This story raises precisely the sort of "big issues" the media routinely claim elections should be about. For instance, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last week that the "basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on, without having some real-time information about what's taking place." If real-time video of the attack and communications with Americans on the ground begging for assistance doesn't constitute "real-time information," what does?
This is not to say that Fox News is alone in covering the story. But it is alone in treating it like it's a big deal. During the comparatively less significant Valerie Plame scandal, reporters camped out on the front lawns of Karl Rove and other Bush White House staff. Did Obama confiscate those journalists' sleeping bags?
On Oct. 28, of the five Sunday news shows, only "Fox News Sunday" treated this as a major story. On the other four, the issue came up only when Republicans mentioned it. Tellingly, on NBC's "Meet the Press," host David Gregory shushed a guest when she tried to bring up the subject, saying, "Let's get to Libya a little bit later."
Gregory never did get back to Benghazi. But he saved plenty of time to dive deep into the question of what Indiana U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's comments on abortion and rape mean for the Romney campaign. Typically, Gregory's instincts about the news routinely line up with Democratic talking points, in this case Obama's ridiculous "war on women" rhetoric.
I am willing to believe that journalists like Gregory are sincere in their desire to play it straight. But among those who don't share his instincts, it's hard to distinguish between conspiracy and groupthink. Indeed, it's hard to think why one should even bother trying to make that distinction at all.