by Don Hank
Recently, CBS executive Jonathan Karl went on the Bill O’Reilly show and did something unprecedented. He sided with the conservative viewpoint that there was indeed lying and obfuscation in the highest echelons of the Obama administration in the Benghazi aftermath. He discussed frankly how the State Department talking points had been revised beyond recognition, from the initial admission (by the CIA) that the Benghazi attack was a well-planned terror attack to a fictitious narrative of a spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Muslim video.
For years, the public has watched Obama lie and cheat and get a pass from the press corps. So there is skepticism about the extent to which leftwing media criticism of the White House will effect a substantive change.
Recently, one of my correspondents attributed the mood change in the media with regard to Obama to the fact that the truth is simply too big to contain. The old ‘the truth will out’ theory.
Yet in the past, the media had successfully stonewalled despite overwhelming evidence. For example, in the face of patently fake birth certificates or whopper lies about the economy and unemployment that affected the working people–the little people–they stonewalled the undeniable truth and would have kept denying until their dying day. They always had the choice to deny and their denial, if presented in a phalanx of consistent fiction, does overcome the truth in terms of fooling the little guy.
What we have going with ABC, however, is most likely something new, and I think it has to do with something professional know as collegiality–a strong sense of identity among professionals. Every profession is imbued with this phenomenon. I saw one of my profs, a brilliant and competent man, defend a colleague of his fiercely despite that professor’s glaring incompetence, simply out of a sense of fraternity–or in this case, collegiality.
Collegiality bonds professionals of the same profession but also of different ones. There is after all a general sense among professionals that people who have studied and trained for a career deserve to be honored and respected–as colleagues. After all, they have all studied in universities or colleges and think of themselves, and their colleagues, as intellectuals and worthy professionals.
Thus, when someone threatens a colleague, the profession circles the wagons, in a sense.
This is, I think, what is driving the unraveling of the Benghazi story and the lack of support for Obama. I see Jonathan Karl personally identifying with the three witnesses who testified. They are, after all, intellectuals, like Karl. One of them, Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, testified that he had two Masters degrees and spoke fluent Arabic. Jonathan Karl can identify with these men. To him they are to be admired and, more to the point, protected. He saw the fear and apprehension in their eyes and heard it in their voices. He knows that one (Greg Hicks, Chris Stephens’ replacement) has already been demoted for telling the truth. That must be painful to CBS’s Karl, who realizes, perhaps now for the first time, that the same fate could befall him as well if something isn’t done.
When some people high in the hierarchy (journalism in Karl’s case) see another colleague in trouble, something prods them to do whatever they can to help that colleague. Thus, the Obama regime’s deceit isn’t someone else’s story any more.
And while ABC News has for years callously watched the little guy get trampled and done nothing to help, they do not see these three Benghazi witnesses as little guys. They see them as peers. Karl may have considerable influence on other networks as well. Already CBS anchor Scott Pelley made a speech at Quinnipiac University apologizing for shoddy reporting in his own network. Unprecedented. Did Jonathan Karl get to him?
In my theory, this ‘collegiality effect’ is game changing for the media. This is an indirect, unintended consequence of Obama’s – and Hillary’s – actions.
It is now clear to the MSM that beleaguered colleagues – fellow intellectuals and high ranking bureaucrats – were left to die, while others were threatened with demotion and dismissal, by a callous government. Never before had this callousness been so starkly manifested to them because the frequent trampling of the rights of common people by this regime was always invisible. They didn’t see, hear or care about you and me.
But after the Benghazi hearing, their eyes were finally opened. The danger was on their own doorstep.
Every tyrant is eventually brought low by the unintended consequences of his actions. Tyrants become bold and eventually, after getting a pass for years, think no one can ever stop them. But what one tyrant forgot was that trampling on millions of powerless little people is not the same as trampling on higher ranking members of the elite. Those people will bare their fangs and claws when one of their own is down. And the press is more powerful than the sword.