Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lara Logan's Downfall

In the days of Mike Wallace, “60 Minutes” was anything but tame in its reporting, going after “bad guys” with shove-a-mike-in-the-face fervor. That kind of activism got Wallace sued but never fired.

Now we have Lara Logan leaving the show, along with her producer, for   a “now discredited account of an important story.”

Benghazi again. Logan, who was sexually assaulted by Egyptians in February 2011 and spent four days in the hospital, is out for the journalistic sins of featuring an “eyewitness” who wasn’t there after having herself made a speech last year taking “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.”

For Logan personally and “6o Minutes,” all this is a disaster. For journalism, in the age of Glenn Greenwald, it is another blow to aggressive but honest reporting that has been going downhill since Woodward and Bernstein at Watergate.

At the very least, Logan should have made a choice between reporting on Benghazi and being a public advocate over it. To compound it all, the so-called witness she interviewed may have come to her attention through her husband, a “onetime employee of a private intelligence outfit hired by the Pentagon to plant pro-US stories in the Iraqi media in 2005.”

All of this is much too close to home for reportorial comfort. It will take a while for “60 Minutes” to recover its credibility, and that’s a shame.

Meanwhile, Benghazi keeps claiming more victims in American society.

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