'ABC outfoxes competition'

For Your Consideration

Peter CavanaughMay 22, 2013 

Bill O'Reilly? Sean Hannity? Megyn Kelly? Make way for King Karl.

On Friday, May 10, ABC chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl grabbed major media attention across a wide spectrum with an "ABC Exclusive" now revealed to be woefully inaccurate, significantly misleading and pathetically unprofessional.

What appeared to be direct quotes from the e-mails of White House and State Department aides turned out to be significantly less. After CNN challenged Karl's credibility, he admitted he hadn't actually reviewed the material in question himself, but was "quoting verbatim" from someone who allegedly had. The White House finally put an end to all speculation with the release of documentation proving Karl's inaccuracy -- and once and for all establishing beyond doubt that the administration did not engage in any Benghazi talking points cover up.

Edward Wasserman, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Berkley, unequivocally says of Karl's "Exclusive" -- "It's highly problematic ethically, and the failure to acknowledge or correct is even worse." Wasserman's review is echoed by Tom Fiedler, dean of the Boston University College of Communication, who stated Karl's report "cries out for a correction." Kevin Smith, chair of the Society of Professional Journalists' ethics committee, submits that ABC was guilty of "inaccurate reporting" which represented "a serious credibility issue."

Ramping up the craziness -- it seems that the Obama White House had already made the alleged source of Karl's revelations available to Republican leadership several months earlier in tandem with confirmation hearings on CIA Director John Brennan, except the actual documents offer a much different conclusion than that so self-servingly and haphazardly presented by Karl.

The fact that so many Congressional Republicans expressed shock and dismay over initial coverage of the phony ABC "discovery" offers woeful witness to and undeniable evidence of their own gross negligence in not reading what had been in front of them all along.

After Benghazi blaming went the way of reported flying saucer landings on the Von's roof, Big Foot sightings in North Fork and the most recent alien abduction up near Fish Camp, at least Obama haters still had FBI subpoenas of Associated Press phone records and IRS persecution of the Tea Party to fall back on -- for a few minutes. But if scandals were sandals -- they'd now have sore feet.

New information indicates that no laws were clearly broken in either instance, although both subjects remain areas of deep concern in terms of obviously conflicting interpretations of applicable legislation on the part of underlings who, in every instance, had no direct connection to or communication with the president regarding their actions. Even in the face of House Speaker John Boehner's "Who's going to jail?" pandering, ambiguity is not a felonious offense.

But the big buzz bursting out of Jonathan Karl's sloppy journalism has left its toll. A new survey by Public Policy Polling reveals that 23% of Americans have come to believe that "Benghazi is the biggest political scandal in American History," although a full 39% of this number have absolutely no idea where Benghazi might be located.

This grouping presumably includes the 17% of our fellow citizens who still insist that President Obama is a Muslim and the 24% who "know he was born elsewhere," including more than half (55%) of registered Republicans according to a Dartmouth poll.

By my estimation, a "low information voter" is infinitely worse than a "no information voter" -- the latter representing simple ignorance while the former illustrates a simple mind. Rhetorical venom seeps into some, yet poisons all.

But now -- in the words of the great Monty Python -- I beg your indulgence to insert into this column -- "something completely different."

It's not "The Ministry of Silly Walks." Nor "Ethel the Frog." Nor a giant hedgehog named, "Spinney Norman."

Today, May 23, 2013, marks the 49th wedding anniversary of Peter and Eileen Cavanaugh. That puts our Golden 50th but one short year away. As I've written elsewhere and herein reiterate in no uncertain terms, credit for such achievement is infinitely more due to Eileen's perpetually persistent patience with Peter through the years than his own perfection of 'marital arts.'

Hopefully, I'm improving with age -- like a fine wine. But still frisky -- like whiskey.

Happy Anniversary, Honey.

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