"60 Minutes" issued a brief on-air apology and correction on Sunday for its botched and mishandled report on the Benghazi attacks, but gave few details about the failures that led to its retraction of a piece it had staunchly defended.
Speaking about Dylan Davies, the discredited man at the heart of her piece, correspondent Lara Logan told viewers, "We realized we had been misled, and it was a mistake to include him in our report. For that, we are very sorry."
The venerable program was forced into an embarrassing retreat after it had defended itself for a week about the reliability of Davies, a British security officer. On Thursday night, it emerged that Davies—who had already admitted to lying to a superior about his whereabouts on the night of the attack—had also told the FBI he had been nowhere near the American compound when it took place, a statement completely at odds with the detailed, harrowing tale he told "60 Minutes."
It was the second on-air apology delivered by Logan. On Friday, she went on television to say that she was "wrong" to have put Davies on air.
Predictably, her Sunday mea culpa offered little insight into why Davies was chosen as the key source for the report, and why "60 Minutes" had so fervently defended him, even amid mounting evidence of his unreliability. Also unmentioned was what role, if any, corporate ties played in placing Davies at the heart of the piece. A conservative imprint of Simon and Schuster, which is also owned by CBS, had published a book about Benghazi by Davies. That book has since been recalled.
Many media observers pronounced themselves to be less than impressed:
Well, my prediction was accurate. A minimalist correction and apology from @60Minutes tonight. The very least they could admit to.
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) November 11, 2013
A show w/ reporting legacy of 60 Minutes should have turned its reporting muscle back on itself to explain to viewers what happened, and why
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) November 11, 2013
'Report surfaced. We learned Thursday night. . . ' No mention that other reporters turned those items up. Not classy.
— mark seibel (@markseibel) November 11, 2013
CBS National Guard story: 4 fired producers, 1 demoted anchor, 1 canceled TV show (60 Mins II). Benghazi story? a 90 section 'correction'
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) November 11, 2013
"60 Minutes"apology not required.Answers to these questions are: Why did this happen? How will it never happen again? (Well?)
— vernejgay (@vernejgay) November 11, 2013
The retraction feels like it should have been longer, given magnitude of the mistake. Leaves many questions unanwered
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) November 11, 2013
mistakes were made #60Minutes
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) November 11, 2013
Have a feeling 60 Minutes is going to wish that apology had more time devoted to a commitment to act differently and less to sad feelings.
— Linda Holmes (@nprmonkeysee) November 11, 2013
Will be up to other journos to force CBS to do "60 Minutes" probe--clearly CBS terrified of it & where it will lead. http://t.co/huQdAK2NGe
— Greg Mitchell (@GregMitch) November 11, 2013
A few thoughts on 60 Minutes/Lara Logan's feebly bogus "correction" http://t.co/JUedT4SpMK
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 11, 2013
Media Matters, which led the charge against the report, issued a statement from its founder David Brock, who called the apology "wholly inadequate and entirely self-serving."