Sunday, November 10, 2013

CBS in International Headlines for Erroneous Report

By Rabin Man Shakya

Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), one of the prominent US television networks, is in international headlines for the erroneous report on the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.

According to an AP news report, CBS News admitted Friday it was wrong to trust a "60 Minutes" source who claimed to be at 2012 attack on the US mission on Benghazi.

"60 Minutes" is one of the most popular TV news documentary program in US. "60 Minutes" has been able to bag 42 Emmys, six George Foster Peabody Awards, two George Polk Memorial Awards, 10 Alfred I. dupont-Columbia University Awards, and one Christopher Award.

However, speaking of Benghazi report, the source mentioned in the CBS story Dylan Davies, a former security contractor, was giving totally conflicting, misleading and concocted details leading up to Benghazi catastrophe.

A story under the headline "CBS to Correct Erroneous Report on Benghazi" was published in the New York Times on Nov 9, 2013. The story says:"As it prepared to broadcast a rare on-air correction Sunday for a now-discredited '60 Minutes' report, CBS News acknowledged on Friday that it had suffered a damaging blow to its credibility. Its top executive called the segment 'as big a mistake as there has been' in the 45-year-old history of the celebrated news program."

According to the NYT story, "The executive, Jeff Fager, conceded that CBS appeared to have been duped by the primary source for the report, a security official who told a national television audience a harrowing tale of the attack last year at the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya."

The NYT news story went on to say:"On Thursday night it was disclosed that the official, Dylan Davies, had provided a completely different account in interviews with FBI, in which he said he never made it to the mission that night."

Now it is obvious that, unfortunately, CBS and its "60 Minutes" have become a victim of a wrong and misleading "source".

Yes, the Oct 27 story on "60 Minutes" was focused on Benghazi catastrophe, and the wrong and misleading "source" was interviewed with much more fanfare by its correspondent, Lara Logan. At that time, the "60 Minutes" had created a big sensation in the American media. But that sensation cost CBS dear and now it had to issue a public mea culpa for the journalistic blunder.

The bottom line of the CBS fiasco is: You have to double check the credibility and authenticity of the primary "source" before going to air or print.

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