Faulty report sparked a journalistic review for Sunday night news show
“60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan and producer Max McClellan are taking a leave of absence from CBS News, following a discredited report on last year’s attacks on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, according to an internal document.
In a memo, CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager said the show “fell short” of CBS News’ standards with the faulty report, adding that there is “a lot to learn from this mistake.”
“We have rebuilt CBS News in a way that has dramatically improved our reporting abilities. Ironically, ’60 Minutes,’ which has been a model for those changes, fell short by broadcasting a now discredited account of an important story, and did not take full advantage of the reporting abilities of CBS News that might have prevented it from happening,” Fager’s memo reads.
Controversy erupted when the “60 Minutes” segment’s primary source, Dylan Davies, was called into question. Davies — a British security officer who was identified by the pseudonym “Morgan Jones” on the show, claimed that he was on the scene of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack and physically fought off a terrorist.
However, an FBI report claimed that he was not there.
Logan subsequently apologized for the error, saying that the show was “misled.”
Fager also accepted some blame in the faulty report, adding that the show is “making adjustments” to hopefully prevent further such mistakes.
“As Executive Producer, I am responsible for what gets on the air. I pride myself in catching almost everything, but this deception got through and it shouldn’t have,” Fager wrote. “When faced with a such an error, we must use it as an opportunity to make our broadcast even stronger. We are making adjustments at ’60 Minutes’ to reduce the chances of it happening again.”
The leaves of absence are in addition to a journalistic review of “60 Minutes,” which has been completed.
A spokesman for CBS said that the review has sparked “ongoing changes” for the show.
“The ’60 Minutes’ journalistic review is concluded, and we are implementing ongoing changes based on its results,” the network spokesman said.