CBS News’ non-apology apology for Benghazi!

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

CBS News correspondent Lara Logan has been accused of having a personal agenda in the past, and with the Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! conspiracy theory in particular. Kevin Drum explains in Reporter Lara Logan brings ominous news from Middle East:

As a journalist, I was queasy. Reporters should tell the story, not be the story. As an American, I was frightened.

Logan even called for retribution for the recent terrorist killings of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other officials. The event is a harbinger of our vulnerability, she said. Logan hopes that America will “exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil. That its ambassadors will not be murdered, and that the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.”

In the “good old days,” reporters did not advocate, crusade or call for revenge.

On 60 Minutes on Sunday, Lara Logan apologized only for having presented an "eye-witness" in her now discredited report who was no eye-witness to Benghazi at all. She did not apologize for her lack of due diligence in vetting this supposed eye-witness, nor did she say a word about her own personal agenda that colored her judgment and led her to rely on this supposed witness because it told a narrative that fit her personal agenda.

It was a non-apology apology: "I was duped by a source." No taking personal responsibility for her own actions by Ms. Logan.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo takes apart the dissembling Lara Logan, Lara Logan's Bogus "Correction":

I just watched the 60 Minutes "correction"/apology tonight and
thought was pretty amazing for its brevity, lack of substance and
general obfuscation. If you didn't watch 60 Minutes tonight, it won't
take long. It only lasted 90s or so. And you can see it here.

In a narrow sense, Lara Logan did say she was "sorry." But the entire 90 seconds was aimed at obfuscating what happened.

Logan said 60 Minutes had found out Thursday that they had been "misled and it was a mistake to include him in our report."

Include him in their report? He was the report. And even in
conceding that her team had been "misled," Logan tiptoed around the real
news, which is that it seems clear that Davies' entire story was
a fabrication. He wasn't there. So none of the stuff he did could
have happened and he cannot have witnessed any of what he claimed to
describe.

If you'd come to this 90 seconds without knowing anything that had
happened over the last couple weeks, you would probably think that one
person interviewed in a 60 Minutes segment may have been misleading in
some of the things he said.

This gets to the core issue. 60 Minutes allowed a complete charlatan
top billing on their show. He wasn't part of a segment. He was the
segment. And the piece made a big, big splash.

Usually, when journalists deal with charlatans, it's a tricky
business because it's usually a matter of proving a negative. You need
to come up with evidence of various sorts that either proves or
undermines their credibility. You seldom get so lucky as to have two
independent pieces of documentary evidence that completely impeach the
source's account (first, his immediate reports to his employers and
second, the later account to the FBI). Neither could have been that difficult for a news organization of CBS News' size and heft to find since the Post and the Times got both within 10 days of the story airing.

The fact that 60 Minutes says this segment was reported for an entire
year and yet failed to uncover this impeaching evidence is astounding
.
But the details are even worse. According to 60 Minutes' account, they
knew that Davies had written an after-action report for his employers
which completely contradicted his account. But apparently he told them
that he lied to his supervisors because he wasn't supposed to go to the
compound.

* * *

At a minimum this was a big red flag. How could 60 Minutes have known there was yet another account to the FBI?

Well, apparently they did know about it but took Davies word for it
when he told them that he told the "truth" to the FBI as he had in his
book, rather than the "lie" he told his employers.

Now, it's conceivable that Davies might have fibbed for whatever
reason to his employers (though his explanation barely passes the laugh
test). But at that point, you would definitely want to verify Davies
account with the FBI. Even if he had told the heroic story to the FBI,
the more immediate account would still give any good journalist serious
pause. But apparently they didn't even check it out with the FBI, even though CBS News has several reporters with great sources
at DOJ and FBI. They just took his word for it – eventually though
they're relying on his book which is contradicted by his own original
report. (One more detail, Davies said he lied to his employers but he
also claimed he didn't actually write the report to them. Again, how
much does it take to warn these people off a liar?)

Logan's critics have raised the fact that she seems to have very strong personal feelings
about the attack and how the White House responded. I don't know if
that played a role or not. There was yet another red flag that Davies
book (the publication of which has now been canceled) was published by
the publisher best known for publishing Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and
Jerome Corsi.

I don't know the players involved enough to know whether this happened
because of bias, indifference, arrogance or wild sloppiness. But you
can't screw up much bigger than this. At a minimum there needs to be
some detailed explanation of how this big a screw could have happened.
And the comparison with the aftermath of the Rather/Bush Air National
Guard debacle (largely deserved in terms of who was held accountable)
speaks volumes.

CBS News needs to do at least as much as it did for the "Memogate" 60 Minutes report involving Dan Rather in 2004. Killian documents controversy – Wikipedia. [A] CBS-appointed panel led by Dick Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi criticized both the initial CBS news segment and CBS' "strident defense" during the aftermath. CBS fired producer Mary Mapes, several senior news executives were asked to resign, and CBS apologized to viewers. The panel concluded that the producers had failed to authenticate the documents and cited "substantial questions regarding the authenticity of the Killian documents."

One response to “CBS News’ non-apology apology for Benghazi!

  1. Frances Perkins

    Dan Rather was fired for less.