Yesterday, Lara Logan of CBS News apologized for including Dylan Davies as a source on a Benghazi 60 Minutes program that aired several weeks ago and has been widely ridiculed, debunked, and condemned. Many say that Logan's 90-second-apology did not go far enough and left many questions unanswered, fueling a national debate about the credibility of CBS News and American journalistic integrity in general.
Although Logan had apologized on air before, yesterday's was the first on 60 Minutes and the most extensive yet. Here is the apology:
Leading up to Lara Logan's apology was a very concise statement from CBS News, provided in full below as it appeared on the network's website at noon on 11/11/13:
"60 Minutes has learned of new information that undercuts the account told to us by Morgan Jones of his actions on the night of the attack on the Benghazi compound.
We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction."
America's reactions to the apology included disappointment, disgust, pessimism, suspicion, and embarrassment. Many pointed out that neither CBS News nor Lara Logan herself explained how an obviously untrustworthy source was approved in the first place. The mainstream media in particular turned on 60 Minutes here, here, here, here, and here.
Liberal watchdog Media Matters has spearheaded an oversight campaign from the beginning of the media scandal. Others have contrasted the mysterious absence of a CBS explanation or any kind of public investigation in the case of the Benghazi report with the same network's 2004 response to Dan Rather's flawed reporting on President George W. Bush's National Guard Service in 2004 (which resulted in firing four producers and, eventually, Rather's departure).
It is also worth noting that, although the 60 Minutes Benghazi report has been completely debunked, some who initially touted its findings have yet to rescind their comments. Most notably, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) vowed to block all nominations until Congress heard additional Benghazi survivors' testimony after the report aired and chose to stand by his remarks even after the apology and retraction from CBS.
If 60 Minutes, one of the most successful programs on television, does not recover from the scandal, it would be devastating for CBS News. If America's Fourth Estate does not recover from losing sight of its purpose, it would be devastating for us all.