Nov 13 2013

A Little Conflict of Interest

As it turns out Dylan Davies’ book The Embassy House which was the basis of the 60 Minutes Benghazi report by Lara Logan is published by Threshold, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which is a division of…

Wait for it.


It has been withdrawn from publication.

Nothing to see here.  Move along.

“60 Minutes” and the Benghazi Scandal Trap

Posted by Amy Davidson, The New Yorker

November 12, 2013

There are really two charges against CBS: that they were duped, and that the segment itself was an example, to borrow Logan’s terms, of misinformation, confusion, and intense partisanship. Journalists make mistakes; sources lie. DeYoung’s story ran in the Post on October 31st, and was followed up with passion elsewhere. (Dave Weigel has written about Media Matters’s role.) CBS lost some sympathy by apparently accepting, for a number of days, Davies’s explanation that the incident report, which was in his voice but didn’t have his signature, was the byproduct of lies he told a supervisor out of his immense respect for the man whose orders he hadn’t followed. Perhaps Logan thought that tracked; her apology-preview appearance on CBS’s “This Morning” only partly clarified the thinking. She was still defending Davies days after DeYoung’s report, telling the Times that the criticism was political. “We worked on this for a year. We killed ourselves not to allow politics into this report.” Then came the F.B.I. report, and there went the clarity Logan claims to have finally found in Davies’s story.

It’s a sad aspect of this story that Logan claims the segment was more than a year in the making. Where did the time go? In the fairly long piece, Logan fails to offer any real statement about the Administration’s perspective. Only two other people are interviewed on camera. One is a military man who doesn’t understand why the diplomats didn’t get out of Benghazi months earlier. Another is a diplomat who doesn’t understand why, at the critical moment, significant military forces didn’t move into Benghazi from across the border. Davies, who is somehow supposed to tie these threads together, doesn’t understand why, on the first day he first arrived in the city, he found Libyan guards “inside, drinking tea, laughing and joking” rather than looking sharp, and why everyone didn’t heed a private contractor, like him. Not that Davies is identified as such: he’s a “security officer,” Logan says. “A former British soldier, he’s been helping to keep U.S. diplomats and military leaders safe for the last decade.” (Nor does she mention that his book, promoted in the segment, was published by Simon & Schuster, a unit of CBS, something she has admitted was a mistake.) But who knows what Davies said before or during the attack. His account is about as good as a spilled cup of tea, making the rest unreadable.

1 comment

  1. ek hornbeck

Comments have been disabled.