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Ear to the Ground

‘60 Minutes’ Reporter, Producer on Indefinite Leave After Benghazi Bungle

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Posted on Nov 26, 2013
CBS News

After issuing a retraction and an apology, CBS News is hoping a little disciplinary action will help put its credibility back on track.

An internal review of a Benghazi story that aired on the Tiffany Network found, more or less, that the news operation blew it. The story was full of holes, the key source had major vetting issues, the network had a conflict of interest (the source’s book was published by a CBS-owned imprint and the face of the segment, Laura Logan (pictured), had previously stated a position on the Benghazi controversy. That last point seems like less of a big deal than the others, but we’ll leave it to CBS to handle its own affairs.

The original, since-retracted report, for those who missed it, essentially claimed that the administration had been repeatedly warned that security for the consulate in Benghazi, Libya was inadequate. It relied primarily on a pseudonymous source, who claimed to have been quite the hero.

After releasing its internal review, CBS reportedly asked Logan and her producer to go on indefinite leave, and they have.

Los Angeles Times:

“60 Minutes” “fell short by broadcasting a now discredited account of an important story, and did not take full advantage of the reporting abilities of CBS News that might have prevented it from happening,” Jeff Fager, who serves as both chairman of CBS News and executive producer of “60 Minutes,” wrote in a statement.

Fager added: “I pride myself in catching almost everything, but this deception got through and it shouldn’t have.” Fager said that Logan and her producer, Max McClellan, had agreed to his request that they take leaves of absence; their return dates were left unspecified. A CBS spokesman declined to elaborate beyond Fager’s statement.

The turn of events amounts to the biggest black eye for CBS News since 2004, when the network and its then-anchor Dan Rather broadcast documents that purported to raise questions about President George W. Bush’s military service. That report aired just weeks before the presidential election, touching off a political firestorm. An outside review later found that CBS had failed to authenticate those documents. Rather subsequently left the network and filed a suit claiming breach of contract; the case was ultimately dismissed.

Read more

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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