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Latest ‘60 Minutes’ Apology Not Enough—Leading Critics Demand Full Probe
Greg Mitchell on November 11, 2013 - 10:29 AM ET
After last night’s ninety-second “apology” by Lara Logan on 60 Minutes—the show spent more time on photos of the Beatles with their wives in 1964—it’s certain that CBS wants to turn the page. An insider even confirmed this was the case, according to The New York Times: No internal or independent probe, no disciplining of reporter or producer.
Clearly CBS is terrified of where a probe might lead—for example, revealing why they did this story in the first place and didn’t vet their source. (See my piece on The Nation.com yesterday on the CBS News chief’s background as a honcho at Fox News throughout the Bush years—and Lara Logan revealing her own bias last year. And then there’s the Mary Matalin book connection.)
Only a strong push from other journalists will force CBS to launch such an investigation. I’ll log below what key journalists are saying. Many are making strong statements, although some are still giving CBS points for making any sort of limited apology—as if it could not do that after their source was thoroughly discredited. Others are presuming—with no evidence that I’ve seen—that CBS will make a much longer statement later.
Mike Calderone, who has been on this since beginning, offers a list of unanswered questions at the Huffington Post. For starters:
“Sunday’s brief acknowledgment didn’t resemble a news program seriously trying to get to the bottom of how it got duped. Logan didn’t address during the show how Davies came to be a source for ‘60 Minutes,’ the vetting process of his account, whether the FBI was contacted during the original reporting or after doubts were raised, and the connection between the television booking on Oct. 27 and publication by a CBS subsidiary on Oct. 29.”
Brian Stelter of The New York Times on TV today raises the question I have asked: Did Lara Logan come in with “an agenda”? And why did it take so long to react and will they probe? This may be “in some ways worse” than the Dan Rather affair, but those charging “liberal bias” are louder than critics on the left.
Jay Rosen at his blog:
“Attention now turns to Jeff Fager, as the person at CBS (executive producer of ‘60 Minutes’) who approved the final cut of a deeply flawed report starring a source CBS knew to have lied to his employer, and the executive at CBS, boss of the news division, who decided that it was time to move on from that mistake. Can that conflict of interest stand? So far it looks like it will.”
Frank Rich: “Failure of @CBSNews to report how Lara Logan was duped for ‘a year’ (her claim) by a Benghazi hoax guarantees others will do it for them.”
MANY MORE AT LINK
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Nov 11, 2013, 08:18 PM (23 replies)
Videos at Link.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Lara Logan in her own words
Here are her comments on Benghazi from that speech to the Better Government Association's annual luncheon October 12, 2012, one month after the Benghazi attack:
When I look at what's happening in Libya, there's a big song and dance about whether this was a terrorist attack or a protest. And you just want to scream, for God's sake, are you kidding me? The last time we were attacked like this was the USS Cole which was a prelude to 9/11. And you're sending in the FBI to investigate? I hope to God that you are sending in your best clandestine warriors to exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil, its ambassadors will not be murdered and the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.
Here's the whole speech which is mostly about journalism and her recent report from Afghanistan in which she asserted that al Qaeda and the Taliban were stronger than ever, the US was "surrendering" and that "our way of life is under attack" among many other very interesting observations. You really must watch the whole thing to get a sense of where she's coming from.
- snip -
Needless to say, the fact that she fell for such a clearly ridiculous hoax was due to her biases. She shows in that speech that she had already made up her mind about what happened. And 60 Minutes should have been professionally skeptical of her story because of that. Logan's agenda blinded her to the fact that she was being played.
- snip -
I also think there's something very odd about this speech. Logan is talking to the "Better Government Association" not CPAC. And her affect suggests that she thinks her views are commonly held conventional wisdom, which might have been true in 2003, but seems weirdly out of time ten years on.
It's an odd speech and it was noted at the time as an odd speech:
(T)he foreign correspondent and 60 Minutes star skewered American policy in Afghanistan and Libya, called for a ramped-up military campaign against terrorists, and criticized the Obama administration and others for both underestimating the Taliban’s strength in Afghanistan and for tolerating Pakistan’s obvious coddling of terrorists killing American soldiers.
The Taliban and al Qaeda, she made clear, “want to destroy the West and us,” and we must fight fire with fire, She appeared to leave the assembled alternatively riveted and just a bit troubled by a critique with interventionist implications clearly drawn from her reporting.
As one nonprofit executive, a former magazine editor, put it the next day when asked to describe her speech: “Shoot ’em, bomb ’em, fuck ’em. They will kill your children.”
There is a rich history of foreign correspondents being outspoken and passionate in offering political commentary, especially those who have been caught in harm’s way. Logan herself was a victim of brutality; in 2011 the South Africa native was beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob in Cairo’s Tahrir Square while she covered the demonstrations prompted by President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation. Such a harrowing experience would surely impact even the most politically cautious of journalists. Still, the sharp advocacy from such a prominent network reporter caught some in the Chicago crowd by surprise.
I have no idea if any of this was prompted by her horrible attack. But I do recall that even before that awful event, she was very critical of Michael Hastings' "betrayal" of General McChrystal. She has revered the military for a long time and even her critical reporting on Iraq earlier in the decade was criticism for failing to unleash the military in order to "win." I think she has always held these beliefs.
Posted by Hissyspit | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 04:19 PM (33 replies)
The ‘60 Minutes’ Benghazi Scandal—a Fox News Connection?
Greg Mitchell on November 10, 2013 - 9:59 AM ET
Tonight’s the night 60 Minutes promises to come clean(er) about its bogus Benghazi report two weeks back. After stonewalling for so long, claiming that their source only told “one story,” and suggesting critics were mere “partisans,” CBS pulled the segment for its site and Lara Logan and the gang offered a hasty “apology” Friday morning—but only after The New York Times blew their “source” out of the water.
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Rosen, as I have done previously, also raises the issue of the story’s link to Mary Matalin’s right-wing imprint at Simon & Schuster, which just pulled the book co-authored by the same “source.” Did the whole segment come from that Matalin valley of wackiness? If so, you might say 60 Minutes got “Breitbarted.” Or as the saying goes, if you lie down with dogs, don’t complain if you get fleas.
But here’s another angle that’s gotten little attention so far, and I’ll do more on it later: Few seem to realize that a former Fox News exec became the head of the CBS News in February 2011. He is David Rhodes. His bio at CBS declares:
He directs network newsgathering for all CBS News platforms including television, CBSNews.com, and CBS News Radio.
With CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, Rhodes has led a division-wide rejuvenation of the storied CBS News brand, emphasizing the Original Reporting of top broadcast journalists around the world. A rededication to the news division’s hard-news roots runs through every broadcast.
- snip -
The bio also reveals:
Rhodes began his career as a Production Assistant at the newly-launched Fox News Channel in 1996, where he later became Vice President of News. At the network he managed coverage of three presidential elections, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, hurricanes including Katrina, and was the channel’s Assignment Manager on the news desk the morning of September 11, 2001.
So, imagine: This was the guy who worked hand-in-glove on the biased, often propagandistic, Fox “coverage” of the run-up to the Iraq war, the 2000/2004/2008 elections, the Plame affair, the worst years in Iraq, and all other things Bush and Cheney, and so on.
What are his own political views? In a Crain’s mini-profile not long ago he cited his “eclectic” voting record. His brother Ben Rhodes famously works for President Obama as his oft-criticized national security adviser, and David Rhodes has said “no one in that house” growing up “agreed on anything.” Brit Hume actually visited Twitter earlier this year to point out that while David’s brother was serving Obama, David “was hardly thought a liberal” while helping to run Fox News during its key years.
Just one month ago, 60 Minutes aired what I called “a hatchet job” on alleged disability fraud.
Posted by Hissyspit | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 03:17 PM (32 replies)
Source: Associated Press / Guardian
PHILIPPINE TYPHOON DEATH TOLL COULD REACH 10,000
By JIM GOMEZ
— Nov. 9, 2013 8:15 PM EST
TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) — A senior regional police official and a city administrator in the typhoon-ravaged Tacloban city in the central Philippines say the death toll there could reach 10,000 people.
Regional police chief Elmer Soria said he was briefed by Leyte provincial Gov. Dominic Petilla on Saturday and told there were about 10,000 deaths on the island, mostly by drowning and from collapsed buildings.
Tacloban city administrator Tecson Lim said that the death toll in the city alone "could go up to 10,000."
Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/over-100-dead-typhoon-onslaught-philippines
Posted by Hissyspit | Sat Nov 9, 2013, 08:36 PM (47 replies)
Source: CBS News
NYC grand jury indicts 11 bikers in motorcyclist-SUV highway brawl
November 08, 2013
NEW YORK A grand jury has indicted 11 bikers, including an undercover New York City police detective, on various charges related to a motorcyclist-SUV highway melee.
The indictment Friday says undercover detective Wojciech Braszczok was charged with gang assault, criminal mischief, riot and other counts.
Prosecutors have said Braszczok participated in the Sept. 29 attack by shattering the SUV's back window. He was off duty at the time. Attorney John Arlia didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
Police say that after the SUV driver bumped a bike that had slowed in front of the vehicle, motorcyclists converged on the vehicle. Police say the driver, while trying to get away, ran over a biker then motorcyclists caught up with the driver and beat him. The driver hasn't been charged.
Read more: http://m.cbsnews.com/storysynopsis.rbml?&pageType=national&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbsnews.com%2F8301-201_162-57611613%2Fnyc-grand-jury-indicts-11-bikers-in-motorcyclist-suv-highway-brawl%2F&feed_id=1&videoid=37&catid=57611613&nb_splitPage=1
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Nov 8, 2013, 11:11 PM (23 replies)
Source: New York Times
Accounts Differ to F.B.I. and CBS on Benghazi
By BILL CARTER and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
Published: November 7, 2013
Dylan Davies, a security officer hired to help protect the United States Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, told the F.B.I. he did not go there the night terrorists attacked it on Sept. 11, 2012, an account that contradicts a version of events he gave in a recently published book and in an interview to the CBS News program “60 Minutes.”
The information he provided in an F.B.I. interview was described Thursday by two senior government officials as completely consistent with an incident report by the Blue Mountain security business, which had been hired to protect United States interests in Benghazi. The officials who spoke said they had been briefed on the government investigation.
Mr. Davies, who worked for Blue Mountain, has disavowed the incident report, saying in an interview last week with the online magazine The Daily Beast that he did not write it and had never even seen it, and was not responsible for the account of events it contained.
The contradictions between the versions offered in the incident report and what was presented on television and in the book —Mr. Davies appeared on the program and wrote the book under the pseudonym Morgan Jones — have led to questions about how “60 Minutes” came to present Mr. Davies as a credible source for its extensive report on the Benghazi incident.
The incident report described Mr. Davies as remaining at the villa he occupied in Libya and not getting to the scene on the night of the attack. In the version he wrote in his book and gave to “60 Minutes,” Mr. Davies said he left the villa that night to visit a hospital, where he said he saw the body of the deceased ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, and twice rushed to the scene of the attack.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/08/business/media/accounts-differ-to-fbi-and-cbs-on-benghazi.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1&
Posted by Hissyspit | Thu Nov 7, 2013, 08:55 PM (12 replies)
Wonkbook: Seven reasons Obamacare isn’t facing a “death spiral”
By Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas, Published: November 7 at 8:42 am
No one is quite sure how bad HealthCare.gov's problems are. The result is no one is quite sure what Obamacare's "worst-case scenario" is. But in some corners of the media, a grisly consensus is emerging: It's a "death spiral."
"Is Obamacare in a death spiral?" asks Megan McArdle.
"The death spiral is already beginning," warns David Frum.
No, it isn't.
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The key to a "death spiral" is the "spiral" part. Once it reaches a certain point, it becomes self-reinforcing -- and almost impossible to stop. Could that really happen to Obamacare?
Probably not. Obamacare is protected from an actual death spiral by interlocking fail-safes. Some kick in if not enough healthy people sign up. Others give healthy people reasons to sign up. Others make sure insurers don't raise premiums too fast. But together, they offer substantial protection against an actual death spiral.
1. Tax subsidies. Obamacare pumps more than a trillion dollars to subsidize lower-income people in the insurance exchanges. That's a lot of money. And, crucially, the subsidies are tied to the cost of the insurance plans. As premiums rise, so too do the subsidies.
"The tax credits are a huge piece of death spiral prevention here," Levitt says. "At least half, probably 60 percent, of the people in the exchanges will get tax credits. The risk of higher premiums is more on the federal government than it is on people."
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2. The insurers. The theory of the "death spiral" goes like this: Insurers see that the people signing up for insurance are older and sicker than they thought. So they sharply raise premiums in 2014 to make sure they don't lose money. Those higher premiums drive young people out. And so the spiral begins.
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5. The individual mandate. The reason the Obama administration is so dead-set against delaying the individual mandate is that it's a key fail-safe against a death spiral.
REST AT LINK
Posted by Hissyspit | Thu Nov 7, 2013, 01:53 PM (0 replies)
Source: The Guardian
Al Gore: Snowden 'revealed evidence' of crimes against US constitution
Speaking at McGill University in Montreal, Gore said the NSA's efforts to monitor communications had gone to 'absurd' lengths
Adam Gabbatt in New York
theguardian.com, Wednesday 6 November 2013 18.12 EST
- Snip -
Gore, speaking Tuesday night at McGill University in Montreal, said he was in favour of using surveillance to ensure national security, but Snowden's revelations showed that those measures had gone too far.
"I say that as someone who was a member of the National Security Council working in the White House and getting daily briefings from the CIA," Gore said, in comments reported by the Canadian Press.
Gore had previously said he believed the practice of the NSA collecting US citizens phone records was unlawful and "not really the American way", but his comments on Tuesday represent his strongest criticism yet.
Asked about Snowden, the NSA whistleblower whose revelations have been reported extensively by the Guardian, Gore said the leaks had revealed uncovered unconstitutional practices.
"He has revealed evidence of what appears to be crimes against the Constitution of the United States," Gore said.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/06/al-gore-snowden-revealed-evidence-crimes-nsa
Posted by Hissyspit | Thu Nov 7, 2013, 06:25 AM (81 replies)
Source: The Guardian
FBI monitored anti-war website in error for six years, documents show
Monitoring began after antiwar.com editor passed along to the bureau a threat he received against his own website
Spencer Ackerman in Washington
theguardian.com, Wednesday 6 November 2013 13.02 EST
The FBI monitored a prominent anti-war website for years, in part because agents mistakenly believed it had threatened to hack the bureau’s own site.
Internal documents show that the FBI’s monitoring of antiwar.com, a news and commentary website critical of US foreign policy, was sparked in significant measure by a judgment that it had threatened to “hack the FBI website” and involved a formal assessment of the “threat” the site posed to US national security.
But antiwar.com never threatened to hack the FBI website. Heavily redacted FBI documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and shared with the Guardian, show that Eric Garris, the site’s managing editor, passed along to the bureau a threat he received against his own website.
Months later, the bureau characterized antiwar.com as a potential perpetrator of a cyberattack against the bureau’s website – a rudimentary error that persisted for years in an FBI file on the website. The mistake appears to have been a pillar of the FBI’s reasoning for monitoring a site that is protected by the first amendment’s free-speech guarantees.
“The improper investigation led to Garris and Raimondo being flagged in other documents, and is based on inappropriate targeting and sloppy intelligence work the FBI relied on in its initial memo,” said Julia Mass, an attorney with the ACLU of northern California, which filed the Freedom of Information Act request, and shared the documents with the Guardian.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/06/fbi-monitored-anti-war-website-in-error-documents
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Nov 6, 2013, 01:43 PM (13 replies)
Source: Al Jazeera
@BreakingNews: Report: Swiss scientists find at least 18 times normal levels of Polonium in Yasser Arafat's remains - @ajam http://t.co/H6dG3nE483
Exclusive: Swiss study says Polonium found in Arafat's bones
November 6, 2013 9:46AM ET
By David Poort and Ken Silverstein
PARIS – Swiss scientists who conducted tests on samples taken from Yasser Arafat’s body have found at least 18 times the normal levels of radioactive polonium in his remains. The scientists said that they were confident up to an 83 percent level that the late Palestinian leader was poisoned with it, which they said “moderately supports” polonium as the cause of his death.
A 108-page report by the University Centre of Legal Medicine in Lausanne, which was obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera, found unnaturally high levels of polonium in Arafat’s ribs and pelvis, and in soil stained with his decaying organs.
The Swiss scientists, along with French and Russian teams, obtained the samples last November after his body was exhumed from a mausoleum in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
Dave Barclay, a renowned U.K. forensic scientist and retired detective, told Al Jazeera that with these results he was wholly convinced that Arafat was murdered.
“Yasser Arafat died of polonium poisoning,” he said. “We found the smoking gun that caused his death. What we don’t know is who’s holding the gun at the time.”
Read more: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/11/6/swiss-study-poloniumfoundinarafatasbones.html
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Nov 6, 2013, 11:26 AM (67 replies)