Media Matters(!) Debunks Democrats’ Dishonest Distortion of Chairman Gowdy’s Comments
On Tuesday – the same day they were called out by The Washington Post Fact Checker – Benghazi Committee Democrats continued their dishonest campaign of misinformation and rushed to cherry-pick from comments Chairman Gowdy made on Fox News. They dishonestly declared he had “conceded” something new, selectively distorting his words into an “admission” in order to knock down their own straw man.
Despite being warned that Chairman Gowdy had in fact said nothing new, and that Committee Republicans have never focused on the conspiracy theories Democrats constantly obsess over for political reasons, some reporters fell for their ruse and raced to publish the fictional narrative Democrats concocted, even using the same descriptions. The Associated Press referred to “Gowdy’s own concession” and used the phrase “now says” to indicate Chairman Gowdy had changed his mind. The New York Times featured his quote in not one but two articles, including one on the front page. It was all very echo chamber-esque.
Now, thanks to a very unlikely source, there’s a lot of egg to go around. A January 2016 report from Media Matters debunks Committee Democrats’ dishonest distortion, and proves those reporters were wrong to trust them.
“Conservative Media Use Trey Gowdy Interview To Push Debunked Benghazi ‘Stand Down’ Claim,” blared the arm of the Clinton propaganda machine at the time. “But Gowdy Didn't Say That Military Assets Were Ordered To ‘Stand Down.’”
Here’s the rest of the relevant portion of Media Matters’ January 14, 2016 post, with additional emphasis:
Gowdy Didn't Specify Whether Witnesses Said That Military Or Local Security Personnel Claim They Were Told To "Stand Down." When asked about whether a "stand-down" order was given in Benghazi in a January 13 interview on the Boston Herald's radio show Boston Herald Drive, Gowdy said that "there are witnesses who say there was one, there are witnesses who say there was not one." From the interview (emphasis added):
ADRIANA COHEN: Congressman Gowdy, can you give our audience an update on what is happening with the Benghazi investigation? We know that you recently obtained testimony from General Petraeus, and he said that there was no stand down order given during the attacks. Can you bring us up to speed?
TREY GOWDY: Yeah, we interviewed General Petraeus, we interviewed Secretary Panetta, we interviewed a witness yesterday that I don't think any other committees talked to. We're interviewing a witness in 21 minutes that no other committee has talked to. We're just doing it privately and I get the criticism of when you do things in private, people either don't know about it or the news vacuum is filled by, you know, Democrat press releases about how long it's taking or how much money it's costing. But I committed at the very front that I was going to do this the right way, the way that investigations should be done. And you know I would hasten to add, I don't think a single Democrat has asked the Department of Justice why they haven't brought Khattalah to trial yet. I haven't heard a single one complain about the amount of time that its taken the Department of Justice to bring the only person who's been apprehended in connection with Benghazi to trial. So, they're willing to give a pass when their guys are doing an investigation, they do nothing but obstruct when we're trying to do it. But I'm going to continue to – we have about a dozen witnesses left to talk to. We are still waiting on documents from DOD, CIA, and the State Department. And then we're going to write a really fact-centric, fair report.
And you mentioned the stand down order, there are witnesses who say there was one, there are witnesses who say there was not one. And I wasn't there, and you weren't there, and your listeners weren't there. So the best I can do is lay out what the witnesses say, and then you're going to have to make a determination as to who you believe is more credible. You should never let me tell you whether a red light - whether a light was red or green if I wasn't at the intersection. You should say, 'well how do you know that?' The best I can do is tell you what the witnesses say, and then you can decide who you think is more credible.
COHEN: Congressman Gowdy, when the investigation – when Leon Panetta first gave testimony, he said that the question was asked to him by Congress, why weren't military assets deployed to rescue our men there. And he said, basically, that there wasn't enough time to get assets to the area. But since then, now on emails and reports have come out that there were assets readily available, the terminology was they were spinning up, ready to go, but that they weren't given the go-ahead by someone in the government, whether it's the State Department or the Pentagon. Is that true?
GOWDY: Part of what you said is true, part of what you said we don't know, and as fate would have it, that is the very witness that I am going to be examining now in 20 minutes, the author of that email [Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff at the Department of Defense]. And it is impossible for me to believe that any committee was able to do its job without that email and without asking questions of that witness. I think it is fair for your listeners to focus on two points. Number one, were there assets in the region that could have reached Benghazi in time for the second attack? I don't think there's any argument the ambassador and Sean Smith, who died due to smoke inhalation – the only folks who could have gotten there in time, were the GRS heroes who did go, but there were no assets that could have gotten there. The second attack, the one where we lost Glen Doherty and Ty Woods, that is an eminently fair question, but there are two questions. Number one, did we have assets in the region that could have responded? But an equally important question is, if the answer to that question is no, why not? With the Arab Spring, on the anniversary of 9/11, with Cairo having just taken place hours before, why were no assets moving toward that region? And both of those questions, to me, are equally important and you have to talk to the author of the spinning up email, which is exactly who we're talking to this morning. [Boston Herald, Boston Herald Drive, 1/13/16]
This is 100% in agreement with what Chairman Gowdy has said elsewhere in the months since, including this week on Fox News.
Here's a side by side comparison:
|Chairman Gowdy Five Months Ago||Chairman Gowdy This Week|
|[W]ere there assets in the region that could have reached Benghazi in time for the second attack?||Whether or not they could have gotten there in time…|
|I don't think there's any argument…||I don't think there is any issue with respect to that.|
|…there were no assets that could have gotten there.||They couldn’t.|
|…if the answer to that question is no, why not?||The next question is, why could you not? Why were you not positioned to do it?|
Reporters: Don't get suckered by the dishonest Democrats again.
Note: Media Matters’ transcript of the radio interview has been slightly edited for typos/grammar.