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Friday, November 08, 2013

 
"Quote-unquote" journalism

by digby

After the segment on CBS This Morning in which we saw  Lara Logan forced to admit to her egregious Benghazi hoax, here's Norah O'Donnell interviewing Ben Smith from Buzzfeed:
"What about the flip side of twitter, where anyone can be a 'quote unquote' journalist and so many mistakes are made as a result?"
There wasn't even a moment's reflection about the magnitude of Logan's admission or a second's worth of humility about the limits of  journalistic (quote-unquote) integrity.

Be sure to watch the whole segment to get a sense of the disdain in which the vaunted CBS News division holds the upstart internet pretenders on the very day (on the very program!) their flagship news show admits to an epic botch of an extremely important story. I laughed out loud.

Lara Logan gives us a perfect illustration of how the establishment press thinks "real journalism" should be practiced. This is from Kevin Drum:

So here's what we know. Davies never told Logan about the incident report. He never told the co-author of his memoir about the incident report. When the content of the report was revealed, he invented an entirely implausible story about lying to his supervisor in the report because he respected him so highly and didn't want him to know that he'd disobeyed orders not to approach the compound. And yet, in a story that should have set off all sorts of alarms in the first place, this still didn't set off any alarms for Logan. She continued to defend Davies and her reporting until news emerged yesterday that the incident report matched what Davies had told the FBI in a debriefing shortly after the attack.

You see, when someone comes to you with a blockbuster story about government malfeasance in which he depicts himself as a super-hero fighting off terrorists with his bare hands,
the last thing a quote-unquote journalist would do is check with this person's employer to see if he told them the same story at the time. You certainly wouldn't bother to check with the officials investigating the story to see if they have uncovered the same details. After all, she only had months to report it. You can't expect her to do something that unorthodox under those time constraints. Just imagine what the tweeters would have done with this.

Update: Kevin proposes in his piece that Logan has some sort of agenda. Indeed she does:
Lara Logan, a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes,” delivered a provocative speech to about 1,100 influentials from government, politics, media, and the legal and corporate arenas. Such downtown gatherings are a regular on Chicago’s networking circuit. (I am a member of the BGA’s Civic Leadership Committee, and the Chicago Sun-Times was a sponsor).

Her ominous and frightening message was gleaned from years of covering our wars in the Middle East. She arrived in Chicago on the heels of her Sept. 30 report, “The Longest War.” It examined the Afghanistan conflict and exposed the perils that still confront America, 11 years after 9/11.

Eleven years later, “they” still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They’re coming back.

“I chose this subject because, one, I can’t stand, that there is a major lie being propagated . . .” Logan declared in her native South African accent.

The lie is that America’s military might has tamed the Taliban.

“There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years,” Logan said. It is driven in part by “Taliban apologists,” who claim “they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban,” she added sarcastically. “It’s such nonsense!”

Logan stepped way out of the “objective,” journalistic role. The audience was riveted as she told of plowing through reams of documents, and interviewing John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan; Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and a Taliban commander trained by al-Qaida. The Taliban and al-Qaida are teaming up and recruiting new terrorists to do us deadly harm, she reports.

She made a passionate case that our government is downplaying the strength of our enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a rationale of getting us out of the longest war. We have been lulled into believing that the perils are in the past: “You’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight. In your arrogance, you think you write the script.”

Our enemies are writing the story, she suggests, and there’s no happy ending for us.

Logan even called for retribution for the recent terrorist killings of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other officials. The event is a harbinger of our vulnerability, she said. Logan hopes that America will “exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil. That its ambassadors will not be murdered, and that the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.”


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