Monday, November 11, 2013

Corporate Alzheimer's at CBS

CBS must have corporate Alzheimer's disease.   It's forgotten how to apologize.     It's forgotten how to vet a story.  It's forgotten viewers aren't totally stupid. 

What's the possible cause?   Corporate incest and wanting sales for a book?   Or might it be that age-old affliction of pandering to an audience, in this case the far right?   

How has 60 Minutes forgotten how to vet a story?   

Consider for a moment, just how easy it is to vet this one.  The intern could do it.  

Dylan Davies wasn't alone in Benghazi.  And he must have kept fairly detailed notes; he wrote a book.   There's going to be fact after fact any intern at 60 Minutes could check. Who are some of his fellow employees, where were they that night, what are their names, their phone numbers, their emails?   Who did he talk to that night and the day after and the day after that?  Who did he email?  Who did he text?  Since he's already admitted to 60 Minutes that he lied on his report to his employer, did he tell anyone else?   These are men who work and bond together; they protect each other's lives.  How many people did 60 Minutes call to vet this story?    Did it even bother to call the fact checker at the book publisher?   

Even the original 60 Minutes interview with Dylan Davies doesn't ring true.   Davies tells Lara Logan he scales the wall and hits a guy with the butt of his rifle who goes down "like a stone."  So in the midst of incredibly violent situation the welcome-to-Benghazi terrorist just walks up to say howdie-doo to Dylan Davies and does nothing, takes no defensive action as Dylan decides, "hey, I think I'll nail this guy in the face with the butt of my rifle."   Does anyone besides Fox News and 60 Minutes believe that?   Huffingtonpost Live shows the response that a lot of viewers probably had in this clip.  

Lara Logan says the "most important thing to every person at 60 Minutes is the truth."   If that statement is true, then Lara Logan will deliver a far more detailed explanation of how 60 Minutes failed to properly vet Dylan Davies.    Currently, that statement is contradicted by her own unacceptably weak apology.   

Tina Brown is right when she says American journalism is having a "pathetic moment."  60 Minutes has proven that.   Corporate Alzheimer's is not an acceptable excuse.  

When journalism fails, bad things happen.  
###

3 comments:

  1. Well said, Mr. Idsvoog. Logan deserves a negative critique, but Fager's defense of the story for 10 days also must be held up for scrutiny.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Karl, publishers don't employ fact-checkers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good point - here's a worthwhile article on why.
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/world-wide-mind/201208/why-publishers-dont-fact-check-books

    ReplyDelete