60 Minutes Leaves Fox “News” In The Lurch

You have heard by now that the famed CBS News program 60 Minutes is doing a my bad! on its recent report on Benghazi, a report that many right-wingers, especially the Obama-haters on Fox “News,” have been using to justify their own misreporting on the tragedy that occurred there.

Here is the way HuffPo began its story:

In a humiliating retreat from a piece she had staunchly defended, “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan admitted on Friday morning that she and the news magazine had made a “mistake” in their reporting of a controversial story about the Benghazi attacks.

You can read the details for yourself, but the important thing to know here is that because Fox journalism is always seeking validation from mainstream journalists (who are much too eager to give it to them), it quickly latched onto the 60 Minutes story. Via Media Matters, here is how an alleged straight news reporter (he’s not) on Fox, Brett Baier,opened a segment on Fox’s flagship news program Special Report the day after the Lara Logan piece ran:

BAIER: Answers are still hard to come by in the investigation into last fall’s Benghazi terror assault. Last night, one of journalism’s heavy hitters reaffirmed what we knew and had reported on.

“What we knew and had reported on” turns out to be, well, “what we wish we knew but reported on as if we knew it.”  Fox, and many Republican politicians and pundits, have been pushing the idea that somehow President Obama or someone in his administration (by the time its all over future presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be to blame) withheld military help from those under attack in Benghazi, and that the whole thing was a grotesque scandal that the “lamestream media” was covering up. Foxers were so damn happy that finally someone had legitimated their coverage they could hardly contain themselves.

Again, on the day after the 60 Minutes report aired, Media Matters chronicled another Fox response, this time from another anchor pretending to be a straight journalist, Martha MacCallum:

Now 60 Minutes, the venerable news program, Sunday night news program, is putting a lot of focus on this story … Here at Fox News we’ve been covering this story for a very long time. At times we’ve been criticized for continuing to cover this story…

It remains to be seen whether 60 Minutes will remain a “venerable news program” in the eyes of Fox on-air talent, but what we do know is that right-wingers will not give up their quest to taint the President or, as will eventually happen as the 2016 draws closer, taint Hillary Clinton over the horrific events in Benghazi.

Finally, the indispensable Media Matters.org also kept track of other right-wingers’ expressed glee over the now-flawed 60 Minutes report: from Pat Robertson’s pronouncement that “it’s all over” for Obama to Breitbart’s declaration that “It was a reversal for CBS News, which played a key role in the Benghazi cover-up in 2012,” to the National Review’s Jonah Goldberg’s tweet:

jonah goldberg tweet

Yikes! It turns out that the original 60 Minutes piece—centrally flawed—does corroborate “pretty much everything” Fox has been reporting.

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  1. Well, I’m still confused about this. I’m wondering just what Davies said that may be untrue, and how does that change conclusions?

    Wikipedia has what appears to be a thorough account of the whole affair and I see nothing in it to indicate any conspiracy. If there’s a fault to be called, it is failure to foresee the future. In hindsight, one can obviously say there should have been better backup at the compound, but Benghazi was only one of a large number of potential diplomatic targets that 9/11. Maybe it was Stevens’ own failure of foresight? This is from part of the Wiki account:

    After a meeting to discuss the deteriorating security situation at the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, embassy officials in Tripoli drafted a cable on August 16 outlining the circumstances and specifying that security needs would be made known in a subsequent message. This cable, excerpts from which have been reported by Fox News, still remains classified. But after reading it, Army General Carter Ham, then the head of the U.S. Africa Command and thus the senior U.S. military official in the region, phoned Stevens and asked if the compound needed a special security team from the U.S. military. Stevens told Ham it did not, according to two government officials interviewed by McClatchy News Service. Weeks later, Stevens traveled to Germany for an already scheduled meeting with Ham at AFRICOM headquarters. During that meeting, Ham again offered additional military assets, and Stevens again said no, the two officials said.

    The attempts by Fox News and right-wing pundits to politicize Benghazi are disgusting and it is the height of hypocrisy to criticize the administration for failure to provide better diplomatic defenses when even after a year the GOP-controlled House has yet to fund recommended increases in security.


  2. ansonburlingame

     /  November 9, 2013

    Never have I believed that the Benghazi fisaco was a conspiracy. However I firmly believe the spin place on why the attack happened was overboard, from the administration. I still believe that.

    In my view, The NSA, the highest level of military authority in the land, failed to analyze and, perhaps respond in a manner to do all possible to protect and defend American lives and property. That was in no way a calculated conspiracy. It was human error, big human error that pervaded the top level of military and civilian leadership in the nation.

    The same type of things could have happened in Cairo the same day, earlier in the day. A more well defended embassy and ultimate support from the local government prevented Cairo from being a Benghazi. Yet the major thrust of reaction by the administration, all the way up and down, was an analysis of America’s role in causing such demonstrations, one of which in fact was a pre-planned terrorist attack that “some” knew was coming. They did just not know when.

    Again, no conspiracy on the part of anyone. But a coverup, call it spin if you like, well that was a big mistake as well, after we found a burned to the ground consulate and four dead Americans.

    Remember the Deputy Ambassador saying he always expected the calvary to arrive on time to save lives and property in Benghazi? If my ship ever got into trouble anywhere in the world, I would have expected the same thing. And there were always well planned responses for a whole host of assets if such ever happened. Hell we even ran “drills” to test such things, long ago. After the Pueblo, the Navy learned a big lesson and fixed responses to such things, the unexpected crisis.

    I still wonder today, well over a year after Benghazi if responses are better planned today for emergencies. Whether caused by an American produced video, a wild imagination in my view, or simple hatred of America around the world, I care far more about what we do the next time. I am concerned that we don’t have a good solution, even now, on such matters.

    But I also know, simple little me, that if MY EOC, the NSA floundered in a real crisis, well I would be scrambling the EOC once a week with drills until I was satisfied they could do it better the next time around!! And I would not spend a dime on the internet watching out for “bad” American produced videos, either that MIGHT cause a riot, over there!!



    • @ Anson,

      Well, for a change, you and I are in agreement. Benghazi was not a conspiracy. And I’m glad you brought up the Pueblo incident for comparison. That was a huge cover-up by the brass. This one was less foreseeable and had important differences from Pueblo, which was an all-Navy fiasco for for which Lloyd Bucher was made the goat. Shameful.

      Benghazi involved not one unit but hundreds of potential diplomatic targets. In the end, it was the State Department’s call and the decision was made not to request extra military reinforcement. It had to do with money of course, and that’s why I blame the House GOP budgeteers more than anyone else. But cover-up? It sure as hell wouldn’t be like the Pentagon to publicly complain about their budget. That’s not the way the game is played. That’s making the bosses look bad, both in Congress and the administration. I just hope everyone involved learned as good a lesson from this one as from the Pueblo. However, none of this excuses the GOP for politicizing it.


  3. ansonburlingame

     /  November 11, 2013


    A couple of years after the Pueblo, I meet Loyd Bucher in Guam. I saw him several times and talked with him as well, in only O’Club bars!! He was a drunk, a failed man in all respects. The PRIMARY reason the Pueblo happened was HIS failure as a commanding officer, period.

    On many occassions I was on ships that were in dangerous waters, legally, but the areas were still dangerous. Had my ship been forced to surface and was confronted with opposing forces, well I knew EXACTLY what I would have done. There would not be a single bullet left on my ship to shoot and I would be dead before anyone stepped foot on board, period.

    As well as long as there was still one radio and some electrical power available, “someone” would be receiving second by second, blow by bloody blow, account of what was going on. IF and ONLY if I was ORDERED by higher authority to “give up the ship” would I do so and I would have demanded the same from every sailor on board my ship as well. If conditions prevented any orders from higher authority, well fight to the death would be my reaction in such cases. Almost every submariner I ever knew felt that way as well.

    I don’t recall if Bucher was courts martialed. He should have been for sure. But he was still on active duty, still retained his rank as an 0-5 (which he held while in command of Pueblo) several years after returning “home” from captivity, serving while drunk as a skunk most of the time, feeling very sorry for himself, etc. And he would tell his tale of woe to anyone that would buy him a drink, as well.

    And yep, Pueblo was only a single and very obscure ship, but one assigned a dangerous mission in a dangerous location, legally. Sure the NCA failed to protect and defend and I doubt many higher level heads ever rolled in that case as well. But that does not mean they should not have so rolled, higher level heads. I guess Nixon was President in those years. But at least he did not tell America the “video caused it”!!



  4. John

     /  November 12, 2013

    Let’s be honest. Bebghazi was a media political football. Mitt Romney, Fox and friends kicked the ball first. Fox has been working hard at winning the Benghazi political game. There are other games that Fox plays and are trying to win against Obama and Hilary: NSA, Obamacare, AHA website, Muslim in the Whitehouse, Kenyan in the Whitehouse, IRS, the Debt Ceiling etc. Fox has been hitting hard and making ground. 60 Minutes took the air out of the Benghazi football. Okay, what’s the next media football? It’s a money making game for the fans.


  5. ansonburlingame

     /  November 13, 2013


    I have not watched Fox News since Nov 2012 except while clicking through some channels over the last year. I also did not form my opinions related to Benghazi based on Fox reporting. But you are correct in my view, that Benghazi has been a football kicked around by a bunch of monkeys, monkey’s on both sides of the line of scrimmage!

    Benghazi was a failure by the NCA to protect and defend. That should be a topic of interest, big interest to all thinking Americans. Certainly in the late 60’s, early 70’s the Pueblo incident was a big deal as well. But at least the administration did not try to blame America for placing a ship in international wars, legally and asking it to navigate, legally in international waters to collect intelligence.

    If you and other partisans believe Benghazi was in fact no big deal and further efforts to determine the truth of what happened are unneeded as well, well remember to do so the next time a GOP administation makes a big mistake at the highest levels of military command authority in the nation!!



    • John

       /  November 13, 2013


      I don’t believe that, “it was no big deal.” But Benghazi is has become political and the GOP are milking it. Clearly, no Ambassador should be in a place of volitilty like Libya. Why did the Ambassador or his superiors allow this? This could have happened under a republican or democrat government. So, it’s just politics. By the way, I was for Bush, just to let you know where I am coming from.


  6. ansonburlingame

     /  November 15, 2013

    Someday, maybe, Bush II will be held in the same aclaim as Nixon’s “opening to China”. But I will probably be dead when that happens for Bush II!!

    I also agree that Benghazi could have happened in any administration. But that does not mean it should have happened the way it did. Why I wonder do Dems not have such a concern and demand answers for how “Benghazi” will “not happen again, because…..” I don’t even hear them asking such a question and if they did Hillary would say “why are we beating that dead horse now”???? (or words to that effect).

    The only definitive solution coming from the administration thus far on preventing another Benghazi is “don’t produce viral videos in America”!!! I am of course exaggerating but ……!



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