Why did Reuters, NYT report video caused Libya attack?

The Huffington Post | CNN

Michael Calderone asks why both Reuters and The New York Times published reports saying an anti-Islam video was a cause of a Sept. 11 protest and attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi. The U.S. State Department has since said the video wasn't a cause, and the violence was a terrorist attack.

On Monday, Reuters correspondent Hadeel Al-Shalchi was asked on Twitter about her Sept. 12 report, which included an eye-witness account of the protest. Al-Shalchi responded that she reported what people "told me they saw that day," all of whom she met face to face. Al-Shalchi, who arrived Sunday in Benghazi, tweeted that she's now "doing some reporting" there and asked the reader to give her time.

Al-Shalchi referred this reporter's questions about the Sept. 12 article to Reuters' public relations team. A Reuters spokesperson declined to comment.

A New York Times report said assailants "said in interviews during the battle that they were moved to attack the post by anger over a 14-minute, American-made video that depicted the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as a villainous, homosexual and child-molesting buffoon." The Times' Foreign Editor Joseph Kahn told Calderone, "It may well be true that the attack was planned before the video or simply took advantage of the video. But there is no reason to believe that what participants in the attack told our reporter was false, or that we were wrong to report it."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken responsibility for security failures at the post, CNN reports. Explaining the administration's shifting explanations of the assault, Clinton said, "In the wake of an attack like this, in the fog of war, there's always going to be confusion."

"And I think it is absolutely fair to say that everyone had the same intelligence. Everyone who spoke tried to give the information that they had. As time has gone on, that information has changed. We've gotten more detail, but that's not surprising. That always happens."

Related: State Dept. officials: Libya consulate wasn’t attacked because of video (Poynter) | The 'facts' from Benghazi (Capital)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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