At Thursday's White house Daily Briefing, the second day of Benghazi Emails 2: Electric Boogaloo proceeded apace, with Press Secretary Jay Carney fielding questions from reporters on a newly-released email that Benghazi cultists insist proves that the White House engaged in a politically-motivated cover-up. At issue is an email obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch, and which conservatives assert proves that the White House directed then-Ambassador Susan Rice to blame the attack in Benghazi on the YouTube video of the film Innocence of Muslims. The email is a prep document for Amb. Rice’s Sunday talk show appearances, prepared by White House staffer Ben Rhodes.
The particular focus of this strain of Benghazi Fever is a line in Rhodes' email to Rice, under the heading "Goals," which reads “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video, and not a broader policy failure.”
As he did yesterday, Carney continued to explain that the email in question was not a prep document on the Benghazi attack, but on the entire range of subjects that the White House anticipated would be asked on those shows, based on those shows’ own promos. One of those subjects was the widespread protests in the Muslim world that were prompted by Innocence of Muslims.
Much of today's briefing was a rehash of yesterday's, but there was one exchange that serves as a neat little two-minute diorama of the entire Benghazi conspiracy narrative. At one point, Carney turned the tables by asking Fox News Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry a question that Henry couldn't, or wouldn't, answer, and Daily Caller Chief White House Angry Leprechaun Neil Munro swooped in with an assist.
Carney was, again, trying to explain that Rhodes' email "was about protests around the region," when Henry interjected "But Benghazi was part of that...Cairo, a lot of places, but Benghazi was part of it, right?"
"Right," Carney said, "and I would refer you to the C.I.A.-produced talking points on that, that referred, at the time, to currently available information suggesting that there were protests outside the facility in Benghazi inspired by demonstrations outside of Cairo."
Then, he asked Henry "What inspired those demonstrations outside our embassy in Cairo? Do you even remember?"
Henry hesitated. "There was... Cairo, I don't remember specifically, there was a.. um.."
"Does anyone remember?" Carney asked the assembled press. "Can we get a little call-and-response?"
That's when The Daily Caller's Neil Munro chimed in that it was about the Blind Sheik, and also the video. Another conservative Benghazi hobby horse is that the media "covered up" the real reason for the Cairo protests, and, I guess, made up the whole thing about the video.
"I think there was a lot of tumult in the region," Carney began, then said "Daily Caller's been heard from. Backing you up, Ed."
"I think it's fair to say that most people remember there were demonstrations around the region... in reaction to what people felt was an offensive video," Carney continued, "and there were demonstrations outside of US facilities because the video was produced in the United States. So, it's pretty clear, if you read it, that that's what it's about."