Spies in the House of Journalism
Old friend — and cowboy movie star — Gene Lyons makes an essential point today about the whole Lara Logan-60 Minutes mess regarding the Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! hoax in which CBS was so gleefully complicit. The whole thing essentially was an exercise in checkbook journalism from the start, because Super Counterterrorist Guy had a book deal from another company in the CBS empire, and what a company it is, too.
Exactly how generous an advance Simon & Schuster’s “Threshold Editions” bestowed upon Davies for his heroic tale about singlehandedly fighting his way into the besieged U.S. compound where Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three fellow Americans were killed by a terrorist mob hasn’t been revealed. Presumably enough, however, to give the one-time British mercenary ample reason to concoct a narrative pleasing to its readers’ expectations. Having previously published books by such innovators in the art of storytelling as Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and Jerome Corsi, Threshold editors would appear to be less than rigorous about fact-checking. So excuse me for saying so, but that makes Davies virtually a paid source, and 60 Minutes a practitioner of checkbook journalism that could ruin its well-deserved reputation.
You’re excused, Gene.
Threshold, which is run by the inexcusable Mary Matalin, exists only so that the CBS corporation can break off a piece of the lucrative rube market. It exists primarily to produce and sell wingnut propaganda. It exists so that otherwise unpublishable conservatives won’t scream and yell about how nasty liberal publishing elites are keeping them down. Through a combination of corporate cowardice and corporate avarice, the long march of the “Liberal Media” hoax has resulted in an independent information economy totally devoted to weaponized bullshit. The idea that a lunatic faker like Jerome Corsi isn’t yet reduced to stapling his writings to lamp posts but, instead, gets actual book deals under the umbrella of a legacy house like Simon and Schuster makes the whole thing kind of a mad masterpiece when you think about it. But it extends beyond Matalin and it extends beyond CBS and this one story.