Politics

11.08.13

CBS and Benghazi: What’s the Larger Relevance?

‘60 Minutes’ is ‘reviewing’ its Benghazi report. But even if what the guy is saying is true, so what?

So now, CBS is reviewing that 60 Minutes report by Lara Logan on Benghazi, the one with security man Morgan Jones (real name Dylan Davies) telling the FBI one thing about the attacks and CBS another, needless to say handing the sexier (and possibly untrue) version to CBS.

If you haven’t been following this, you can catch up quickly by heading over to the site of Media Matters for America, which has been on this like white on rice since the report aired and is updating it daily. MMFA has done a terrific job.

But of course a big outfit like CBS can try to ignore Media Matters, as it did for days. It even ignored The Washington Post, which ran a story casting doubt on Jones/Davies’s claims a week ago. But then The New York Times started sniffing around, and you can’t ignore the Times.

Well, it’s nice to see CBS bow to pressure from the left for a change instead of the right. See, Davies just published a book under the Morgan Jones pseudonym about Benghazi with an imprint that is a division of Simon & Schuster, which is owned by...CBS. So maybe 60 Minutes was pressured inside to hawk this guy’s story. So it’s already an interesting corporate media story and a black eye for Black Rock from that perspective.

But what is the larger political relevance of all this? Well, Google “Dylan Davies Hillary Clinton” and you’ll see soon enough. Wingland is desperate to find something here to pin on HRC. But even if every word Davies speaks is true, I don’t see how it changes much of anything about the Benghazi narrative. Correct me if I’m wrong about this, but it seems to me that if he’s telling the truth, all he provides is one eyewitness account that confirms stuff we knew already—that the consulate wasn’t as well protected as it should have been, and we weren’t as prepared for the attack as we should have been. Not exactly news.

Still, some on the right are trying to insist on all the alleged new questions this guy raises. Fox, to its credit, ditched the guy when he asked the network for money. Without Fox, he and his story aren’t likely to get full traction in the right-wing media.

Try again, righties. Come the 2016 campaign, I think it’s highly unlikely anyone will remember the names Dylan Davies and Morgan Jones.

UPDATE: And just as I pressed publish, I learned that Lara Logan herself has apologized. “In this case, we were wrong. We made a mistake,” she said on CBS This Morning. The media lesson here: Learn to spot people who are carrying around cans of gasoline. They usually aren’t reliable.