ABC News’ Jon Karl has made the effort to create a Benghazi scandal a personal hobby horse, even going so far as to falsely report that he had “obtained emails” that he, in fact, had not. At Wednesday’s White House Daily Briefing, Karl tried to resurrect the scandal again by confronting Press Secretary Jay Carney over a recently released White House email (this one was real). Things got heated over the course of the eight minutes, as Carney pushed back hard at Karl, even taking a veiled shot at Karl’s fabricated reporting.
At issue is an email obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch, and which conservatives (and Karl) 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.
Karl, adopting a prosecutorial manner, continually pressed Carney to admit that the White House had directed Amb. Rice to blame the video, but Carney, in between Karl’s ostentatious interruptions, explained 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.
Those promos are actually excerpted in the email, and over several more interruptions from Karl, Carney actually read from the promo for ABC’s own Sunday show, which included protests which were taking place across the Muslim world. Additionally, the line from Rhodes in question doesn’t mention the attack in Benghazi, but rather, that one goal of Rice’s appearance is “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video, and not a broader policy failure.”
Throughout the exchange, Karl continually pressed Carney to admit that the talking points developed by the intelligence committee (which were the subject of the emails that Karl faked) were actually formulated by the White House for political purposes, and at one point, toward the end, tried to get Carney to “correct the record” on how many words the White House suggested be changed.
“Jon, when it comes to correcting the record,” Carney said, pausing to shoot Karl a look, “we could get into that,” (a pretty clear reference to Karl’s Benghazi “emails”), then added “The fact is, those talking points were, as the Deputy Director of the CIA testified before Congress, as he has talked to the press about, on Benghazi, were created by the CIA.”