’60 Minutes’ Apologizes For Benghazi Error, But Does Not Explain It

60 Minutes
Image Courtesy of CBS News

Remarks by Lara Logan admit mistake was made, but offer little additional information

CBS News aired a short “correction” at the tail end of its Sunday-night broadcast of “60 Minutes” in the hopes the remarks would  end a bout of intense scrutiny put on the newsmagazine since it aired a false account from a security officer who made claims about his involvement in  last year’s attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

In brief remarks delivered at the end of the program, correspondent Lara Logan, who was the on-air anchor for the controversial segment that aired Oct. 27, said “60 Minutes” came to realize it “has been misled, and that it was a mistake to include him in our report” after a discovery that Dylan Davies, the security operative,  had given a different account of his time in Benghazi to the F.B.I. She made little mention of reporting from The Washington Post and The New York Times that brought that information to light.

“The most important thing to every person at ’60 Minutes’ is the truth,” said Logan, “and the truth is, we made a mistake.”

During her remarks, which lasted approximately 90 seconds and aired just before the show wrapped at about 8:45 p.m. Eastern time, Logan made no mention of any ramifications for those people involved in the report, including herself and the segment’s producer, Max McLellan, whose name appeared in graphics that accompanied her appearance.

She also did not mention whether CBS News would review the reporting that went into the segment or whether the CBS unit determined any incorrect procedures stemming from the fact that Davies’ account was also published in a book released by Simon & Schuster, another part of CBS Corp., which was not disclosed by “60 Minutes.”

Some people posting reactions on Twitter Sunday night thought Logan’s comments did not go far enough:

If CBS News is reviewing the incident further, it is not talking about it in public. In remarks made to Variety Friday afternoon, CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, also executive producer of the venerable news show, said CBS News would “own” making a mistake, but declined to discuss any potential repercussions for staffers or changes that might be made to policy as a result of the error.

The error marks a rare misstep for the hard-hitting newsmagazine, which has long burnished an image of taking on difficult investigations and setting a high bar for checking facts.

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  1. Truth seeker says:

    Remember the “checkbook” journalism of Elizabeth Vargas? – she’s STILL at ABC

    Also, way back in 2004, a number of news outlets (including NPR and ABC News) failed to investigate and correct the very misleading and false accounts relating to the (deliberately?) “botched” 2004 Siemens science competition. To this day, over 1200 fellow competitors never learned the truth about what really happened that year. Rather than face major embarrassment from having to admit the truth, all those involved decided to protect their own reputations and those of Siemens and the College Board by engaging in a coordinated cover up of what happened (it was a lot easier to do in this case and at that time). So much for truth in reporting!!

    There have been many other cases of journalist sweeping mistakes under the rug, rather than having to admit them. It just depends on how much they fear getting caught and how much they think people might care. In the case of an otherwise forgettable high school competition, they figured “Who cares if we got it right or wrong – its a stupid high school competition”. These days it’s harder to keep things a secret, but it’s also true that people have much shorter attention spans and a scandal today is forgotten tomorrow (at least that’s what journalists still count on).

  2. lipreader says:

    You da Clown, man. You da Clown!

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