Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Thursday, October 27, 2016

It’s hardly a secret that Fox News is fixated on the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. But now, thanks to a new study from the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America, we know the true scope of the network’s obsession.

The report finds that in the first 20 months following the attacks, five of the network’s shows — The Five, Special Report with Bret Baier, The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren — ran a combined 1,098 segments on Benghazi. In other words, the network’s evening shows averaged about 13 Benghazi segments per week.

Special Report with Bret Baier led the way with 382 segments on the attacks. Hannity placed a distant second with 220 segments, followed by On the Record with 214, The O’Reilly Factor with 181, and The Five with 101.

The vast majority of the coverage attempted to implicate the Obama administration in some kind of cover-up regarding the attacks (despite the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the House Intelligence Committee’s failures to uncover any evidence corroborating such a claim); 402 segments accused the White House of lying about Benghazi, while 281 directly accused the Obama administration of engaging in a cover-up. Another 224 erroneously questioned whether President Obama called the attack an act of terror, and 230 questioned whether the president’s response was dictated by his 2012 re-election campaign.

Media Matters chart

An additional 100 segments accused the Obama administration of issuing a “stand-down order” to prevent troops from responding to the attacks, even though military officers have testified that no such order existed.

Fox hosts weren’t the only ones getting in on the action. The five shows interviewed 149 members of Congress and the Obama administration about the attacks; true to the network’s “Fair and Balanced” form, 97 percent of them were Republicans.

Media Matters chart 2

Although no evidence has emerged to support any of the conspiracies on which Fox has focused, the network has given no indication that it plans to stop obsessing over the tragic topic. On Tuesday, Fox & Friends host Elisabeth Hasselbeck (who happens to be married to a retired NFL quarterback and is related by marriage to two more NFL players—no conflict of interest there) even found a way to link the attacks to the domestic violence scandal plaguing the league.

Read Media Matters’ full report here.

Photo: ario via Flickr

Want more political news and analysis? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • dtgraham

    Fox News has always been prepared to torture or invent facts to fit their agenda. Since 1996 they’ve been a conscience conspiracy to destroy traditional ethical journalism and replace it with reality TV based entirely on far right-wing fantasies. Among the many obvious problems with that is that it keeps Americans, who watch it regularly, locked out of rational political and policy discussions by systematic misinformation and a cult like “us against them” mindset that Fox promotes towards other points of view.

    At least they fake being marginally better than conservative talk radio and right-wing internet “news” sites, both of which are simply absurd. That’s the home of the UN black helicopters and Obama’s gay Martian love-child. No need to wonder why so many Americans vote, talk, and think the way they do. Look at the crazily misinformed and utterly bizarre posts by so many of the right wingers here at the National Memo website. You can see where it’s coming from.

  • booker25

    Fox, the rightwing spin machine has been in overdrive over this for two years, surprised it hasn’t burned up yet.

  • Mark Sales

    How is this article supposed to work? This article was written all about the FNC coverage, but not about the [“story”/”conspiracy theory”] does this article count as liberal coverage of the [“story”/”conspiracy theory”]?

    Wouldn’t the author feel more intellectually honest if this was not a simple hatchet job? Or is this just filler in an attempt to distract from any other issues where the Administration is buffing up the void?

    • awakenaustin

      The article “works” like this. You read the article. You think about its contents. If you have a comment on the subject raised by the article you comment on it.

      If you have a comment about some other subject or if you wish to move the discussion to some subject unrelated to the article, then you are a troll.

      The fact that the article was about something other than what you wished it to be about, is not a problem.

      The title clearly indicates it is an article about Fox News’ obsession with Benghazi and not an article about the the abysmal lack of any evidence to support the “Benghazi Conspiracy” theory. (We are using theory in its common, but clearly non-scientific sense.) Nothing misleading there. It hardly makes sense to criticize an article for dealing with a subject its title says it will deal with.

      Don’t like some topics, then skip the ones you don’t care for or submit your own article on a subject you wish to talk about..

      Regarding the actual contents of the article, do you have any support for the contrary position that Fox News has not been obsessed in its coverage of “Benghazi”?

      My bad, if I have misinterpreted what seems to be the real complaint embedded in your comments above.

      On a personal note, exactly how does one “buff up the void”?

    • elw

      You feel that way because you do not understand what real journalism looks like. Real journalist report facts and let their reader interpret them. The author is being intellectually honest, you just have been watching too much FOX News to understand real news looks like. In other words you have let FOX News brainwash you.

  • FT66

    This obsession is playing in people’s mind how they think and how they depend on themselves without being fed by only one News Outlet (Fox News). It is really absurd. With the really threat of ISIL we are facing now, how can anyone stuck in the past and ignore the present? Is this the way News Network should work for people? And why not be frank & openly and say loudly:” WE FOX NEWS WE ARE HERE TO GO AFTER HILLARY, NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH BENGHAZI”!

    • Dominick Vila

      Bear in mind that the role of a demagogue is to persuade people to do what he/she wants, not to be fair or objective.

      • FT66

        Then why do they declare their Network is fair & balanced, at the same time they know its not true. Bret Baier Works for that crazy Network. Holding him accountable is really a fair game.

        • Dominick Vila

          Because that’s what liars do. In this case, the motive is the advancement of ideology and profits derived from high ratings. When it comes to demagogues like these, the truth and what is best for the country mean absolutely nothing.

        • adler56

          Because most Americans are dumber than they are and will buy into it.

  • elw

    It has been my experience that liars always accuse other of lying and that they will go to any extent to hold on to their lies even if it means making things up. So if corporations are persons than the corporation that own fox news is one of those people. The thing is the lying problem on that station has moved into the criminal spectrum, the owner and their employees commit fraud everyday to the point they are hurting and confusing the people who watch their shows. There should be a law against that, just like there are laws that protect people from businesses that sell tainted food, there should be laws against news companies that continually sell tainted news.

    • dtgraham

      Yes there should be.

    • If nothing else, there should be standards for who is allowed to put “News” in their titles. Somebody at the FCC should look at their track record and legally require them to change the name of their network lest they be hit with a suit for false advertising.

      • elw

        I agree, but fear that is unlikely to happen.

      • The Emperor did want to place “censors” in all newsrooms across the country. As long as liberals control the media, why should anyone believe anything reported?

        • The “emperor” does not exist, nor does any of the other conspiracy theory bulls*** you refuse to stop wailing about.

          If Fox News proves anything, tea-bagger, it’s that it’s actually conservatives who have a stranglehold over the media. The media has been bullied into pretending that the G.O.P. and the reality-challenged party-before-country traitors, thieves and whores who support them might actually have something useful to ad to the discussion even though they are quite literally at war with reality.

          • Do you have to take pills t be so blind and naïve? The mainstream media is liberal controlled. That is why no one seems to question an illegal POTUS or his outlaw actions and policies.

          • Did you ever think that maybe the media just naturally leans to the left because of the way your ilk has tried to bully and silence it into submission for over a hundred years?

            No, of course not. You don’t even think at all, because according to Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, thinking is unpatriotic! (or something like that).

            You can’t even think of reasons WHY the POTUS is illegal or his actions outlaw. You just throw that shit out there over and over again hoping it will stick one day (but it never will because there isn’t any reality for for it to stick with).

            Go away and don’t come back until you have your head on the outside of your ass.

          • Sorry, I’m not going to go away. You need m here o point out all t bad propaganda you are getting. I know that you rabid jackals that post continuous here are no going to change your brainwashed minds, but there are some reasonable people starting to post, and the other thousands of readers might want to hear some opposing views.
            The tyrant we have in office is being protected by his minions, and a myriad of cover-ups. Things are swinging right, and I can not wait until he is charged with crimes against my country. Then, perhaps, those suffering from the mental disorder of liberalism can get the help they need.

          • The only propaganda here is the shit you are spouting, tea-bagger, and the only tyrants in America are the liars, thieves and wannabe plutocrats you so giddily whore yourself out to.

            FYI, it’s your conservative pimps that have been actively TRYING to get America to fail. If anyone is ever going to be charged with crimes against your* country, it’s going to be somebody you suck the proverbial dick for.

            *Except you have no country because you’ve already sold it out, whore.

  • pmbalele

    I am sorry people died in Benghazi. But this issue was hyped by Repubs and right-wing little jesus (Bill O’rielly). Bill O’rielly intent to raise Benghazi
    was actually a pretext to demonize the WH being occupied by racial minorities. Bill O’rielly and Sean Hannity were raised to believe the WH belonged to Whites only. They went into a mental shock when Obama won the presidency in 2008 and re-won again in 2012. You remember how these FoxNews anchors had campaigned – labeling Obama as Muslim, foreigner and community organizer. These morons lost twice. They have been picking other issues including Benghazi. Unfortunately we have Repubs and TPs in Congress are primitive – they cannot know are being manipulated by their little American jesus-Bill O’rielly. They have spent $4 mil investigating Benghazi – they have found nothing new. Now they are with IRS-causing Trey to waste his time investigating a federal agency doing its job. I am asking Repubs and TPs not to listen to their little-jesus – Bill O’rielly.

    • Allan Richardson

      If I believed in an actual Antichrist, it would be Faux Nooz. Their aims are to commit evil against Americans, and humanity, by deceiving the American people into voting FOR EVIL POLICIES. Regardless of the “Christian” label they wear, they produce evil fruits, and Jesus would not recognize them today (and according to a literal reading of their own theology, He will tell them so one day).

      • You seem to have that holier than thou attitude going. When liberals are turning into godless communists, you have the audacity to make biblical quotes. It take a certain level of hubris to do that, but not unexpected of a liberal.

  • adler56

    Hasselbeck- like her husband- is a doofus. Only Fox would hire an air head like her.