Americans are giving the White House low marks for how it's handled the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the resignation of former CIA Director David Petraeus, according to a new national survey.
But according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday, a majority of the public doesn't believe the Obama administration intentionally tried to mislead Americans on the September attack that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead.
On Libya, 54% of the country is dissatisfied with the administration's response to the Benghazi attack, with only four in ten saying they're satisfied with the way the White House handled the matter.
"But that dissatisfaction is not because Americans see a cover-up," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Only 40% believe that the inaccurate statements that administration officials initially made about the Benghazi attack were an attempt to deliberately mislead the public. Fifty-four percent think those inaccurate statements reflected what the White House believed to be true at the time."
KURTZ: And how much did that courtship and those relationships and the e-mails exchange with journalists, and all of that, has that contributed to more sympathetic coverage given his problem with the affair with Paula Broadwell and the resignation at CIA, that he might have gotten otherwise?
RICKS: No, I don't think so. Actually, I think the media has been in full shark bite frenzy without regard, really. If anything, I find the real scandal here -- or one of the scandals here is how much the media has turned on Petraeus.
Here's a guy who has four combat tours in recent years. That's more combat time than any American general had in World War II, who has a smashed pelvis from a parachuting accident, who has a bullet wound through the chest from a training accident. He and his family, and I include his wife Holly Petraeus in that, have given enormously in the last ten years.
Yet when this scandal broke, we as a country were not as generous with him as his family had been with the country
I find this observation condescending and insulting. Why is it the media's fault for covering a story that includes the head of the CIA resigning over a sex scandal with a woman who he was supposed to be mentoring---who in turn sent nasty emails to another women out of jealousy she suspected was flirting with Petraeus while he's married to someone else? And---he resigned over it! Why is this outrageous to Ricks? He's been covering the military and these two wars a long time. I do agree with him on certain points like the FBI breaching privacy, but please, drop the phony sanctimony.
KURTZ: You seem to be suggesting that journalists are biting the hand that fed them, they were perfectly happy to have good relations with General Petraeus when he was on top. Suddenly, this scandal happens, fall from grace, huge tabloid style scandal, and you say the press has turned against him. Because I've seen a lot of -- particularly people like who know the guy, it seems to me the tune is more sympathetic, a tragic -- a tragedy for his family as opposed to the junk yard (INAUDIBLE).
RICKS: It's a matter that should have remained private, first of all. It's not a criminal act. There's no allegation that he's committed a crime here, as far as I know. You know, it could always change, more information could come out.