Benghazi and scandal bias

You might not have heard that the House Republican committee investigating Benghazi released a report on Friday afternoon (the timing is not a coincidence) that completely undermines all the wild-eyed, Fox News, “scandal” allegations.  There’s a very nice summary from Drum:

It’s hard to exaggerate just how remarkable this document is. It’s not that the committee found nothing to criticize. They did. The State Department facility in Benghazi had inadequate security. Some of the early intelligence after the attacks was inaccurate. The CIA should have given more weight to eyewitnesses on the ground.

But those are routine after-action critiques, ones that were fully acknowledged by the very first investigations. Beyond that, every single conspiracy theory—without exception—was conclusively debunked….

Late on a Friday afternoon, when it would get the least attention, a Republican-led committee finally admitted that every single Benghazi conspiracy theory was false. [emphasis mine]  There are ways that the response to the attacks could have been improved, but that’s it. Nobody at the White House interfered. Nobody lied. Nobody prevented the truth from being told.

It was all just manufactured outrage from the beginning. But now the air is gone. There is no scandal, and there never was.

Drum’s subsequent post points out that this total exoneration of the White House was basically buried by the media.

You know what sells newspapers and gets cable TV ratings?  “Scandal” allegations, no matter how flimsy.  You know what doesn’t?  Thoroughly researched reports showing that those allegations were bunk.  Of course, if this was a Republican presidential administration, I absolutely guarantee you that there would be plenty a website going on about the “liberal media bias” involved in this.  The point, of course, is that the media simply is not interested in an ideological agenda or “fairness.”  They are interested in eyeballs (i.e., it is a business) and that always has been and always will be the primary way in which our news is “biased.”  Benghazi and how the media covers “scandal” is just one more in an endless list of examples.

Photo of the day

From a Telegraph gallery of photos from a Scottish gamekeeper (and as you’ve surely noticed I’m a sucker for cool owl photos):

An Eagle Owl while hunting

An Eagle Owl while huntingPicture: John MacTavish/Deadline News

Immigration is good

Not all opponents of immigration are xenophobes, but the truth is pretty much any level-headed analysis of the costs and benefits shows immigration to be a clear net plus for the US.  Nicholas Kristoff summarizes a lot of this in his latest column, that said, I really liked this little bit:

Look, people aren’t legal or illegal, behaviors are. If an investment banker is convicted of insider trading, he doesn’t become an illegal. So let’s refer not to “illegal immigrants” but to “undocumented immigrants.”

And here’s his excellent conclusion:

We need empathy, and humility. My father, a refugee from Eastern Europe, was preparing a fraudulent marriage to an American citizen as a route to this country when he was sponsored, making fraud unnecessary. My wife’s grandfather bought papers from another Chinese villager to be able to come to the United States.

So remember: What most defines the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America is not illegality but undaunted courage and ambition for a better life. What separates their families from most of ours is simply the passage of time — and the lottery of birth.

Yep.  The lottery of birth.  Americans didn’t deserve to be born in America and have all the benefits that come with that.  They simply won the birth lottery by being born here.

Quick hits (part II)

1) I waited all week to give this Dahlia Lithwick piece it’s own post, but I failed.  Justin Wolfe’s murder conviction was vacated three years ago due to prosecutorial misconduct, but he’s still in prison.  And he’s white!

2) Want time off from your K-Mart job at Thanksgiving?  You might as well just quit.

3) Nice piece on everybody’s favorite new podcast, Serial.

4) Jim Webb in 2016?

5) Here’s a nice story— Democrats and Republicans in NC cooperated on a series of reforms that have been very successful at keeping prison populations down, and working smartly with probationers, and it’s saving money.  Win, win, win.

6) Dana Goldstein on how police departments are systematically under-counting rape:

So why the change? Yung attributes it, in part, to political pressure on police departments to demonstrate decreasing crime rates. Homicide stats are difficult to manipulate. In rape cases, “There are no dead bodies, no insurance claims,” Yung said. Rape cases are “the easiest to manipulate either consciously or through institutional approaches allocating less resources and time to it.”

7) And now evidence from a cool natural experiment shows that early start times for high school leads to more teen car crashes.  I don’t expect any change.  What’s a few dead teenagers when you consider the money saved on bus routes.

8) We certainly would not want scientists with actual expertise to be able to advise the EPA.  Not if you are a Congressional Republican.

9) Nice post from Nate Cohn on Hipanic voters and the Republican party:

Hispanic voters are disproportionately concentrated in noncompetitive states like Texas and California. This makes it even harder for the Republicans to claim the presidency by focusing on them, since there are relatively few Hispanic voters in the battleground states that determine who wins the Electoral College. Hispanics represent more than 5 percent of eligible voters in just three battlegrounds: Florida, Nevada and Colorado. As a result, the Republicans could have entirely erased Mr. Obama’s advantage among Hispanic voters and still lost the presidency in 2012, since Mr. Romney would have still lost states like Virginia and Ohio, where there are very few Hispanic voters.

10) Do men accurately perceive women’s sexual intentions?

11) Dahlia Lithwick on the homogeneity of the Supreme Court

12) Science writer Michael Specter (and I) will take Pope Francis over the GOP any day when it comes to science.

13) Alec MacGillis on how the NRA did not actually fare so well in the Midterms (the candidates they targeted lost, but not because of NRA targeting).

14) Really enjoyed this profile of Landon Donovan with his retirement looming.  The main theme being that showing yourself to be human is not necessarily a good thing when you are a sports star.  Personally, I’ve very much enjoyed the sense that Donovan is a pretty ordinary human being with extraordinary soccer skills.

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