican staff and majority of the committee have made it function as an oppo-research arm of the Republican National Committee, far more interested in whatever it might dig up about or against Hillary Clinton than any remaining mysteries on the four Americans killed in Benghazi.
Evidence to that effect has been mounting for months, and the case is comprehensively assembled in Sunday’s big NYT take-out. This story really is worth reading in detail. (Update: As is this analysis just now by the Atlantic’s own David Graham.)
Make sure and read the rest of his article. Very interesting stuff about leaks from the GOP etc.
The piquant aspect of this Times story is that the pattern it describes—a partisan-minded effort to find anything potentially damaging to Hillary Clinton, whether or not it has any connection to the Benghazi tragedy—got as far as it did largely through reliance on those old mainstream-media habits of mind. By instinct reporters treat a congressional investigative committee as presumptively legitimate; and when they receive leaks from informed committee sources, as obviously has happened for many months, they (we) are honor-bound to protect their sources’ identities. But the good part of that old-school confidentiality commitment—making clear to our informants that we won’t ever give up their names—has shaded over into a cynically exploitable part.
I hope that little ferret Howdy Gowdy is getting a little worried just about now.