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Probe urged after CBS News airs false Benghazi account

Published: Updated:

CBS News faces mounting calls for an investigation into how its flagship program “60 Minutes” aired a false witness account of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

“CBS News is under mounting pressure to launch an independent investigation into how 60 Minutes came to mislead its audience in an October 27th report that relied almost exclusively on a source they knew was an admitted liar,” Media Matters of America, a U.S.-based non-governmental organization, said Monday on its website.

The report by CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan centered around the witness account of “Morgan Jones,” whose real name is Dylan Davies, a security guard with the Blue Mountain Group, a British firm that was responsible for monitoring the U.S. diplomatic mission.

Davies said he was present during the attack, in which four Americans, including ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.

However, four days after the program was aired, the Washington Post challenged Davies’s account.

The newspaper said he had previously told the Blue Mountain Group, in an official incident report, that he was nowhere near the U.S. embassy at the time.

Calls to investigate Logan’s report are mounting, despite the award-winning correspondent apologizing twice.

“We realized we had been misled, and it was a mistake to include him in our report. For that, we are very sorry. The most important thing to every person at 60 Minutes is the truth, and the truth is we made a mistake,” she said on CBS on Nov. 10.

Media Matters founder David Brock described the apology as “wholly inadequate and entirely self-serving.”
Brock repeated his call for CBS to appoint an independent commission to investigate the report, which has been retracted.

MSNBC host Ed Schultz and his guests called for an independent investigation into CBS. “The media’s on trial here, too,” said one guest.

According to The Guardian, “CBS has refused to order an investigation under the apparent belief that having apologized, the furor would now die down.”

A CBS spokesman had previously said in a statement that “as soon as we had confirmation of a problem with this report... we issued a statement to that effect; we then went on the air Friday morning to address it, correct it and apologize, spoke at length to media outlets about the matter and now have explained it to our audience in a correction on our broadcast.”

This is not the first time that CBS is facing a debacle after erroneous reporting.

In 2004, it appointed an independent investigation over the authenticity of documents used in a report challenging former U.S. President George W. Bush’s service during the Vietnam War.