Report: Fox News aired more than 1,000 Benghazi segments in just 20 months

Media Matters claims the right-wing news channel spent "about 13 segments per week" talking about the 2012 attack

Published September 16, 2014 2:42PM (EDT)

Having presumably decided not much else was happening in the news during the 20-month period between the 2012 attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi and May 2 of this year, Fox News aired no less than 1,098 prime-time segments devoted to the #Benghazi pseudo-controversy, liberal media watchdog Media Matters claims in a new report.

According to Media Matters, Fox News' decision to air that many Benghazi segments during such a short and constrained period of time meant that the network was churning out an average of 13 Benghazi bites per week. In 18 of the 20 months Media Matters took a look at, the report claims, there were at least 20 Benghazi segments per month. (As you'd expect, October 2012 was the highest with 174.) Perhaps most tellingly, Media Matters also found Fox had tied Benghazi to Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time of the attack and is widely expected to run for president in 2016.

One piece of particular interest in Media Matters' report is the breakdown of how often each member of Fox News' prime-time lineup had a segment about Benghazi. Close observers of Fox News and connoisseurs of the many talking points and excuses of its master, Roger Ailes, will notice that "Special Report With Bret Baier" host Bret Baier is leading the pack. Here's a graphic, via Media Matters:

Here's why this is notable. Baier is supposed to be one of Fox News' "voice of God," Walter Cronkite-esque old-fashioned news men. He may have opinions, the theory goes, but he keeps them to himself and simply delivers the straight news. Granted, Baier no doubt did many segments about Benghazi during October and November and December of 2012 that one could legitimately classify as news. But to be outpacing O'Reilly by more than 200? Sometimes it feels like Ailes and Rupert Murdoch are no longer even trying.

You can read the whole Media Matters report here. The main takeaway is — yep, you guessed it: #Benghazi.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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