Saturday, November 9, 2013

CBS Retracts Benghazi Report: Another Black Eye for State-Corporate Media

It is Rathergate redux, another ugly retraction of a highly inflammatory political story by the CBS news program that presents itself as the gold standard of American journalism. In fast-breaking events the network was forced to repudiate its recent report on what really happened at Benghazi during that ugly night of September 11, 2012.  The tale told by Lara Logan was based on the account of a private security contractor (translation: a mercenary) named Dylan Davies who conveniently happened to have just had a book published by a CBS subsidiary Simon & Schuster under the product line of Threshold Editions which primarily peddles right-wing rot. The book entitled The Embassy House written under the pseudonym of Sergeant Morgan Jones was the basis for the 60 Minutes piece where the exploits of Jones/Davies were given a legitimate forum for a shocking eyewitness account that was a fantasy.  The “contractor” claimed to have been on the spot that night, engaged in some Jason Bourne style fighting with the attackers, allegedly killing one and then sneaked into the hospital to view the body of the murdered U.S. ambassador Christopher Stephens, according to the promo for the book which was described by the  publisher as an insider account where: “the embassy’s secret access that no one but Jones knew about – and that allowed him entry as the savage firefight raged on” and promises readers “Jones’s discovery of the murdered ambassador’s body and his confirmation that the killing was indeed targeted and sadistically brutal”. It was all hogwash and tepid hogwash at that.

The inconsistencies between the Jones/Davies account that CBS was pimping were so blatant that one wonders how such a ‘reputable’ news program could have made such amateurish blunders in vetting the damned thing prior to airing it. The book and CBS report both ignored accounts that contradicted the story by the merc’s employer Blue Mountain (he said that he lied to them) as well as an account that was provided to the FBI. Whoops, game over. On Friday morning Lara Logan appeared on the program CBS This Morning to personally apologize for the false story and the network has since issued a retraction, an apology and will reportedly air a corrected version this Sunday. Simon & Shuster/Threshold has also announced that it is pulling the book and requesting that stores return their copies which likely will be pulped and dumped into some toxic landfill where such garbage belongs. Another shining example of just dismal that the media has become in this desecrated country.

It will be interesting to see whether the FOX News, red state fascist, Republican dead-enders will own up to the lies of the 60 Minutes Benghazi ‘scoop’ now that it has been debunked and retracted. It wasn’t really that long ago when they pranced around with the scalp of a bowed and beaten Dan Rather on a stick after the notorious 2004 piece on how then president George W. Bush weaseled his way out of Nam into a National Guard unit in Alabama and rarely bothered to show up and his records "scrubbed" was similarly retracted. I would imagine that there will just be some sort of conspiracy theory floated that the Obama administration threatened CBS to pull the story and quite honestly given the Nixonian nature of Barry's war on journalists I can see how this could be believed by some outside of the normal right-wing media bubble. As much as I detest the false equivalence that so thoroughly permeates the corrupt mainstream media I am not just trying to kick Republicans and conservatives in the balls as the entire national media is complicit when it comes to selling the lies of the state, pushing for wars and engaging in political chicanery. This is why I avoid the American media like it were the black plague and get my news from foreign sources, aggregator websites that have proven reliable over the years and only use the domestic press for context and to see what the propaganda meme of the day is.

But as far as 60 Minutes goes, whether it was Dan Rather getting burned on forged documents about Dubya’s National Guard service or  a scandal merchant with a pseudonym pimping a book about the murder of ambassador Christopher Stephens CBS’s flagship program has now been punked again and no matter how many apologies, retractions and rebroadcasts it engages in the credibility is done and to anyone with any sense it’s not coming back. I can remember when the show used to be relevant instead of a forum for celebrity worship, the burnishing of the image of war criminals like Dick Cheney and a vital piece of the neocon Lie Factory. Back in the day the show actually WAS a great example of serious investigative journalism but that was before actually news reportage became subservient to corporate profits. The Michael Mann movie The Insider with Al Pacino and Russell Crowe is an excellent portrayal of how CBS began to stray from legitimacy when a report by tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand was censored by network management. It’s well worth the two hours spent to watch it.

Logan is probably doomed at CBS but there is always hope for recycled hacks who were caught pushing right-wing propaganda. Maybe  she can join disgraced Syrian war shill Elizabeth O’Bagy in a second act on Senator John McCain’s staff.  This all probably will work out in her favor rather than her main claim to fame being that she was gang-raped in Egypt during the Arab Spring uprising she now can hang her hat on the discredited 60 Minutes Benghazi story.  CBS, as it did in the aftermath of Rathergate will need to offer up a blood sacrifice for this latest debacle which as described by top executive Jeff Fager is "as big a mistake as there has been" in the history of the program.  This puts a huge ding in the (undeserved) credibility of the program and will need to be addressed in order to keep the advertisers and investors placated. When the heads eventually roll and the resignations are tendered it will be surprising of Logan isn't among the casualties.

The next question is will Senator Lindsay Graham, the princess of the Palmetto State  also retract his latest bitch fit threatening to filibuster all Obama nominations as he did when he called a press conference the day after the October 27th ‘bombshell’ story?  Not likely, he will just slither onto the Sunday morning propaganda shows again tomorrow with the usual liars and scumbags, spin the CBS retraction to his benefit and begin the jeremiads against any deal with Iran to normalize relations with the U.S. It has already been well promulgated that Israeli megalomaniac Bibi Netanyahu has blown his stack over an impending deal and likely now plans to muster all of his congressional cat paws to torpedo any such agreement. It is bad enough to live in a country that is totally controlled by corporations, predatory financial gambling houses and a fascist element intent at eradicating privacy for all but it is even worse when foreign countries have become power brokers that are able to use their payrolled whores in D.C. to trump the will of American citizens by pushing for more wars that only they benefit from.

It sucks to be us in these sordid times of imperial collapse and tainted institutions and the worst is yet to come.