After Secretary of State and Superwoman Hillary Clinton collapsed due to flu-related dehydration and exhaustion and bonked her head last month, conservative conspiracy theorists descended on Fox News and various right-wing failblogs to explain that she was making up her concussion to avoid having to testify on the attack at the Benghazi embassy on September 11th that resulted in the deaths of four Americans.
At a December 17th State Department daily press briefing, Fox News “reporter” Justin Fishel asked a question of State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland that seemed to imply that he was making this absolutely absurd accusation:
Toria, can you expand on why Secretary Clinton can’t testify on Thursday about this? It seems that she has not been available to testify on the Benghazi situation on some very key dates, including the Sunday after 9/11 and now this Thursday.
The response from the State Department after the fact was nothing short of epic.
Another State Department spokesman, Philippe Reines, sent Fishel this intensely passive aggressive and caustic email:
We owe you an apology. And I’m adding Bryan so he’s aware of how badly we erred. I’m almost embarrassed to even admit this – but somehow your question at today’s Daily Press Briefing was somehow completely mauled and transcribed in the release below this way:
“Toria, can you expand on why Secretary Clinton can’t testify on Thursday about this? It seems that she has not been available to testify on the Benghazi situation on some very key dates, including the Sunday after 9/11 and now this Thursday.”
I just called them and read them the riot act for putting such misleading, accusatory, and absolutely asinine words in your mouth. Because after what we and her doctors explained over the weekend regarding her health, you couldn’t possibly have been insinuating the ulterior motives that question implies. No way. No credible journalist would do that without any basis whatsoever. But even more so, I really went to bat for you with folks here and told them that while I know the media can often be incredibly self-involved, there is no way you, an informed reporter, would equate one’s testifying before the United States Congress – made up of duly elected Senators and Representatives empowered by Article I of our Constitution – with going on tv. I don’t know Chris Wallace all that well, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t place his television show on par with one of the three branches of our government. And therefore, saying that this has happened on multiple ‘key dates’ is simply a blatant lie and grossly misleading to the public.
Anyway, our sincere apologies. If you send us what you really said, I’ll make sure it’s properly reflected.
Obviously, Reines knew damn well that they had the quote right so he was, in fact, calling Fishel “grossly misleading”, “accusatory”, “absolutely asinine”, “not credible”, “ill-informed”, “self-involved”, and a “blatant liar”. He also suggested that Fishel was equating appearing on Sunday morning talk shows with appearing before Congress.
Fishel hasn’t responded to the surgical procedure performed on his backside by the State Department. Perhaps he won’t be able to respond until the hole he speaks from heals up.