- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Ben-GAH-zee. The second-largest city in Libya.

Without cheating, can you point to Benghazi on a map?

Do you know what country it is in?

This is such a great teachable moment.

It involves civics, geography, history, religion, politics, agriculture, economy, communications/media and, unfortunately, violence.

These are the obvious U.S. school courses that spring from the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on U.S. diplomatic personnel.

Many of us do not where Benghazi is or its history, which is why we should seek out what is not being said in Washington.

On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a public hearing on who knew what and who did what regarding the Benghazi attack, which left the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead, many other U.S. personnel there injured and shaken, and a slew of questions.

The Washington Times remains on the job uncovering as much information as possible regarding the details of the attack, the key players and what did and did not happen in Benghazi will have on U.S. affairs.

That’s why it’s such a teachable moment.

So I asked “My 3 Ladies” the same two questions I asked you.

“Without cheating, can you point to Benghazi on a map?” I texted my first born, Raneka, who replied, “Ummm — NO! Have no clue where it is.”

My youngest daughter, Andrea, texted, “I sure can’t.”

And my goddaughter, Ti, simply replied, “Nope.”

Now, these ladies aren’t school children. All three attended college but they do not read newspapers anymore because they live their daily lives online. They essentially began weaning themselves off TV news once they saw anchors and reporters interviewing each other.

To them, it’s sort of like watching four quarters of a Washington Redskins game and then watching sports anchors and reporters rehash what you were an eyewitness to.

So, because of My 3 Ladies’ responses, I seized the moment.

In dissecting media coverage, I turned to D.C. attorney and former schoolteacher DeLois Steverson Nicholas, flipped the script and asked a pertinent question: “Is it possible to find out if you’re not on the ground there?”

Citing a 24/7 Internet news cycle, she likened attempts at fact-finding to the game where one person whispers something in someone else’s ear and by the time it makes the rounds to the last set of ears that something has turned into hyperbole.

“Because it is sensitive information and we don’t want the perpetrators to know that we are aware of them or have certain information, it’s difficult for Congress and the president to release information and tell the public everything that is going on without showing our hands,” she said.

“We have to be more careful when sifting through information as plausible, because students are exposed to so much information from so many sources, particularly the Internet,” said Ms. Nicholas, who taught special-needs students here and abroad. “This is very difficult when one has not been an eyewitness, and then understanding that most media sources have different agendas.”

My 3 Ladies get the agenda aspect and know precisely where this conservative momma stands on most issues.

In fact, Andrea’s response to my second question, “Do you know what country Benghazi is in?” prompted this column.

Her response? “No ma’am.”

Their assignment came via my next text.

“Google a map, locate Benghazi, answer my questions again and text me in 160 characters or less. Love you!!

Done, done and done.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

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