CBS News Chairman and EP of “60 Minutes” Jeff Fager held a meeting with show staffers on December 5, according to POLITICO, where he answered questions about the botched report and indicated he didn’t know how long Logan and her producer would be off-air. Read more
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CBS News chairman Jeff Fager held meeting with “CBS This Morning” staffers Tuesday and took questions about the botched “60 Minutes” report, Politico’s Dylan Byers reports. Correspondent Lara Logan and her producer Max McClellan are on a leave of absence, following the results of an internal report on their discredited story. Logan was notably absent from Sunday’s “60 Minutes” open.
Fager said he did not know how long Logan and her producer would be on leave, and made no indication that they would be asked to resign in the wake of the now-retracted report, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Those sources said Fager defended Logan as a valuable member of the ’60 Minutes’ team even as he acknowledged the erroneous nature of the report. “He did not throw her under the bus,” one source said of Fager’s remarks about Logan.
Logan was supposed to host for the event put on by the Committee to Protect Journalists, but dropped out over the controversy of her discredited “60 Minutes” report. Earlier in the day CBS Chairman Jeff Fager announced Logan and her producer Max McClellan were put on a leave of absence following the release of an internal report that found the Benghazi report “deficient in several respects.”
Pelley did not speak about the “60 Minutes” controversy at the awards ceremony, but TIME Inc. Chief Content Officer Norman Pearlstine did, defending Logan, and suggesting more of the blame should be shouldered by Logan’s editor.
“I tend to think that more often than not it is really the editor, sitting behind the desk directing the reporter, who is more at fault and more to blame than the reporter,” Pearlstine said. “It is often a very difficult task when a story gets an extraordinary head of steam to stop it, and yet that, quite often, is really the way that editors do protect journalists. “
Ecuadorean television reporter Janet Hinostroza, Egyptian television host and satirist Bassem Youssef, Turkey’s investigative journalist Nedim Sener, and Vietnam blogger Nguyen Van Hai all received awards.
In an email to staff, obtained by TVNewser, CBS News chairman Jeff Fager writes, “I have asked Lara Logan, who has distinguished herself and has put herself in harm’s way many times in the course of covering stories for us, to take a leave of absence, which she has agreed to do. I have asked the same of producer Max McClellan, who also has a distinguished career at CBS News.”
Fager, who is also the executive producer of “60 Minutes” is taking some of the blame for the report. “I am responsible for what gets on the air. I pride myself in catching almost everything, but this deception got through and it shouldn’t have.”
“This was a regrettable mistake,” Fager continues. “But there are many fine professionals at 60 Minutes who produce some of the very best of broadcast journalism, covering the important and interesting stories of our times, and they will continue to do so each and every Sunday.”
Fager’s memo after the jump…
CBS News correspondent Lara Logan is defending her reporting on the 9/11/12 attacks at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi amid a firestorm of criticism over the conflicting stories of the main subject of the Oct. 27 “60 Minutes” report.
Logan interviewed Dylan Davies — who used the pseudonym Morgan Jones as the author of new book on the subject, and in his interview with CBS. What Davies writes in the book is not consistent with an incident report attributed to Davies. But Davies told the Daily Beast he didn’t write that report
“If you read the book, you would know he never had two stories. He only had one story,” Logan tells the NYTimes‘ Bill Carter. She says the criticism is political. “We worked on this for a year,” she tells Carter. “We killed ourselves not to allow politics into this report.”
One regret about the report: Logan and her boss CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” EP Jeff Fager say they should have revealed that Davies’ book, “The Embassy House” was published by Threshold Editions, part of the Simon and Schuster unit of CBS Corp.
“Honestly, it never factored into the story. It was a mistake; we should have done it, precisely because there’s nothing to hide. It was an oversight.”
In a “60 minutes Overtime” piece, Kroft and Fager (now chairman of CBS News and EP of “60 Minutes”) recall the correspondent’s first year on the job, and his two and a half decade career at the iconic CBS newsmagazine.
On Tuesday “60 Minutes” celebrated its 45th birthday. The show debuted on CBS Tuesday, Sept. 24, 1968. Its success over the years brought on many imitators and even led Rupert Murdoch to once inquire about buying the show and bringing it to FOX.
This Sunday, the dean of the TV newsmagazines begins season number 46 on CBS. “60 Minutes” EP Jeff Fager who is also the chairman of CBS News, explains show creator Don Hewitt‘s vision for the show like this: “Why can’t you put Marilyn Monroe in the same broadcast as an interview with the president.” (Watch after the jump)
This Sunday, the mix of stories includes Scott Pelley‘s interview with Secretary of State John Kerry; Steve Kroft’s report on schizophrenia, the sometimes violent illness that the Washington Navy Yard shooter showed symptoms of; and Norah O’Donnell‘s profile of Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, including details of his new book “Killing Jesus.”
Charlie Rose was back in the anchor chair of “CBS This Morning” today talking about how he landed that wide-ranging interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As we reported yesterday, Rose and CBS News chairman Jeff Fager, Rose’s producer for the interview, traveled to the region late last week and secured the interview Sunday morning.
“I must say that Jeff and I found them, once we got there, they didn’t make any effort to change content, there was nothing off the record. There was no sense of, you can’t talk about this. None. I said, “This is going to be a very tough interview.” And they said “The president would like you to be that way.”
Rose says they crossed several check-points driving from Beirut to Damascus and had bullet-proof vests, but did not wear them. “But we didn’t have armed guards and all those kinds of things,” he told colleagues Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell.
“If we wanted a more stark demonstration of the differences in these shows, I think this morning is a perfect example,” Rhodes tells TVNewser. “We have done more Syria on this morning show than anyone,” says Rhodes. “And we’ve been rewarded for it by viewers.”
That “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose got the interview should not come as a surprise. He’d interviewed Assad before, and has been working for months to secure this interview as the Syrian civil war intensified. “He’s had a track record on this story for a long time,” says Rhodes. The entirety of the interview will air tonight on Rose’s PBS program.
Rhodes’ boss, CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager put on another hat this weekend: as Rose’s producer. “When you have a situation like this, you don’t know what you’re going to find when you get there,” says Rhodes. “There’s no substitute to having people there with the experience and confidence to confront that. That Jeff was able to go, is great”
Rose and Fager spent Saturday night in Damascus, before heading to the presidential palace Sunday morning. Hours later Rose was in Lebanon phoning into CBS’s Bob Schieffer breaking the news of his interview. That’s also around the time the White House first learned about it.
Which means it came as news to Rhodes’ younger brother, Ben Rhodes, who is the White House Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication.
When VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy landed in Pyongyang, North Korea in March, he and his crew were not greeted particularly warmly.
“We were on the bus from the airport to the hotel, and one of the minders sat down next to [VICE producer] Jason and I and said ‘I know who you are, I don’t like you, and I don’t like your company,’” Duffy recalled, at a screening of the season finale of “VICE” on HBO.
The VICE crew were engaged in a game of gonzo journalism with the North Korean regime, conceived when VICE co-founder Shane Smith and a colleague were on a train traveling through Siberia, looking to shoot footage on North Korean labor camps. Smith was banned from returning to North Korea after the documentaries he shot were viewed by the government.
“The reality of it was that I saw what everybody else saw,” Smith said. “We wanted to see something that wasn’t shot, that wasn’t out there, that wasn’t the same tour over and over again.”
They decided that the key to getting into the country, and seeing a side of it that hadn’t been seen, was through basketball diplomacy, knowing that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was a huge Chicago Bulls fans.
“We reached out to a few Chicago Bulls, and [Dennis] Rodman said yes,” Smith recalled. “Michael Jordan’s camp was not interested, I believe.”