Lara Logan’s Benghazi Ax

Lara LoganI’ve written a bit about Lara Logan’s dreadful 60 Minutes segment on Benghazi and how it has been shown to be totally wrong. But Digby puts it all in historical context, Lara Logan in her own words 10/2/2012. It seems that just one month after the attack, Logan was ranting about it. Her response to the attack brings back nightmares of 2002. In reference to the government sending FBI agents to investigate, she said, “I hope to God that you are sending in your best clandestine warriors to exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil, its ambassadors will not be murdered and the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.” [My emphasis. -FM]

It would seem that Logan is not exactly objective, especially in reference to this issue. In fact, she sounds very much like John McCain who seems to think every real or imagined attack on the United States should be responded to by attacking Iran. “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran.” There is nothing wrong with having opinions. Everyone has opinions, and I think we get worse reporting with this pretense of objectivity. But the situation is especially bad here. Logan looks like she would be a perfect fit at Fox News. And on this story, it was a perfect storm of bias and laziness. Digby explains:

Needless to say, the fact that she fell for such a clearly ridiculous hoax was due to her biases. She shows in that speech that she had already made up her mind about what happened. And 60 Minutes should have been professionally skeptical of her story because of that. Logan’s agenda blinded her to the fact that she was being played.

This was well on display Friday on CBS This Morning when Logan officially apologized for the report. One of the hosts, Norah O’Donnell, asks, “How did you vet [Dylan Davies, the basis of the whole story]?” It’s actually a really good question coming from a morning fluff show. Even still, Logan must have known it was coming. But her response was terrible. “We verified and confirmed that he was who he said he was—that he was working for the State Department at the time—that he was in Benghazi at the special mission compound the night of the attack… He gave us access to communications he had with the US government officials… We used US government reports and congressional testimony to verify many of the details of his story. And everything checked out!”

This is all just a defensive way of saying that she had a preexisting narrative that Davies fit, so she believed him. But notice the great Dick Cheney trick that is going on here. This was something Cheney did in the lead up to the Iraq War. His staff would leak information to the New York Times, which would print it. Then Cheney would do an interview where he talked about the very same “intelligence.” And to bolster his case, he would say, “It’s not just me; the liberal New York Times just reported the same thing.” In this case, Logan had a narrative based on the Republican show hearings going on at the House of Representatives. Everyone knows about those, most especially the guy who is writing a book that is trying to leverage those hearings for a quick buck. So we have an echo chamber that Logan thought was independent confirmation. Or at least that’s what she said happened.

The truth is that I don’t believe Lara Logan was especially trying to push her conservative narrative. She was just looking for a great old-style 60 Minutes scoop. The truth is that the show is mostly useless anymore. Their other big scoop recently was how disability fraud was killing us. That too was just another Republican talking point whipped up into a story of outrage. Since the show doesn’t seem to care much about journalism anymore, they might as well go for eye candy. And Logan is as close as they get to it.

Update (10 November 2013 3:38 pm)

Jay Rosen wrote an excellent timeline of the CBS response, Will CBS News Apologize for the Reckless Denials Before its Benghazi Story Collapsed? He brings up one especially good point:

CBS was not just wrong, it was wrong about an explosive and highly contentious story in which extra care should have been taken because of the risk that a faulty report will be instantly politicized.

Even worse, for about a week after the segment aired, Lara Logan claimed that the reason people were raising questions was because of the politicized atmosphere. Of course, her report was the reason that the Benghazi story came roaring back.

Update (10 November 2013 7:57 pm)

At the end of 60 Minutes, Lara Logan came on for roughly two minutes with a “correction.” All she mentioned was the questions about Davies. Nothing was said about the conflict of interest between the book publisher and CBS. And nothing was said about CBS’s stonewalling for almost two weeks as more and more questions were raised. She also made it sound like just one person in the report was misleading. Nothing was said about the fact that he was the whole thing or that the other two interviewed for the episode were well know hacks who have been everywhere making the same claims. As little as I think of 60 Minutes, I’m still shocked at just how poorly they handled this “correction.”

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

1 thought on “Lara Logan’s Benghazi Ax

  1. Yeah, she is indeed a babe and has a very un-journalistic soft coo to her voice. Any openings at Fox News? She could almost make it watchable.

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