This is happening too often, and it’s time to call conservative media out on it, as well as the MSM.
Stop framing the dialogue in the terms used by the mainstream media and left-wing politicians. STOP IT. Don’t do it anymore.
The latest instance may seem small, but it conveys an insidious false impression that colors people’s thinking about two very important aspects of reality.
One is the significance and urgency of the Benghazi debacle, and the attempts in Congress to pry open the Obama administration’s lock-box on evidence about it.
The other is the attitude of “the Pentagon,” which people reflexively assume to mean the hard-working, still-admired uniformed military, from generals and admirals down to the most junior enlisted grunts.
When a media outlet uses the headline “Pentagon to Trey Gowdy and Benghazi panel: Back off,” the image in the reader’s head is of men and women in uniform, weary of being hounded with questions, and perhaps dubious of their value.
The piece at Washington Examiner encourages this image with its opening line:
The Pentagon is sick of a House panel’s demands regarding the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, and sent a letter to the committee Thursday night calling on them to do a better job with their urgent requests for interviews.
But is there any reason to think that the Pentagon is actually conveying an attitude on behalf of the men and women in uniform? Is there a reason to accept the implication that the House’s requests for interviews are somehow interfering with the work of national defense? You decide.
Here is who represented “the Pentagon” in a letter asking Trey Gowdy and the House Benghazi panel to back off: Obama political appointee Stephen C. Hedger, the assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs. Mr. Hedger may be a member of the Army National Guard, and a veteran of active duty service from 1999 to 2004. But in the years since, his full-time career has been on the staffs of Democrats in Congress: Representative Steven Israel, Delegate Madeleine Bordallo (Guam), and Senator Claire McCaskill, for whom Hedger was legislative director from 2009 to 2014.
In 2014 and 2015, Hedger was “Special Assistant to the President and Senate Legislative Affairs Liaison in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs.” It was from the White House that he moved to the Pentagon’s office of legislative affairs, where he served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs until he was appointed to the top job in May 2015.
In other words, Mr. Hedger is Obama’s guy in the Pentagon – as political appointees typically are. Moreover, everyone he reports to, up to and including Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, is Obama’s guy or gal in the Pentagon, selected for political reliability. There’s nothing nefarious about that. But there’s something decisively political.
Especially when the topic is a congressional inquiry on which the Obama administration is at odds with Congress, while the uniformed military has no official view of its value and cannot have one, it’s a lie to imply that this objection from “the Pentagon” is anything other than a letter from an Obama political appointee, approved by other Obama political appointees, wholly in the tank for the president and doing the White House’s bidding.
That’s who expressed the “Pentagon’s” sentiments about the Benghazi investigation. Don’t forget it. And stop accepting the false impressions constructed in your mind with drive-by implications.