By Becky Hogan
Wednesday marked the one year the anniversary of the attack on the Bengahzi consulate that killed four Americans and the twelve year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil. It’s also the day that Russian President Vladimir Putin editorialized American exceptionalism.
On Wednesday, news coverage was dominated by the increasingly complicated situation in Syria, despite unanswered questions on the Benghazi attacks.
Data shows that Benghazi, even on its anniversary, still isn’t getting much media attention–even Putin saw more news coverage in both national and Beltway news compared to the Benghazi issue.
National news coverage on Syria saw over five times that of the coverage on Benghazi. And in Beltway media, Obama is mentioned almost as often as Syria.
While the White House has dismissed Republican claims that the issue on Bengahzi has become a “scandal,” there are still a lot of questions that linger about the ongoing investigations into the attacks.
In July, Senator Lindsey Graham and other Republican members of Congress recently sent a letter asking FBI Director James Comey to make Benghazi a top priority. And three weeks ago, the four State department officials that were placed on leave for their handling of the response to the consulate attack have been cleared by Secretary of State John Kerry and allowed to return to their posts.
So far, no arrests have been reported but the Justice Department says investigators have made progress.
Would media coverage on Benghazi be more pronounced were it not for the the crisis over Syrian President Assad’s regime? It’s hard to say.
A week ago, news coverage on Syria was dominated by whether Congress would authorize a military strike on Syria for using chemical weapons against civilians. Now it’s a much more complicated conversation.
It’s become a question about President Obama’s leadership, the United States’ relationship with Russia, and the role of the United Nations in diplomatic efforts. And on Wednesday, it even became a question about American exceptionalism when in the midst of the U.S. and Russia attempting to work out a deal with Syria to give up their chemical weapon stockpile, Putin penned an op-ed in The New York Times thumbing his nose at President Obama.
Reactions from Republicans and Democrats have been strong.
Action on Syria has split both political parties and the Benghazi issue remains fiercely partisan and almost unmentionable.
But there’s one thing that lawmakers could unite over on Wednesday: it was their response to Putin’s comments about the danger in thinking America is exceptional–for members of Congress, to say America is anything but exceptional is a scandal all its own.