MSNBC Coverage of Benghazi Attack Minimal

As WH narrative flounders, liberal network has only mentioned Libya 14 times in the past two days

September 27, 2012

The administration’s handling of the terrorist attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi has come under intense media scrutiny in the last 48 hours. But one of the big three cable networks is barely covering the attack and its aftermath: MSNBC.

The Washington Free Beacon conducted a TV Eyes search between 12 a.m. on Sept. 26, and 6:20 p.m. on Sept. 27—a little more than 42 hours of programming—using the terms "Libya," "Benghazi," and "Ambassador Stevens."

During that period, MSNBC mentioned Libya 14 times, Benghazi seven times, and Ambassador Stevens just twice.

CNN, conversely, mentioned Libya 59 times, Benghazi 34 times, and Ambassador Stevens 17 times; Fox News mentioned Libya 80 times, Benghazi 50, and Ambassador Stevens 16 times.

The minimal MSNBC coverage could be considered a tacit admission of the administration’s mismanagement of the Sept. 11 attack that killed four Americans, for a network that promotes Democrats and liberal policies.

The past 48 hours have especially been damaging to the White House’s narrative on the attack and the administration’s response to it.

CNN reported Wednesday that FBI agents are still not in Benghazi two weeks after the attack, a result of interagency squabbling between the FBI, the State Department, and the Justice Department.

A Fox News report indicated the administration knew the attack was an act of terrorism within 24 hours. The White House first said the attack was the result of a protest against an anti-Islam film, and did not call the attack a terrorist action until Sept. 20.

Sec. Leon Panetta described the attack as "planned" on Thursday—something officials have still been reluctant to do.

Dissatisfaction with the administration’s response is not limited to Republicans, either: In a letter Thursday, Senate Democrats led by Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.) requested an "accounting of the attacks against U.S. missions in Egypt, Libya and Yemen," according to the Washington Examiner.