May 06, 2014 11:58am PT by THR Staff
CBS News Should Reopen '60 Minutes' Benghazi Investigation, Media Matters Chairman Says
CBS News should reopen its investigation into the network's erroneous 60 Minutes report on the attacks in Benghazi, Media Matters chairman David Brock says in a letter to news heads Jeff Fager and David Rhodes.
Brock's call comes in the wake of a New York magazine profile of 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan that revealed problems with the investigation and raised new questions about the network's journalistic practices in relation to the discredited report, which Logan anchored.
In the letter, the head of the left-wing nonprofit research center calls on Fager to reopen the investigation, pointing out discrepancies between the network's review and the New York magazine piece as well as questions that are still unanswered.
"A New York magazine story on Lara Logan and her role in the bungled Benghazi report raises critical questions about the validity of CBS' investigation," Brock writes in the letter. "Re-opening the investigation is warranted as it now appears that CBS' internal investigation was not thorough, was wrong on critical points and omitted key facts -- facts that would have revealed that Logan's report was tainted by partisanship and unprofessional conduct."
Among the discrepancies Brock identifies are differences in information about how much Logan coordinated with Sen. Lindsey Graham and whether or not calls were made to the FBI or State Department to vet key source Dylan Davies' claims.
Brock lists the following lingering questions:
"Did CBS know how closely Logan was collaborating with Sen. Graham on the Benghazi report? If so, why was this not disclosed on air or in CBS' review of the erroneous report?
"What restrictions were placed on other reporters who were trying to report on Benghazi during the time that Logan was working on her 60 Minutes piece and why?"
Brock says results of the investigation should be made public and appropriate disciplinary action should be taken.
Brock also points out that in the CBS staff memo Fager sent out announcing Logan's leave of absence, the news head promised the erroneous Benghazi report would be used as an opportunity to make 60 Minutes' broadcast stronger.
"As long as these discrepancies and questions remain unaddressed and until full accountability is taken, it is impossible for that to happen," Brock writes.
The Oct. 27 60 Minutes report relied heavily on an interview with Davies, a security contractor whose credibility has since been undermined by conflicting reports about his whereabouts on the night of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack. An internal "journalistic review" from CBS standards and practices determined the report was not properly vetted.