Sunday, November 10, 2013


On 60 Minutes tonight, Lara Logan issued a brief apology for her October 27 report on Benghazi, which featured the testimony of a lying witness; media critics are already declaring the apology inadequate. Logan's report was tied to the publication of a book by the now-discredited witness -- a book that was published, two days after the report aired, by Threshold Editions, a right-wing imprint of Simon & Schuster, which is part of CBS, Inc., and which was founded by former Dick Cheney aide Mary Matalin. (The book has since been withdrawn.)

I've always been curious about the timing of Simon & Schuster's decision to give Matalin an imprint in the first place. The existence of Threshold was announced in March 2005. CBS was under great pressure in early 2005 from the right after George W. Bush's reelection. The Dan Rather National Guard story had aired in September 2004. The panel convened by CBS to investigate the story issued its report in January 2005. And then heads rolled:
CBS terminated [producer] Mary Mapes and demanded the resignations of 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard and Howard's top deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy, as well as Senior Vice President Betsy West, who had been in charge of all prime time newscasts. Murphy and West resigned on February 25, 2005 ... Josh Howard resigned on March 25, 2005....

Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, stated "Dan Rather has already apologized for the segment and taken responsibility for his part in the broadcast. He voluntarily moved to set a date to step down from the 'CBS Evening News' in March of 2005."
So many personnel changes happened in February and March 2005. Matalin's imprint was announced on March 22.

Coincidence? I don't know. Did the company give an imprint to a Cheney aide at that time in the hopes of appeasing the Bush administration?

It's true that other mainstream publishers were establishing right-wing imprints around the same time -- Crown Forum at Random House, Sentinel at Penguin. But they weren't headed by former GOP operatives.

So did Lara Logan-gate have its roots in a corporate overreaction to right-wing anger at Rathergate? Hard to say, but maybe.


Phil Perspective said...

And what does it say about James Carville? Nothing good.

Unknown said...

Yeah, Phil. Good point. I have long found Mary Matalin vile, but Carville's continued presence on national news programs is in a number of ways more disturbing. This is all a game to both of them. Either that, or there is simply no one else in the entire universe capable of loving him. And I could believe that, as well.

Victor said...

They both make money off of politics, so it's all good - for THEM!

And you almost can't blame publishers for starting Reich-Wing publishing arms. With the bulk-buying that goes on to push THEIR books to the top of the best-sellers lists, and publishing company would be derelict in it duties to its shareholders by NOT taking advantage of the rubes.

Of course, that's also part of the problem in this country:
No decisions based on merit, only on profit.

Danp said...

What a deceptive apology last night. Logan says the report "included" Davies, not that he was the entire feature using a different name. Nor does she explain the conflict of his claims. I wonder if Matalin wrote the apology for her.

Roger said...

Speculation? It is impossible not to. -- P. Nooners