The general reaction to the ’60 Minutes’ Sunday correction/apology for its now-debunked Oct. 27 story about the attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya is that it was nice of CBS to admit its error, but it came too late and wasn’t enough.
Poynter’s “Regret the Error” columnist Craig Silverman told New York Times that the apology “struck a very passive tone and pushed the responsibility onto the source, Dylan Davies … it said nothing about how the show failed to properly vet the story of an admitted liar… There are basic questions left unanswered about how the program checked out what Davies told them, and where this process failed.”
Huffington Post, which had been asking questions about the story for several days and complained openly about CBS’ efforts to stonewall its questions, screamed “THIS ISN’T OVER” at the top of its media vertical. The site listed the issues CBS had yet to address, including the relationship between the show and the CBS-owned publisher of Davies’ book; if anyone at the network would be “punished” for the error; and if the show would be launching an independent investigation into the erroneous report, as it did after 2004’s “Memogate” scandal when the show aired documents critical of then-president George W. Bush’s service in the National Guard that were later found to be fake.
“Sunday’s brief acknowledgment didn’t resemble a news program seriously trying to get to the bottom of how it got duped,” Michael Calderone wrote. “Logan said she was making a ‘correction,’ which downplayed the severity of CBS News retracting a story that took a year to report and had political impact.”
Also read: Fox News Stands By Its Benghazi Reporting
Media Matters, the progressive media watchdog group, called the incident a “fiasco,” with founder David Brock saying the apology was “wholly inadequate and entirely self-serving. The network must come clean by appointing an independent commission to determine exactly how and why it fell prey so easily to an obvious hoax.”
A media blogger for the Washington Post, which was the first media outlet to raise questions about the “60 Minutes” report, thought Logan’s apology was less telling than her appearance on Friday’s “CBS This Morning,” where she was asked to account for how the show vetted Davies and why it missed key details about him, asking “How is it that viewers of ‘CBS This Morning’ get a fuller account of a ’60 Minutes’ mistake than do viewers of ’60 Minutes’?”
And Alicia Stevens, a former NPR ombudsman writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, called the segment a “12-minute infomercial” for Davies’ book, without any indication that its publisher was owned by CBS. Stevens also noted that Logan may have had her own biases when it came to reporting the piece, as in October 2012, she gave an “impassioned” speech about the Benghazi attack.
Stevens did say that Logan’s apology after the fact was “classy,” and “the apology was exactly what a news organization should do. But then, if ’60 Minutes’ had thoroughly reported the story, it wouldn’t have to apologize”