- - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Remember Lara Logan? The foreign war correspondent with the smoldering good looks who had risen to the pinnacle of CBS News, covering wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and uprisings in Egypt and Libya?

You’re no doubt not thinking, “Yeah, whatever happened to her?” But to catch you up, here’s the story:

Ms. Logan fell from grace after she produced a completely false report that ran on CBS’ iconic Sunday news program “60 Minutes.” Then, poof, she disappeared.

But she’s back. Sort of. New York magazine last week ran a piece on her stumble titled “Benghazi and the Bombshell — Is Lara Logan too toxic to return to '60 Minutes'?” The lengthy article was filled with praise for the hardworking reporter from South Africa, but also plenty of unpleasantness — her penchant for sexy clothing, her (some say unwarranted) rise to the top, her affair that was discovered when her boyfriend walked in on her and her new lover.

But she’s back for a reason, and the magazine wanted to make one point most clear: “As a journalist, Logan is a product of the Bush years, her career defined by America’s Middle East wars and the military personnel and military contractors who were her sources and friends,” wrote reporter Joe Hagan.


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Ms. Logan for years got inside access to the military, partly due to her charm, but also because of her tenacity and sheer fearlessness. Her pieces were almost always flattering to generals and enlisted men alike. CBS execs saw the coverage as useful — an “antidote,” the mag said. Her reports would give the network the appearance of fairness. How could CBS have a liberal bias if it ran Ms. Logan’s patriotic pieces?

Then the whole thing went FUBAR. Ms. Logan was offered a “first look” at a book titled “The Embassy House,” Mr. Hagan wrote. The book’s author was a former military contractor named Dylan Davies who claimed he was an eyewitness to the attack in Benghazi, which left the ambassador and three other Americans dead.

Without much fact-checking, CBS ran the story last October. But it turned out to be wrong — way wrong. Mr. Davies wasn’t there at all, didn’t see anything. In fact, he never mentioned any of the wild claims from his book when the FBI interviewed him.

Still, Ms. Logan wasn’t fired, she was put on indefinite leave, as was a producer. And the magazine piece ends by saying, “Lara Logan may, or may not, return in the fall season” and that “a well-placed source at CBS suggests that [network president Les Moonves] has soured on Logan.”

So a reporter failed at her core job — to gather facts, triple-check them, report the truth — and disappeared. Why the story?

Because the Left doesn’t want her to come back. She was, and is, unabashedly pro-military. But more, she’s toxic — at least to the liberal media. She said in October 2012, just as President Obama was seeking to sweep Benghazi under the rug during the run-up to the November election, that the administration was telling a “major lie” in claiming al Qaeda and the Taliban had been weakened.

“In your arrogance, you think you write the script,” she said of the president.

Media Matters responded to the magazine piece with an article titled “CBS Still Won’t Come Clean About Lara Logan And The Benghazi Debacle.”

“What the feature also does is remind us that, despite these internal critiques, CBS still refuses to be fully transparent about the controversy and the malpractice that was in play,” the website wrote.

“CBS is still dodging the question about partisan politics and how much of a driving force it might have been in Logan’s report. she had a history of producing ‘the kind of stories that kept '60 Minutes' immune to criticism from the right.’”

Salon weighed in with a reaction piece:

“It turns out that, according to New York magazine, Logan met with longtime Benghazi antagonist Sen. Lindsey Graham several times while researching her story, and Graham told her it was ‘a fair thing to say’ that there was a ‘buildup of al Qaeda types’ in Benghazi.”

Proof positive of conservative bias.

Now, as the House moves forward with the select committee investigation into Benghazi — partly because of a new email by a top White House aide who crafted talking points so the death of four Americans wouldn’t be deemed “a broader failure of policy” — the Left is looking to shut down the return of Ms. Logan.

The last thing the Left wants is a reporter who will tell it like it is. Sure, she got something wrong — badly wrong — but that’s the danger when you’re so far in front of the story. And Benghazi is a big story. The Left knows it. That’s why they’re trying so hard to kill Ms. Logan’s return.

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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