Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hung Up

By the time you read this, we can assure you that many of our media colleagues will have already chewed through the 'fiscal cliff' deal story, thrown its proverbial bones to the editing room floor, and attempted to move on to whatever flashy news item is grabbing people today.

We highly doubt many Americans even remember the furor ginned up over the holiday break, when President Obama began floating former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel's name as a potential cabinet replacement for Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

The vitriol that was lobbed at Hagel over the holidays came from both the left and the right, and even included a trashy television commercial by a political lobbying group that favors a certain political party in Israel. Many were saying that that Sen. Hagel's chance to serve the President was all washed up, and that the President hung Hagel out to dry, by not loudly standing up and defending him.

That might have been common political wisdom in another era - but we're not so sure it'll work with Obama and Hagel.

To begin with, those who say President Obama hasn't defended the idea of Hagel serving as Defense Secretary obviously didn't pay attention to the news over the holiday break. The President specifically made a spirited defense of Hagel in his 'Meet The Press' interview just four days ago.

Obama acknowledged that some of Hagel's positions on Israel and Iran worry some members of Congress, and that the President was aware of Hagel's past comments about homosexuality and his apology, but that Hagel "…at least deserves a hearing and an opportunity."

What President Obama was obliquely referencing was the media trial, conviction, and political lynching of another potential second term nominee, Susan Rice.

As we pointed out on Wednesday - and as few other media organizations reported, even during our holiday break - the Senate report on the attack at the consular substation in Benghazi, Libya came back over that holiday break. The report found that while the FBI, CIA, and other so-called intelligence agencies were responsible for the explanations Ms. Rice gave of Benghazi, neither she or the White House were responsible for any political maneuvering, let alone lying about the Libyan incident.

Even though Susan Rice was innocent of all the smears and accusations slung at her, we'd be willing to bet all the money in our bank accounts, versus all the money in the pockets of Ms. Rice's critics, that you will never see, hear, or read an apology by any of those in Congress or the media who had crucified Susan Rice just two or three months ago - unless of course, UN Ambassador Rice decides to sue the hell out them for slander.

Instead of apologizing for their previous rush to judgement, or following up on the Benghazi Senate report, some of our less-than-competent colleagues in the "news" media spent much of their holiday insinuating that Secretary of State Clinton's blood clot (and earlier head injury) was a ruse to get out of testifying to Congress.

In light of the mainstream media's embarrassing failure to get the Benghazi story right, or even follow up on the accusations against Susan Rice, we suggest that our media colleagues hang up the idea that Chuck Hagel is all washed up as a candidate for Defense Secretary.

It's obvious that when it comes to credibility and media ethics, some of those we share our industry with are the ones who are truly all wet - and it's they who should be hung out to dry.

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