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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

 
McClatchy takes the 60 Minutes "review" to task

by digby

McClatchy, which did an excellent analysis of problems beyond the hoax in Lara Logan's Benghazi story now takes a look at the obvious deficiencies in the "review" that resulted in Logan and her producer being suspended (with pay evidently):
Ortiz’s 10-point summary of his findings skirts some of the main issues still lingering about the segment. He offered no explanation, for example, of how Logan came in contact with Dylan Davies, the main source for the story, or why Logan did not reveal that Davies had written a soon-to-be-published book for another CBS-owned company. The book project since has been canceled.

The review also did not explain Logan’s assertions that al Qaida was behind the attack – that is a widely disputed assertion – or that the hospital where Stevens was treated was controlled by al Qaida, something that was inaccurate. The review concluded only that Logan had not attributed those assertions properly.
[...]
Ortiz did not address whether Davies was put in touch with “60 Minutes” by the would-be publisher of his book, Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which is owned by CBS. “‘60 Minutes’ erred in not disclosing that connection in the segment,” Ortiz concluded.

The review also refers to other questions raised by McClatchy. The 15-minute segment repeatedly referred to the attack as an al Qaida operation, saying that fact was “well known,” and claimed Stevens was treated at a hospital controlled by al Qaida.

But who took part in storming the compound is disputed, and there is no known information that the attack was led by al Qaida. Instead, the attackers consisted of members of several jihadist groups, including Ansar al Shariah, a Libyan militia that was responsible for security in much of Benghazi. Several Libyans told McClatchy the hospital was guarded by Ansar al Shariah, not al Qaida.

The journalistic review did not question the accuracy of Logan’s assertions about al Qaida but said they were inadequately attributed in the segment.
[...]
The review also backed the report’s assertion that Stevens’ schedule for Sept. 12, 2012, had been found in the compound more than a year after the attack. But it skirts the fact that the only person CBS dispatched to Benghazi during what “60 Minutes” called a “year-long investigation” was a security contractor who, in his words, “works in journalism.”

“Video taken by the producer-cameraman whom the ‘60 Minutes’ team sent to the Benghazi compound last month clearly shows that the pictures of the Technical Operations Center were authentic, including the picture of the schedule in the debris,” the memo said.

But the contractor did not describe himself as a producer-cameraman in a conversation with McClatchy, in which he recounted hiring two Libyans to accompany him on Oct. 4-7 for the story. The contractor, who contacted McClatchy, refused to give his real name or name the company for which he works, but he provided photos from his visit.

On Tuesday, McClatchy found the memo shown in the “60 Minutes” report, lying on top of debris in the compound’s technical operations center.

The memo, however, undercuts Logan’s assertion that the Benghazi Medical Center was under al Qaida control at the time of the attack. The schedule shows that Stevens was scheduled to visit the medical center at 11 a.m. – an unlikely destination if the hospital had been controlled by al Qaida.
I don't even know what to say about the fact that this contractor-journalist just happened to find Ambassador Stevens' schedule lying atop the rubble a year after the event, but it is more than a little bit curious.

Up until now, I haven't written about Logan's contractor husband because I'm just not comfortable attributing any problems with her journalism to what he does. But this does make me curious now because it turns out we're dealing with two contractors in the middle of this bogus story, one who's been completely discredited and one who's some kind of mercenary reporter. And Logan's also married to one (although there's some dispute as to just how much of a real spook sort he really was.) When you combine tall hat with Logan's lugubrious characterization in her piece of the contractor con man as someone "who's been keeping our diplomats safe from harm for years" you start to think there really could be a connection. I have no real evidence of it obviously, but it's pretty clear that the world of contractors in general may have been a factor in this hoax.

In any case, you just have to laugh at this:
When Logan and Burkett began their affair in Baghdad, he was married and she was in a relationship. They were married in 2008. “I knew him for about six years before we got together,” she told The New York Times in a soft-focus feature in 2012. “He had a very secretive job, and I always respected that. I know tons of people in that world, and I never ask them questions because it’s a violation right there.”

“He never crossed my boundaries,” Logan said of Burkett. “I never crossed his.”
Can you see the problem here? She knows tons of people in "that world" but never asks them questions because it would be a "violation?" Logan is CBS News' Chief Foreign Correspondent. I don't know what she thinks she's "violating" but it's obvious to me that she's violating the terms of her employment. Journalists ask questions. It's the most basic requirement of the job.

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