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Opinion

From 'Fast and Furious' to Benghazi, conservative media at CPAC demand accountability

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Charlie Spiering,Fast and Furious,Benghazi,Media,Conservatism,CPAC

Conservative journalists on Friday highlighted the multiple scandals of the Obama administration during a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference and explained why they brought more light and more heat to stories dismissed by the mainstream media.

The panel included Townhall's Katie Pavlich and Guy Benson, Hot Air's Ed Morrissey and Mary Katharine Ham, and RedState's Erick Erickson. (The three websites are owned by Salem Media, a conference sponsor.)

Each of the speakers focused on a particular scandal in the Obama administration that deserved more coverage and accountability.

Morrissey spoke at length about the Obama administration's response to the terrorist attack in Benghazi.

"We still do not have the answers. We still have not held one person accountable for what happened in Benghazi," he noted.

Referring to Hillary Clinton's "What difference does it make?" comment, Morrissey admitted that while it is important to stop bad events from happening again, it is just as important to hold people accountable.

"I'm not confident that this administration has emerged from its fantasy world," he said. "I'm not confident that the same person in charge of security back then, and the same people in charge of security back then in the State Department, aren't going to make the same decisions in some other hotspots."

The panelists pointed out that few of the people responsible for these scandals were held accountable or fired.

Ham talked about covering the implementation of Maryland's Obamacare exchange. After attending some of the website implementation meetings, she quickly realized that it was going to be a disaster.

The mainstream media, she explained, should have been the first to ask the tough questions about the website's technology before it failed, causing problems for people trying to shop for insurance.

More importantly, she noted, it was important to hold government employees responsible for failing.

"How am I assured that this is not going to happen the exact same way another time if you are not holding anybody accountable — if no one is paying the price?" Ham asked.

Erickson criticized the mainstream media for failing to report the facts in the IRS scandal, pointing out that media members unfairly assumed that both conservatives and liberal groups were targeted.

He argued that many reporters didn't even understand the difference between 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) groups.

"The heart of the IRS story is that the media never even bothered to open Wikipedia," Erickson said. "They couldn't make the distinction; they didn't want to make the distinction."

Pavlich pointed out the importance of the media pressuring politicians for results.

She spoke about the "Fast and Furious" Justice Department scandal, pointing out that the scandal deserved far more heat than it received in the early stages of the investigation.

"The problem is, when you don't have a media reporting on that and asking the questions about why nobody has been fired, people don't get fired," Pavlich said.

Benson pointed out that the media focused on less-important scandals, like Gov. Chris Christie's "Bridgegate" scandal in New Jersey, which he argued was over-covered.

"That is just a level of endemic corruption in the media that our job is to fight," Benson said.

Pavlich agreed that some scandals were obviously more important than others.

"What's more important? The body bags or a lane closure?" Pavlich said, referring to the four Americans killed in Libya.

The bridge closure story, Erickson noted, was one more example of media bias.

"They mentioned them as quickly as they could and passed on. They give a five-minute segment to 'Fast and Furious,' and they give five days to a bridge closure in New Jersey, and they call it fair and balanced," he said.

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