Accuracy in Media, the right-wing media-watchdog group, has had a bad month.
First, it was forced to mount a desperate defense of the House Select Committee on Benghazi following Rep. Kevin McCarthy's statement that the committee was designed to hurt Hillary Clinton's presidential prospects. While that appeared obvious to most political observers, AIM editor Roger Aronoff tried to deny it anyway.
Why? Because it runs its own little group called the "Citizens' Commission on Benghazi," which Aronoff implies inspired the creation of the House Select Committee. AIM's Benghazi group is an even more obvious effort to attack the Obama administration and Clinton over the Benghazi attacks, stuffed as it is with far-right Obama-haters and birthers like Paul Vallely and Clare Lopez -- indeed, it looks more like a kangaroo court than any sort of legitimate investigating body.
Another member of the AIM commission is Wayne Simmons, a self-proclaimed terrorism expert and a conspiracy theorist who insists that the White House gave a "stand down" order during the Benghazi attack.
But last week Simmons was charged with fraud, with federal prosecutors stating that Simmon's purported 27-year career as a CIA operative didn't actually happen.
But instead of voicing a defense like it did with the Benghazi committee, Simmons is the last thing AIM wants to talk about.
AIM has not mentioned Simmons on the front page of its website, and his name has gone unmentioned on the Twitter feeds of both AIM and its chairman, Don Irvine (though Irvine has opined about sports and the new espiode of The Walking Dead).
The only mention at all of Simmons' woes on AIM is buried on the section of its website that houses all of its "Citizens' Commission on Benghazi" information, with a statement oddly placed in the website's header and not on its own page:
We were stunned and saddened to hear the news about Wayne Simmons. He has been a colleague of ours on the Citizens' Commission on Benghazi since we were established in 2013. We have removed Wayne's name from the list of members on the website of the CCB, pending the outcome of the legal proceedings. As with everyone charged with a crime or crimes in this country, he is innocent until proven guilty. We wish him the best.
But removing Simmons' name from the CCB is not all AIM has done. Media Matters documented how AIM has been systematically scrubbing its website of any page that prominently features Simmons, particularly if they reference his relationship to the CCB.
To demonstrate how much Simmons has suddenly become persona non grata at aim: The only way anyone was aware of AIM's buried statement on Simmons was a Friday-info-dump-style Twitter message saying only "Statement on the Citizens' Commission on Benghazi."
It seems the collapse of Simmons' charade is a microcosm of the collapse of the right wing's Benghazi narrative. If AIM is desperate to deny the obvious partisan nature of the House Select Committee, it's certainly not going to admit the partisanship and credibility issues of its own "Citizens' Commission on Benghazi" and how Simmons' longtime presence on it further harms that credibility, even more than all the Obama-haters and birthers residing on it.