Friday, November 15, 2013

Why We Need Reporters, Not Human Microphone Stands

Read Nancy A. Youssef's piece on the 60 Minutes Benghazi report and what you see is a reporter doing what reporters are supposed to do:  asking questions that need to be asked and ALWAYS asking for verification.

Journalism requires verification.   Reporters ask for verification.   Human microphone stands don't.

Youssef's piece should be read by every journalism student in the country.   It should also be read by every network news executive and by every major shareholder of CBS (their silence is disappointing but not surprising).

Regarding Lara Logan's apology, the McClatchy foreign staff reporter writes, "But Logan's mea culpa said nothing about other weaknesses in the report that a line-by-line review of the broadcast's transcript reveals."

Line-by-line.   That's how any editorial review should be done.   What's your evidence?   What's the proof?   How do we know what we're saying is accurate?   How did CBS fail to do basic editorial review of such an important piece?

The 60 Minutes report says the Americans were attacked by al Qaida and 60 Minutes repeatedly points out that al Qaida was solely responsible for the attack.   As Youssef reports, "al Qaida has never claimed responsibility for the attack, and the FBI, which is leading the U.S. investigation, has never named al Qaida as the sole perpetrator.  Rather, it is believe a number of groups were part of the assault..."

Youssef points out problem after problem with the 60 Minutes report.   That's understandable.   Youssef is a reporter, not a human microphone stand.

When journalism fails, bad things happen.

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