Monday, December 1, 2014

Understanding the Wingnet: The Benghazi Conspiracy Explained

Phrase of the Day: The Benghazi Conspiracy Theory

During an attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, died in the hours that followed. At the height of 2012 presidential campaign, GOP insiders decided to use the attack as a political tactic against the incumbent president during the campaign by insinuating lack of competence, dishonesty and malfeasance on the part of the Obama Administration.

Though there was not evidence supporting these allegations, rank and file republicans gave party insiders the benefit of the doubt and took the allegations to be true. Thereafter fueled by Conservative Media, conspiracy theories took hold of the party as party members attempted to piece together facts into a narrative that would besmirch the Obama Administration.

Initially, the GOP charged the Obama Administration of whitewashing a terrorist attack, these allegations morphed into even more outlandish claims of a stand-down of military aid to the besieged facility, claims that the CIA was using Benghazi for running guns to Syrian Rebels and even that the attack was allowed to happen in order to murder the US Ambassador.

As the 2012 election ended in defeat for the GOP, Party Insiders kept the allegations alive as a ploy to be used against a potential 2016 presidential campaign by Hillary Clinton who was the Secretary of State during the attack. As a result, disinformation about the Benghazi consulate attack has been routinely disseminated through conservative media such as Fox News with such disinformation expected to continue on in effect for the duration of the 2016 presidential campaign  - if Hillary Clinton runs as a candidate for the democratic party.

Despite having been dispelled by 7 different investigations, the Benghazi Conspiracy continues to hold the attention of the hard right in America due to three basic components. First. There was an actual attack on a consulate and due to the "Fog of War" the sequence of events was not immediately apparent.

Next insiders within the GOP decided to use the attack on the consulate as tool to reinforce previously held views within the GOP base about the Obama Administration's approach to Islamic Terrorism.

And finally, understanding what caused the consulate attack and the events surrounding the attack required reliance upon "Elites" as the ordinary person lacks the capability and knowledge to make a determination on his/her own.  This reliance on Elites and in particular reliance upon partisan or dishonest Elites makes the ordinary individual particularly susceptible to disinformation and manipulation.  In the parlance of the right wing media, rank and file republicans were "Gruberized" or deliberately manipulated by GOP Elites in order to achieve a larger objective - defeating the incumbent party and returning to power.

Link to House Intelligence Committee Benghazi Investigation Report.

No comments:

Post a Comment