‘The Proverbial Perfect Storm’ of Lara Logan’s Benghazi Report

By Merrill Knox Comment

LaraLogan304In an in-depth report for New York magazine, Joe Hagan pieces together “the proverbial perfect storm” that led to Lara Logan’s now-infamous Benghazi report on “60 Minutes” last year. The piece focuses on Jeff Fager’s leadership of “60 Minutes,” as well as Logan’s rapid rise at CBS News, reportedly orchestrated in part because CBS chairman Les Moonvessaw her “steely eyes, breathless delivery, and exotic accent as the raw material of a future star.”

Logan “delivered the kind of muscular reports that inoculated CBS against charges of a leftist agenda following the Rather incident, especially valuable in the patriotic climate after 9/11,” Hagan writes:

As Logan rose, however, Fager was left to manage the risk inherent in Moonves’s asset. Logan had a zealousness that could cross the line into recklessness, a confidence that could come off as arrogance. A common view among current and former colleagues (keeping in mind that not-for-attribution backbiting and Schadenfreude are a stock-in-trade of TV news) is that Logan’s star power blinded her superiors to her flaws. “She got everything she wanted, always, even when she was wrong, and that’s been going on since the beginning,” says a former CBS News producer who worked with her. 

And, with the wars finally winding down, the 2012 attack in Benghazi became the biggest journalistic prize, with the potential to bring down presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. It was the kind of story a reporter like Lara Logan would take risks to get. “It’s not an accident that Lara Logan fucked up,” says a colleague at CBS News. “It was inevitable. Everybody saw this coming.”

With the conclusion that Logan’s return to CBS “in recent weeks has not appeared certain,” Hagan ends the piece with an interesting tidbit on who may be waiting in the wings for “60 Minutes”:

So Lara Logan may, or may not, return in the fall season. Either way, the show must go on. Waiting in the wings is a new up-and-comer. Attractive, blonde, fluent in three foreign languages. Everybody is talking about 34-year-old Clarissa Ward. “Jeff’s very high on her,” says a 60 Minutes producer.