Lara Logan Taking Leave of Absence From “60 Minutes”

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HuffPo’s Michael Calderone tweets: “Lara Logan and producer producer Max McClellan taking taking leave of absence from 60 Minutes, per Fager memo.” This comes shortly after Calderone reported that Logan “will no longer be hosting the annual press freedom awards dinner hosted by the Committee to Protect Journalists on Tuesday night, as she had long been scheduled to do.”

That’s not a big surprise. More to come on this, I’m sure.

UPDATE: Calderone has a full copy of the Fager memo here, along with a summary report of an investigation into Logan’s Benghazi segment from Al Ortiz, Executive Director of Standards and Practices at CBS News. It validates virtually every outside criticism made of Logan’s piece, which relied on the testimony of Dylan Davies, a security consultant who was in Benghazi on the night of the attacks and went on to write a book about it:

Logan’s report went to air without 60 Minutes knowing what Davies had told the FBI and the State Department about his own activities and location on the night of the attack….The wider reporting resources of CBS News were not employed in an effort to confirm his account….[Davies’] admission that he had not told his employer the truth about his own actions should have been a red flag in the editorial vetting process.

….[Logan’s] assertions that Al Qaeda carried out the attack and controlled the hospital were not adequately attributed in her report…..In October of 2012, one month before starting work on the Benghazi story, Logan made a speech in which she took a strong public position arguing that the US Government was misrepresenting the threat from Al Qaeda, and urging actions that the US should take in response to the Benghazi attack. From a CBS News Standards perspective, there is a conflict in taking a public position on the government’s handling of Benghazi and Al Qaeda, while continuing to report on the story.

….The book, written by Davies and a co-author, was published by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, part of the CBS Corporation. 60 Minutes erred in not disclosing that connection in the segment.

That’s a whole lot of errors, all of which were preventable. Logan was just too anxious to tell this story in a particular way, and decided not to let reporting get in the way of it.

Also worth checking out: Jeff Stein’s Newsweek piece a few days ago suggesting that Logan’s husband may have played an instrumental behind-the-scenes role in shaping her Benghazi report.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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