Producer Fired for Rathergate Says Benghazi Story Pandered to Right Wing

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Now that CBS's '60 Minutes' story featuring a witness's account of the Benghazi attacks has fallen apart, a fired producer from the show's earlier big journalism scandal — the 2004 story on George W. Bush's National Guard service — has weighed in. According to Mary Mapes, the CBS report corrected this week was aimed at attracting a conservative audience to the show. Here's what she told Media Matters:  

"My concern is that the story was done very pointedly to appeal to a more conservative audience's beliefs about what happened at Benghazi. They appear to have done that story to appeal specifically to a politically conservative audience that is obsessed with Benghazi and believes that Benghazi was much more than a tragedy."

The story in question has now been removed from CBS's site. And the book by its source, Dylan Davies, was pulled from the shelves on Friday, after new evidence added even more support for the notion that Davies' dramatic story of entering the Benghazi compound wasn't true. Based on the evidence, it seems that he was not even there. We at the Atlantic Wire have suggested that the story itself gets some traction despite its dubious veracity because it's just such a good story, and those behind it were too tempted to believe. There is also a comparison that comes to mind between Lara Logan's Benghazi piece and the 2004 story that got Mapes fired and ultimately led to Dan Rather's retirement from the network. Here was Mother Jones's take: 

Something isn't right here. This wasn't a deeply reported segment that took a year to prepare. Nor was it the product of a neutral reporter. CBS needs to investigate what happened, and they need to do it with the same thoroughness that they investigated Dan Rather and Mary Mapes five years ago when they got snookered on the George Bush National Guard story that they obviously wanted to believe just a little bit too badly. Something like that seems to have happened here too.

Lara Logan's on-air apology for the report Friday morning promised that the show would issue a correction to the report during this week's episode. It's not clear whether the network will take steps to investigate further, as they did in 2004, following that correction. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.