Logan got more than the DaviesMorgan story wrong

Logan got more than the DaviesMorgan story wrong

by digby

Did Lara Logan have an agenda? Readers of this blog know that I think she does.  (I also believe she is a mediocre journalist with an excessively dramatic worldview that makes her reporting very suspect.) The following comments alone, made just a month after the Benghazi attack, leave little doubt in my mind about where she's coming from:

And now McClatchey has helpfully dug into the rest of the 60 Minutes Benghazi story (aside from their hilariously unbelievable source) and have found a whole lot of misleading information:
Logan’s mea culpa said nothing about other weaknesses in the report that a line-by-line review of the broadcast’s transcript shows. McClatchy obtained the transcript from LexisNexis, a legal research service.

The report repeatedly referred to al Qaida as solely responsible for the attack on the compound, and made no mention of Ansar al Shariah, the Islamic extremist group that controls and provides much of the security in restive Benghazi and that has long been suspected in the attack. While the two organizations have worked together in Libya, experts said they have different aims – al Qaida has global objectives while Ansar al Shariah is focused on turning Libya into an Islamic state.

It is an important distinction, experts on those groups said. Additionally, al Qaida’s role, if any, in the attack has not been determined, and Logan’s narration offered no source for her repeated assertion that it had been...

Logan claimed that “it’s now well established that the Americans were attacked by al Qaida in a well-planned assault.” But al Qaida has never claimed responsibility for the attack, and the FBI, which is leading the U.S. investigation, has never named al Qaida as the sole perpetrator. Rather it is believed a number of groups were part of the assault, including members and supporters of al Qaida and Ansar al Shariah as well as attackers angered by a video made by an American that insulted Prophet Muhammad. The video spurred angry protests outside Cairo hours beforehand.
That clip above shows that she "knew" it was al-Qaeda just a month after the attacks. And it appears that she never questioned her assumption.
Another questionable assertion in the “60 Minutes” report was Logan’s unsourced reference to the Benghazi Medical Center as “under the control of al Qaida terrorists,” an assertion that McClatchy correspondents on the ground at the time and subsequent reporting in Benghazi indicates is untrue.

Around midnight, after the attack on the diplomatic compound, looters who descended on the site discovered Stevens in a safe room and took him to the medical center, where a doctor tried to revive him for 45 minutes before pronouncing him dead.

In the “60 Minutes” report, Davies, the discredited security contractor, claimed to have snuck into the hospital, where he saw Stevens, even though the hospital was “under the control of al Qaida terrorists.”

On the night of the attack, the medical center, whose compound includes several building in addition to the relatively modern, multi-story hospital itself, was being guarded by Ansar al Shariah. Libyans residents McClatchy spoke to said the group’s guards never stopped patients from entering but were there primarily to protect the nurses and doctors inside.

The Libyan Herald, an English language news outlet, reported just three days before the diplomatic compound was attacked that the Libyan health minister and the French Ambassador to Libya, Antoine Sivan, had visited the facility to break ground on an expansion. Had the hospital been under al Qaida control, it is unlikely doctors could have spent nearly an hour trying save Stevens’ life or that the health minister of the government it seeks to undo would have been allowed to enter the hospital.
Read more here. It goes on. And on.

I don't think there's much doubt that Logan has very strong beliefs about the al-Qaeda threat and believes she's doing something important. But being an advocacy journalist, as she obviously is, (although undeclared and misrepresented as "objective" by 60 Minutes) does not relieve you of an obligation to get the facts straight and tell the whole truth. This piece clearly failed to do that on almost every level.