The fallout from a deeply flawed 60 Minutes report on Benghazi last October continues to play out at CBS News, according to a lengthy account of the proceedings by Joe Hagan in New York. It traces the report back to a combination of issues, including Logan’s tenacity (or recklessness, depending on your perspective), her close relationship to the military sector, CBS’s unwillingness to reign in its star reporter, and a lack of fail-safes.
Here, then, was a convergence, the proverbial perfect storm: [CBS News chairman Jeff] Fager had given Logan outsize power; [executive editor Bill] Owens, Fager’s acolyte, didn’t ask the boss’s star the tough questions; and [producer Max] McClellan, a true-blue Logan loyalist, didn’t have the desire or the authority to bring Logan to heel. On top of that, the senior vice-president of standards and practices, Linda Mason, whose job it was to bring outside scrutiny to any segment, had departed in early 2013, and Fager never replaced her. Logan was free to operate as she chose.
The mood on Logan at CBS since her forced hiatus began seems to have soured, and 60 Minutes founding member Morley Safer reportedly wants her fired.
The general consensus among Hagan’s sources is that the Benghazi report—based on a falsified account from a military contractor with a book deal with Simon & Schuster, also owned by CBS—was the predictable (in hindsight) nadir of a pattern in which the network was unable to rein in their star. One former producer said that, “Fager has gotten rid of any structural oversight… ”He doesn’t like people challenging him. There’s nobody to go to if you have a problem."
Fager has stated that Logan will return later this year, but given the acrimonious atmosphere in the news division, Hagan's story suggests that that just might not be possible. You read his full accounting at nymag.com.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.