The Corner

The Benghazi Crisis: A Practical Solution

The crisis stemming from the Obama administration’s handling of the terror attack in Benghazi is getting out of hand. This isn’t just a political challenge for the president, although it certainly is that. The Benghazi affair is becoming a serious problem for this country as well. Each day the controversy drags on sends a message to potential terrorists that the Obama administration is not only disinclined to fight, but afraid even to acknowledge the continued threat that terrorists pose. That can’t help but embolden our enemies. What’s needed is a simple, practical plan that will quickly shore up America’s damaged credibility in the world. The answer, I think, is clear. President Obama needs to issue an immediate executive order disbanding Fox News.

Fox may not be the only news outlet reporting on the Benghazi controversy, yet it is clearly driving the story. Critics of the administration’s handling of the Benghazi affair have relied to a significant degree on information unearthed by Fox News. And while mainstream media outlets have largely avoided the Benghazi story, to the extent that they cover it, they do so under pressure from Fox’s reporting. So it is very likely that an executive order disbanding Fox News would substantially undercut public attention to the Benghazi story, thus restoring President Obama’s prestige in the world.

No doubt some folks will squawk here about the First Amendment, but have you ever actually read it? The First Amendment clearly states, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….” There’s nothing in there about an executive order. Legal sticklers might point out that an order to disband Fox News goes well beyond the traditional purview of the president’s executive powers. That may be true, but so do Obama’s orders gutting the work requirement of the Welfare Reform Act and setting up de facto amnesty for those who were brought to this country illegally as children. Executive orders that run well beyond the traditional powers of the presidency are obviously going to play a central role in a second Obama term, should he win one. So why wait?

History suggests that President Obama understands the dangers posed by Fox News and is capable of acting on that knowledge. In 2009, Obama boldly launched the first War on Fox News. Stung by stories about his notorious allies at ACORN and radical green-jobs czar Van Jones, Obama’s bold attempt to de-legitimate Fox was designed to prevent the rest of the media from picking up on potentially damaging stories initiated by the network. Every day now, the Benghazi controversy vindicates Obama’s original decision to go to war with Fox News in 2009. It’s time to finish the job.

Of course, Obama lost the first Fox War due to unexpected interventions by mainstream media outlets. At the time, the mainstream press believed that protecting Fox News would also secure the larger principle of freedom of the press. Yet there’s reason to believe that this time things would be different. Every time Fox News digs up damning new information about the president’s handling of the Benghazi attacks, mainstream outlets look bad for ignoring it. And back in 2009, the mainstream press had little reason to fear that helping Fox News would seriously endanger Obama’s reelection prospects. Now they know better. So a second declaration of War on Fox News, followed immediately by an executive order disbanding the network, is likely to succeed. The risk of getting bogged down in an endless media war in the Midwest is marginal at best.

So I call on President Obama to act, in a manner fully consistent with his past policies and his style of exercising power, to end this national crisis.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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