Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The 60 Minutes Non-Retraction

I also posted this blog over at my IR blog, which exclusively focuses on international relations and related topics.
After 60 Minutes announced they would apologize for their Benghazi story on Sunday, I eagerly anticipated a detailed, informative apology at the start of the show. Unfortunately, my expectations weren't realistic. What I got, after sitting through 56 of 60 minutes, was Lara Logan telling me she made a mistake. It was all over in less than two minutes. Logan had previously said the same thing on the CBS Evening News and CBS This Morning. Her 60 Minutes apology contained no new information for people who have been following the story.
For example, one would think it would be important to point out that Dylan Davies' book is published by Threshold, "a conservative imprint of Simon and Schuster," a subsidiary of, you guessed it, CBS News. And that said book just hit the shelves around the time the 60 Minutes report aired. The Huffington Post gives more detail regarding this point:
Did "60 Minutes" find Davies on its own, or did his book add an irresistible synergistic flavor to the show's Benghazi report? Did it face any internal pressure to help push for Davies' story to get on air?
Speaking on MSNBC last week, New York Times correspondent Bill Carter speculated that "60 Minutes" leapt to embrace the book because it needed a "new angle" for its Benghazi story.
I just don't think Logan's two-minute presentation was enough. It clearly didn't address the connection between 60 Minutes and the Davies' book, nor did it go into detail about how their key witness for their year-long Benghazi investigation was totally outed as a complete liar. This is a guy that started asking Fox News for money when they attempted to interview him. Fox News turned him down after that. On top of all this, it's Benghazi, a now highly politicized scandal, which the Republicans have pounced on as an integral part of their strategy to discredit Hillary Clinton as she moves toward the inevitable--her decision to run for president in 2016.
Benghazi is still a tragedy, even if 60 Minutes had done a full, in-depth retraction. However, I don't want the journalists I occasionally rely on to give me transparent, reliable reporting, to become what they are reporting on.

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