Exactly one month ago tomorrow, CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired a lengthy report on last year’s Benghazi attack, which got conservative conspiracy theorists very excited, but which was soon after proven wrong. The network was forced to apologize for the discredited segment, which “60 Minutes” had no choice but to retract.
The apology, however, did not explain how and why the news program failed so spectacularly , and the network asked the “60 Minutes” executive producer to investigate his own show. Today, the story advanced a little further.
Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and executive producer of “60 Minutes,” informed staff Tuesday that Lara Logan and her producer, Max McClellan, would be taking a leave of absence following an internal report on the news magazine’s discredited Oct. 27 Benghazi report. […]In his memo to staff, Fager wrote that he asked Logan and McClellan, the producer, to take a leave of absence, which they agreed to do.“When faced with a such an error, we must use it as an opportunity to make our broadcast even stronger,” Fager wrote. “We are making adjustments at 60 Minutes to reduce the chances of it happening again.”
Perhaps, though “60 Minutes” said the same thing after its faulty 2004 story on George W. Bush’s military record, which was the subject of a far more expansive investigation.
Reading through Fager’s memo, first obtained by the Huffington Post, a series of preventable mistakes were identified: CBS should have been more careful with their dubious witness; the show should have corroborated suspect claims; “60 Minutes” should have asked more questions when they realized their star witness claimed he lied to his employer; the producers got sloppy on attributions, etc.
And while I’m glad this is being treated as a fairly serious lapse, and the “how” questions are being addressed, I’m still a little fuzzy on the “why.” Did “60 Minutes” and/or those directly involved with this segment have a political agenda in mind when telling the story? Will CBS continue its efforts to find out?
It still seems like there’s more to be learned about the controversy.