How the Media Covered the Final Benghazi Report

June 28th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

The House committee charged with investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks released its final report on Tuesday. The 800-page report, which offers an exhaustive look at the terrorist attack that left four Americans dead at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, is all over the news. But not everyone seems to agree about what the report actually means.


You might notice some media outlets emphasizing the fact that the House Select Committee on Benghazi failed to turn up evidence of wrongdoing on the part of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Here's The New York Times:

The New York Times

The Times notes that the committee also blamed federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and CIA "for failing to grasp the acute security risks in Benghazi, and especially for maintaining outposts in there that they could not protect."

The committee did, however, criticize Clinton's alleged influence over the selection of officials who led the investigation. The New York Post felt the report reflected poorly on Clinton, revealing shortcomings in her initial response to the attack.

New York Post

As did Sarah Palin, who penned a post for Breitbart headlined "Administration Lies, Soldiers Die. Yes, Hillary, at Every Point ‘It Matters.’"


Here's what Palin said:

"The Administration’s deception is beyond shameful. They sat back and allowed our peacekeepers to die during what they witnessed becoming a suicide mission. In command of the greatest military in the world, yet officials sat back in Washington’s comfort, not allowing our troops to do their job to protect fellow Americans. Hillary left our men behind. Hillary is disqualified from serving as Commander in Chief."

The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast blasted the committee for spending two years and more than $7 million investigating the attack, which The Post described as an effort to "exonerate Clinton." House Democrats have also been critical of the committee for expending time, money, and congressional resources on the investigation.

The Huffington Post

The Daily Beast

Meanwhile, Fox News, The Washington Times, and Politico focused on the report's condemnation of the Obama administration, which the committee ultimately faulted for failing to adequately protect the diplomatic compound.

Fox News

The Washington Times


Some news organizations didn't count the report findings as a victory for Clinton or loss for the GOP-led committee.

Media outlets, such as CNN and MSNBC reported that the committee's final report demonstrated that the investigation lacked any substantive "bombshell" and ended "with a whimper."



Some Twitter users highlighted the relatively tame response to the final report from media organizations such as Drudge, which had previously covered the story with enthusiasm.

The takeaway? For the past two years, speculation about the Benghazi attack — who or what agency was responsible, how it could affect Clinton's presidential run, what kind of intelligence was available leading up to the attack and whether acting on that intelligence could've saved lives — has driven a media frenzy that effectively ended on Tuesday. Interpretations of the report in the media vary, in some cases dramatically, but the facts of the report don't appear to add up to the scandal some thought it would.

Clinton responded to the final report on Tuesday, stating that it is "pretty clear it's time to move on," The Associated Press reports.

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