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Monday, November 11, 2013

60 Minutes Useless Apology - Corrective Action Needed

60 Minutes never described the program's corrective action during their apology about the "mistake" they made in their wrong minded reporting on Benghazi.

Right wing extremists were quick to leap to conspiracy theories about the tragic Benghazi attack, where Ambassador Stevens was murdered by a terrorist mob while he was (for reasons unknown) visiting the Libyan consulate.This terrible incident came close to bringing down the credibility of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and put President Obama's re-election in jeopardy.

Rather than check out the facts in the attack, the venerable CBS 60 Minutes broadcast leaped to believe the fabricated story of a man who was eager to sell books. This un-vetted informant turned out to be a liar. But, in a tepid retraction, 60 Minutes called their broadcast a "mistake". Frankly, it was more than a mistake. Their false report was irresponsible journalism.

On Friday, “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan appeared on “CBS This Morning” to ‘fess up to a mistake in the show’s Oct. 27 Benghazi investigation. Their false program relied heavily on an account by a security operator, Dylan Davies, who claimed he witnessed and participated in the hostilities of Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi. As Logan explained on “This Morning,” Davies’s account didn’t hold up; he’d told a different story, it turned out, to his supervisor as well as to the FBI.

Thanks to some good questions from CBS News’s Norah O’Donnell, viewers of “This Morning” found out how “60 Minutes” vetted Davies, how “60 Minutes” didn’t know about a report that Davies had written for his supervisor and why “60 Minutes” went ahead with the Davies account (anyway). The enlightening segment lasted nearly five minutes. But nobody asked Logan why the 60 Minutes reporters believed this false informant, in the first place? Were 60 Minutes reporters delusional in thinking they had the next "Watergate" story? Well, the 60 Minutes "deep throat" choked under scrutiny.

In the future, sensationalist stories must include corroborative evidence. Unfortunately 60 Minutes is slowly becoming a news entertainment program, but the Benghazi "mistake" even puts this programming credibility in japed. 

In the absence of an explanation about how 60 Minutes made such an egregious "mistake" and what corrective action is being taken to prevent future "mistakes", the apology by Lara Logan is useless.

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