Benghazi Research Center, a project of Correct The Record.
With a mounting media circus around the Benghazi Select Committee, the scheduled testimony of former Secretary of State and candidate for President Hillary Clinton took full spotlight as the date approached. As a member of Correct The Record, the primary SuperPAC pledged to research and rapid response in defense of Clinton, I designed the 142-page book, “The Complete Guide to the Benghazi Select Committee,” to pre-but the hearing by debunking false attacks on Clinton.
The book ensured that key members of the media and public were armed with the facts about every component of the Benghazi investigation ahead of their coverage and pushed the narrative back onto the Committee itself and its political nature.
The book received extensive earned media coverage, shifting the narrative of the 11-hour testimony to the content of Correct The Record’s guide and, consequentially, the facts about the politically fueled investigation.
In addition to 85 national reporters and producers who received hard copies, the book was shared digitally with national press, surrogates, and reporters in the home states of the Committee’s Republican members: Alabama, Indiana, Georgia, Ohio, Kansas, Illinois, and South Carolina, resulting in local home state coverage in over half the member’s states, not to mention the national attention. Copies of the guide were hand delivered to the Republican members of the Committee in advance of the testimony.
The widespread media attention on the book helped shift the coverage of the 11 hours of testimony from the Committee’s false attacks to its shear dysfunction and overwhelmingly partisan nature. The effort ensured key members of the media, and the public, had access to all of the facts about the investigation and the truth about the individuals attacking Clinton’s handling of a tragedy and her emails.
The morning of Clinton’s testimony, MSNBC’s Morning Joe roundtable, which included James Carville, Chuck Todd, Nicole Wallace, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist, passed “The Complete Guide” around the table in a discussion about the impending testimony. James Carville praised the book as “a tremendous thing” and Nicole Wallace said, “it is an unbelievable document.”
The day before Secretary Clinton’s testimony, CNN Senior Political Correspondent Brianna Keilar revealed the book during CNN’s 6:00 AM news hour. On the program, she explained that CTR, “the main Super PAC defending Hillary Clinton,” published the book, which “takes aim at the committee on everything from the millions of dollars the efforts have cost and also even digs up dirt on the individual members.” Alisyn Camerota, the other host, exclaimed “we look forward to hearing more what’s in that 140-page book that you got your hands on this morning.” The book was then featured and discussed on CNN’s 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, and 9:00 AM hours. Throughout the day, the book was highlighted on 25 local TV outlets all across the country including stations in Iowa, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Washington. The book was also discussed in Politico’s Playbook, The Hill and other publications.