Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lara Logan and the Bogus Benghazi Report

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Media Matters for America, 11-03-13
On October 27, CBS' 60 Minutes featured "Morgan Jones," -- The Washington Post later revealed his real name, Dylan Davies -- a supposed "eyewitness" of the September 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities, who claimed that during the attack he scaled a wall of the compound, personally struck a terrorist in the face with his rifle butt, and later went to the Benghazi hospital to see Ambassador Chris Stevens' body.
The story he told CBS wildly diverged from the account he gave his superiors in an incident report that was obtained by The Washington Post.

New York Times
Ms. Logan said that Dylan Davies, one of the main sources for a two-week-old piece about the attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, had misled the program’s staff when he gave an account of rushing to the compound the night the attack took place. “It was a mistake to include him in our report. For that, we are very sorry,” Ms. Logan said.
The apology lasted only 90 seconds and revealed nothing new about why CBS had trusted Mr. Davies, who appeared on the program under the pseudonym Morgan Jones. Off-camera, CBS executives were left to wonder how viewers would react to the exceptionally rare correction.

From Lara Logan, 60 Minutes Reporter in charge of Fake Benghazi Story
LOGAN: We end our broadcast tonight with a correction on a story we reported October 27 about the attack on the American special mission compound in Benghazi, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed. In the story, a security officer working for the State Department, Dylan Davies, told us he went to the compound during the attack and detailed his role that night.
After our report aired, questions arose about whether his account was true, when an incident report surfaced. It told a different story about what he did the night of the attack. Davies denied having anything to do with that incident report and insisted the story he told us was not only accurate, it was the same story told the FBI when they interviewed him.
On Thursday night, when we discovered the account he gave the FBI was different than what he told us, we realized we had been misled, and it was a mistake to include him in our report. For that, we are very sorry. The most important thing to every person at 60 Minutes is the truth, and the truth is, we made a mistake.


It took two weeks to have that apology on 60 Minute. The piece aired at the end of October and there were questions raised almost immediately about it. So I think the question is now and the thing that media writers will be writing about this week are, what took so long and what is 60 Minutes doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again?
. . . This wasn’t a story that was breaking news, this was a story that they worked on for a year. And that’s why I think people wonder, did they come in with an agenda?
~ NY Times writer Brian Stelter on CNN via Raw Story

This evening's 60 Minutes response was wholly inadequate and entirely self-serving. The network must come clean by appointing an independent commission to determine exactly how and why it fell prey so easily to an obvious hoax.
~ David Brock, founder of Media Matters for America

(Media Matters) has been right about Benghazi for 13 months now. We have been fact-checking this story to death. And when CBS decided 'we want a piece of that pie, we want a piece of that right-wing narrative,' saying there are lingering questions when there are none . . . when they decided they wanted to key into that buzz machine . . . the next day on Fox News a Senator spent two hours talking about it. How do you know you hit a home run? When a senator's talking about your story. They couldn't resist it. But the story didn't add up.
There were no lingering questions. The conflict of interest should have stopped them. The discrepencies in the narrative should have stopped them. They should have apologized a week ago! This whole thing is a train wreck!
~ Eric Boehlert on MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes

Journalism 101: You have a single source, and you have a self-interested source because he is trying to sell books. And then you have a story that is a political hot potato that can be red meat to certainly one side of the argument. And it seems to me that raises the bar and makes it even more crucial to do your due diligence. And I didn't hear anything in the explanation of 'what we did to vet' that lends credibility to the argument that 'we were fooled.' You shouldn't have been fooled.
Steven Reiner, former 60 Minutes Producer and now Professor of Journalism at Stony Brook

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.
. . . 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.
~ Josh Marshall of Media Matters

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