Lara Logan a “big time” journalist promoted to top-dog seemingly too soon by her CBS executives made a huge mistake October 27th 2013. Logan became the Chief Foreign Correspondent in three years and two years later the top Correspondent of 60 Minutes, here is where she threw the journalistic principle of fact-checking out the window and no media critic, journalist or the nation will let her live it down. This made 60 Minutes lose their credibility because “the truth is they made a mistake” apart of Logan’s short apology no one seemed to be at fault neither of them being accountable proved even more as to why this was not a small mistake that should not be brushed under the rug and punished with a short six month leave.
Although CBS tried to scrub all traces of the 60 Minutes Benghazi report even going as far as petitioning Lexis Nexis to remove the transcript of the report off their database, there are still a few sites that have the transcript up. In the interview Logan asked many questions with answers form Morgan Jones that seemed not plausible. Morgan Jones whose real name is Dylan Davies job was to train the unarmed guards who manned the compound’s gates. He was worried that some of the guys were “no good” and need to leave because they would not fight if the compound was attacked he was right the people of the armed Libyan militia fled . Not long after the initial attack “Morgan Jones scaled the 12-foot high wall of the compound that was still overrun with al Qaeda fighters.” He went on to tell Lara about that happened once he was inside.
“Morgan Jones: One guy saw me. He just shouted. I couldn’t believe that he’d seen me ’cause it was so dark. He started walking towards me.
Lara Logan: And as he was coming closer?
Morgan Jones: As I got closer, I just hit him with the butt of the rifle in the face.
Lara Logan: And?
Morgan Jones: Oh, he went down, yeah.
Lara Logan: He dropped?
Morgan Jones: Yeah, like– like a stone.
Lara Logan: With his face smashed in?
Morgan Jones: Yeah.
Lara Logan: And no one saw you do it?
Morgan Jones: No.
Lara Logan: Or heard it?
Morgan Jones: No, there was too much noise.”
This and many other fabricated stories is what mad up the interview and sent the nation on a frenzy thinking the Obama administration should have been harder on the terrorist threats. This interview alone push forward a narrative that was untrue.
The major failing was from Lara Logan, Producer Max McClellan and CBS for not fact-checking and leaving it all up to one person, Lara. Not to long after the Benghazi report aired did it come into major questioning from Washington Post and New York Times so Al Ortiz, Executive Producer of Standards and Practices did an internal review and found many red flags. Mr. Ortiz findings could have been caught before the report If any background check was done like asking the FBI or using their journalistic sources to fact check the story. It was also discovered that Mr.Davies was promoting his book through this interview, said book was being published by a publishing house that CBS owned. Lara Logan herself when in with a bias which is against journalist code she had said that she felt the US government didn’t take things seriously. Media reacted in various ways many people wanted answers/investigation as to how this information was allowed on air so a “journalist investigation was done A writer for Media Matters Brock goes on record to say that he was “glad to see CBS take this step” because an investigation indicated that “the network acknowledges that a serious journalistic transgression occurred.” He called on the network to ensure that it was “an objective, thorough review and the results should be made public.” The news of the fabricated story took to social media and CBS knew they could not keep quiet for long.
The one minute and twenty-seven second apology for the Benghazi Report aired in November 2013 Lara Logan told audience member that 60 Minutes had been “mislead and it was a mistake to include him (Dylan Davies) in our report. For that we are very sorry. The most important thing to everyone at 60 minutes is the truth and the truth is we made a mistake” this short apology got quite the back lash form media critics all over feeling as if no one was held accountable in the apology. Newsday TV critic Verne Gay tweeted “60 Minutes” apology not required. Answers to these questions are: Why did this happen? How will it never happen again? (Well?)” Even up to a year after the apology aired Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America dedicated a whole article about how CBS still will not come clean about the truth surrounding the report. Where he asks “What is CBS hiding about Lara Logan?” Years after this question has still not been answered and after Logan and McMclellan six month leave they were welcomed back to CBS despite many media critics thinking their punishment was way to short.
One of the first SPJ code of ethics that CBS and Lara Logan broke would have to be SEEK TRUTH and report it. There were many red flags when it came to this report but CBS is should have had a fact checker on this to make sure they were reporting the truth as Eric Boehlert said “the biggest institutional failure was not fact-checking the story, which, of course, is the first and most important rule of journalism. CBS didn’t adequately vet its star source and it didn’t dig deep when obvious flaws should have appeared. i.e. the security guard scaled a 12-foot wall outside the Benghazi complex?” Another code of ethics that they broke was minimize harm, this report hit the Obama administration hard because many believed that he was not tough enough on the terrorist he was scrutinized for “letting this happen” yet most of it was not true. Lastly the code of ethics that was broke would be accountability the one minute and twenty- seven second apology was not enough it seem as if they put most of the blame of Davies instead of owning up to their own mistakes and promising America that I will not happen again.
This report is still often talked about via social media, media critics and media ethics classes. To promote journalist to ALWAYS fact check and be accountable for your work. It teaches journalist that is a story is to good to be true/ sounds fake; it probably is. After all of this Logan still has a job but hopefully will think twice before running any report with an “eye-witness” without checking the facts first.