As controversy over the discredited 60 Minutes Benghazi story continues to mount, Media Matters posted a comprehensive timeline this Thursday of events leading up to CBS pulling the story, after its main subject was found to be less than truthful in regards to his account of the fateful attack.
According to Media Matters’ timeline of events, here’s how the 60 Minutes disaster unfolded:
October 27: The 60 Minutes Report Goes on the Air
Featuring an “eyewitness account” from British security contractor Dylan Davies (who went under the pseudonym of Morgan Jones), the report’s subject told a tale of how he scaled a 12-foot wall — even knocking out a terrorist with the butt of his rifle — to race to the scene of the attack. He then went on to claim that he viewed slain U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens’ body in a Libyan hospital.
According to MM, “the 60 Minutes report also rehashed old myths about Benghazi, including invoking the “lingering question” about why no U.S. military forces from outside the country were able to help the embattled diplomatic facilities the night of the attacks.”
October 28-30: GOP Lawmakers and Conservative Media Praise CBS
Fox latched onto the story, immediately promoting it as vindication to the Benghazi narrative the network had been promoting for over a year. MM reports that “Fox would devote more than 13 segments over 11 different shows to the CBS report, totaling more than 47 minutes of coverage.”
Special Report host Bret Baier said that “[l]ast night, one of journalism’s heavy hitters reaffirmed what we knew and had reported on.” Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy praised CBS for “finally catching up” on the story, saying “60 Minutes doesn’t cover phony scandals.” Fox also used the 60 Minutes story to step up attacks against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the Benghazi debacle.
October 31-November 1: Flaws in the 60 Minutes Piece Begin to Emerge
In a hard-hitting piece from the Washington Post, it was revealed that Davies’ account of what happened differed greatly from a report he filed with his employer as a security contractor.
“In Davies’s 21 / 2-page incident report to Blue Mountain, the Britain-based contractor hired by the State Department to handle perimeter security at the compound, he wrote that he spent most of that night at his Benghazi beach-side villa,” Karen DeYoung of the Post wrote. “Although he attempted to get to the compound, he wrote in the report, ‘we could not get anywhere near . . . as roadblocks had been set up.’”
On November 1, Media Matters called on CBS to retract their story after the discrepancies in Davies’ account of happened that night in Benghazi became more apparent.
November 7-8: CBS Capitulates and Admits that Running the Davies Piece Was a Mistake
On the evening of November 7, the New York Times reported that Davies “gave the F.B.I. an account of the night that terrorists attacked the mission on Sept. 11, 2012 that contradicts a version of events he provided in a recently published book and in an interview [with 60 Minutes].”
CBS said they were “surprised to hear about [the Times report], and if it shows we’ve been misled, we will make a correction.” Soon afterwards, a statement on the CBS website appeared, saying that the network had “learned of new information that undercuts the account told to us by Morgan Jones of his actions on the night of the attack on the Benghazi compound. We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction.”
That night, CBS pulled the report from its Youtube channel. The following morning, CBS issued an apology, with 60 Minutes anchor Lara Logan saying, “We were wrong. We made a mistake.” Speaking of Dylan Davies, she said, “We were wrong to put him on air, and we apologize to our viewers.”
Watch 60 Minutes anchor Lara Logan make her apology on CBS This Morning in the video below: