Lara Logan should not be let go by CBS News over her botched Benghazi report on 60 Minutes, former CBS newsman Dan Rather said in response to a question by CNN’s Piers Morgan. She should be judged by her body of work, said the former network news anchor who got pushed out of the network over a mangled CBS News report with which he was involved, back in 2004. Logan and producer Max McClellan are on a leave of absence over their report, based on now-discredited claims made by security contractor Dylan Davies that he witnessed the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
“In my opinion, clearly labeled: No,” Rather said Monday night on Morgan’s primetime show. “Whatever one thinks of what Lara Logan did, or didn’t do, with the story, in fairness it should be put against her whole record. She’s still a very young correspondent, but for a young correspondent she has a distinguished record — it should be seen in that context and that perspective,” said Rather. CBS News, he added, “has a lot to answer for this. There’s a lot of questions, and they’ve answered some of them.”
Logan’s bungling was worse than the mangled 2004 report on President George W. Bush’s National Guard service that famously got him pushed out of the same news organization years ago, Rather suggested. In that report, documents were cited alleging Bush got preferential treatment during his Texas Air National Guard service in the Vietnam era – documents the news division later said, after investigation, it could not authenticate. Three execs were let go and Rather retired as anchor of the CBS evening newscast, leaving the network entirely in ’06.
“With our story, the one that led to our difficulty, no question the story was true,” he told Morgan. “What the complaint was, was ‘Okay, your story was true, but where you got to the truth was flawed.’ That’s not the case with the Benghazi story. Unfortunately — and there’s no joy in saying it — they were taken in by a fraud.” Rather reiterated his suggestion CBS News execs should have shared in the blame with Logan and her producer.