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Tea Party Upset Over Local Media Benghazi Omission

Conservative activists protest local media. Photo by Amy Schneider.
Conservative activists protest local media. Photo by Amy Schneider.

A downpour of rain and a lack of media attention did nothing to stop a group of protesters from picketing at 7th and Pearl in downtown Eugene on Saturday, Nov. 16. Members of the Tea Party-related Lane County 9-12 Project and other conservative groups say it’s the lack of local media attention that has led them to protest local media. 

The activists decked out in rain jackets and umbrellas gathered to express their dissatisfaction with the media’s coverage of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. 

“It’s about allowing Benghazi to happen and the lack of response since it happened,” says Glen Stutzman, a member of the 15 protesters who represented the larger group Conservative Call to Action. “It wasn’t until the Petraeus scandal that this started getting traction in the media, but it’s going in the wrong direction.”

Stutzman says that he is looking for more balanced coverage of the issue. Fellow protester Darrell Blaser, a former engineer, says he feels that Obama is blaming an anti-Muslim video when he should come out with the truth. After the events in Benghazi, Blaser says he “wouldn’t mind seeing impeachment proceedings for Obama if he covered it up just for the election.”

Bob Sowden, organizer of the protest, says that since larger media outlets are not reporting the issue, it’s up to local media to respond. He organized two other Saturday morning protests this month, one at The Register-Guard and another at KMTR, and he says they may hold another protest after Thanksgiving, depending on the outcome of the Benghazi hearings. KEZI did a brief story on the R-G protest. An emailed press release sent out the night before the R-G protest said in part, “We are imploring the local news sources in Eugene, Oregon to do the right thing and give a full accounting of the possible criminal disregard for the lives of our military and our ambassador. The facts are available, why are you not reporting them. You are silent on this matter. We will not be silent.” 

Most local media outlets don’t report on international news themselves and run stories from the larger media outlets they are affiliated with. The R-G’s coverage of international issues, such as the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, primarily comes from the Associated Press and The New York Times.

On Nov. 15, Eugene peace activists held a vigil called “In Solidarity with Gaza” at 7th and Pearl in response to the current Isreali-Gaza conflect.