Those who love to wallow in schadenfreude when Mean Girls get their comeuppance (we name no names) surely are amused by the karmic predicament of “60 Minutes” breathy
star diva correspondent Lara Logan.
The Lois Lane of CBS’s iconic news magazine, Logan no doubt has suffered a sudden and sharp decline in her Q Score, amid a network apology tour in which she’s skinned back on an erstwhile blockbuster story concerning the 2012 terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Logan and her CBS cohort foisted said story on viewers and Everyone Who Matters in Washington as a global exclusive that all but shouted j’accuse! at the White House and State Department for bungling the military response to the attack and then covering up its own ineptitude, for crassly partisan reasons.
Alas, the piece turned out to have been exclusive for a very good reason: it wasn’t true.
Logan’s smear job: Those who’ve been drunk or passed out for the last week may find remedial reading in the day-by-day reporting ably done by Michael Calderone and the lefty Media Matters (or just watch Colbert’s re-enactment); we are gathered together here today simply to praise and witness the mighty power of divine retribution in clobbering Logan for her past bad behavior, when for no good reason she very publicly personally attacked and professionally smeared the since-deceased freelance investigative reporter Michael Hastings*.
In June 2010, Hastings’s Rolling Stone piece “The Runaway General,” caused a major kerfuffle in Washington when it exposed the top military commander in Afghanistan and his brain trust, under the influence of 13 or 14 alcoholic beverages, bad-mouthing U.S. policy in the region and trash-talking top Administration officials responsible for it. Whereupon Logan and fellow media scumbag Howard Kurtz (who’s since been canned both by CNN and Daily Beast, his former employers) took it upon themselves to portray Hastings as a liar, challenging his otherwise undisputed reporting – without a shred of evidence:
(Kurtz’s) show began with a long distance interview with Hastings, who was then still in Afghanistan, in which Kurtz tried to channel Mike Wallace, asking the writer a series of confrontational questions, and consistently interrupting when Hastings tried to answer.
He followed with a segment featuring Lara Logan, chief foreign correspondent for CBS News, whom he noticeably did not interrupt, instead letting her spout off freely and proceed to basically call Hastings a two-faced liar and challenge his otherwise undisputed reporting:
“Michael Hastings, if you believe him, says that there no ground rules laid out. And, I mean, that just doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me….I mean, I know these people. They never let their guard down like that. To me, something doesn’t add up here. I just – I just don’t believe it.“
Well, all righty then. If Lara Logan doesn’t believe it, notwithstanding that she has no, you know, facts to sustain her very strong feelings, hell that’s good enough for us.
And another thing (or three): Logan’s 90-second “apology,” shoe horned at the end of Sunday night’s “60 Minutes” broadcast, was nearly as misleading as the original report, making it seem that the show simply erred by making room for a couple of quotes from Dylan Davies — aka Morgan Jones — a shady security contractor and apparent pathological liar: “We realized we had been misled,” by Davies, Logan said, “and it was a mistake to include him in our report.”
“It was a mistake”? A mistake? Really?
No. A mistake is when you misidentify John Johnson as “Jon Jonson,” say, or confuse Central Standard Time with PST in an NBA tipoff box, or perhaps misstate the atomic weight of cobalt (58.933195 ± 0.000005 u, for those keeping at score at home).
Claiming that inclusion of Davies in the story was “a mistake” is a canard; the whole story was a mistake because Davies and his wild, untrue tale in essence was the whole story.
It’s also interesting that CBS’s rush job effort to put this behind them, (as every football player ever charged with a felony has been wont to say) stands in sharp contrast to how the network handled serious reporting flaws in Dan Rather’s “60 Minutes” report on George Bush’s national guard record in 2004. That journalistic flap resulted in an independent commission investigation, convened with trumpets and flourishes, that got four producers fired and effectively cost Rather his job. (And that story was almost certainly true, even if the documentary evidence CBS relied on was fake.)
This time out, CBS has made no apparent effort to uncover fully what went wrong with Logan’s smelly dead rat of a story. Three possible reasons:
2-Simon and Schuster, a subsidiary of CBS, published a memoir by Davies, under its Threshold Editions imprint, two days after the “60 Minutes” report; the book was quickly recalled by S&S once the Logan mess began oozing across the media sphere.
3-Logan’s husband, who wooed and won her in in the Iraq war zone under circumstances that make us blush, has worked as a U.S.-paid security contractor and propagandist in the Mideast; did he know or vouch for Davies to Logan? Surely a rock CBS isn’t eager to kick over.
Update: McClatchy D.C. bureau does a line-by-line deconstruction of the Logan report and finds many more problems than previously disclosed.
*Michael Hastings died in a horrible car crash in L.A. early on the morning of June 18. Given the nature of the crash and what he was working on at the time, a number of conspiracy theories have surfaced about his death. These are addressed and, for our money, put to rest by Benjamin Wallace, whose byline appears on “Who Killed Michael Hastings?” in New York magazine this week.