Open Thread: The BenghazAIEEE! Pitch

Before ‘pitch’ meant ‘to sell a story’, it was proverbially a substance that stuck to and befouled anything — or anyone — it touched. Back in a time where one’s reputation was a commodity as precious and fragile as a maiden’s virginity, my grandmothers warned me to avoid any contact with schoolmates reputed to be of dubious character, because “pitch sticks”.

To those who fling it as well as those at whom it is flung, perhaps. A couple of weeks ago, at the height of the 60 Minutes unraveling, Gawker announced that “Lara Logan’s Husband Was a Propagandist for the U.S. Military”:

Everyone wants to know: Why did CBS correspondent Lara Logan trust Dylan Davies, the now-discredited security contractor, and the story he told 60 Minutes about the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya? It’s truly mystifying—unless, that is, you know about her last significant lapse in professional judgement involving a security contractor.

Many people know that in 2008 Logan married Joseph W. Burkett, a defense contractor she met while stationed in Baghdad to cover the Iraq War for CBS News. Logan and Burkett were both married to other people when they became involved, and the story of their war-zone love affair—complete with reports of a brawl between Burkett and CNN’s Michael Ware, another rival for Logan’s affections—lit up the tabloids at the time.

What most people don’t know, however, is the nature of Burkett’s work in Iraq. He was an employee of the Lincoln Group, a now-shuttered “strategic communications and public relations firm” hired by the Department of Defense in 2005 to plant positive stories written by American soldiers in Baghdad newspapers during the Iraq War…

CBS News never saw fit to disclose that one of its star war correspondents became romantically involved with a man who was paid by the U.S. government to manipulate civilian public opinion about the disastrous war in Iraq. Nor has Burkett’s background ever been reported in much detail…

The story has now percolated upwards in the Very Serious Media ecosystem to the point where Newsweek, wrapped in the rags of its old-media credibility, has decided to just-raise-questions about “Lara Logan’s Mystery Man” — not her discredited on-air ‘source’, but her spouse:

… [O]thers who claim to have known Burkett in Baghdad paint a starkly different portrait of the former enlisted man… According to a source intimately familiar with his family, Burkett routinely implied, without foundation, that he was a key player in classified operations in Iraq.

“He’s what we call a puffer – he puffs himself up,” said the source, on condition of anonymity. He alluded to top-secret work, but he didn’t make as much money as a truck driver over there. He had some kind of miniscule position… he was kind of an errand person or something like that.”…

Shades of Mr. Valerie Plame, Scooter!

The State Department and CIA have conducted extensive internal investigations that, to unbiased observers, persuasively debunk charges of an orchestrated cover-up of the events in Benghazi…

So — what was the point of this semi-demi-hemi-quasi ratfvcking? Whose reputation was supposed to be permanently fouled here? Logan? Seems like an offseason waste of a potentially valuable ‘resource’. CBS? The Twenty-Sever-Percenters didn’t trust the ‘lamestream media’ even before Libya. President Obama? Again, awful lot of effort when the putative audience doesn’t need it and his defenders, quite correctly, won’t believe it. Hillary Clinton? Ditto, squared. Darrell Issa? That guy has gleefully wallowed in so much pitch he’s waterproof. Grandstanding Lindsey Graham?…

14 replies
  1. 1
    scav says:

    What a wonderful word, Pitch. It goes with yaw and degrees of angular freedom, it goes with singing, it goes with playing field and I just learned it goes with the distance between turns of a screw thread. All somehow apt. Best of all, it goes with pitchfork.

  2. 2
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Logan and Burkett were both married to other people when they became involved, and the story of their war-zone love affair—complete with reports of a brawl between Burkett and CNN’s Michael Ware, another rival for Logan’s affections—lit up the tabloids at the time.

    Good to see that journalists are living up to their high school-level of maturity. “NO, SHE LIKES MEEE MORE!!!!1!!1”

  3. 3
    Amir Khalid says:

    The Al Gorithm* hasn’t woken up to me enough to quit showing me John Cornyn’s fundraising ads. Plus, I’m not seeing that ad.

    *See what I did there?

  4. 4
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I keep waiting for someone I trust to write up a good concise take on Benghazi. For the life of me I can’t figure what the scandal is supposed to be. Which, I realize, is exactly the point for Pittypat Graham. Keep repeating “I have questions/I’m not satisfied”, the Wurlitzer keeps cranking. I didn’t see the 60 Minutes piece, and it was largely debunked within 48 hours, but what point was the guy trying to make? That the US should have known “something” was going to happen? Isn’t that why Stephens was there, because he was worried the shit was gonna hit the fan?

    Also curious that Logan’s sloppy reporting got so much heat, while Jonathan Karl’s at best equally sloppy, more likely partisan rat-fucking with GOP Hill staffers, got nary a raised eyebrow.

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    Damn you, Miami.

  6. 6
    Cassidy says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: According to wingers, the scandal is that Obama personally ordered Special Forces ninjas, who were just lying around all kitted up for something, to not go and rescue the brave, true Americans.

  7. 7
    fuckwit says:

    media are whores for capital. no news here. sledgehammer your tv, wendy o. williams stylee.

  8. 8
    JPL says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The President allowed the terrorists to win in Benghazi, in order to cover up for the failures of Obamacare.

  9. 9

    Lara Logan, another of Jon Stewart’s favorites. I remember a couple of gushing interviews.

  10. 10
    geg6 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Yup. He has become exactly that which he once mocked.

  11. 11
    Patrick says:

    I trust that Lara Logan will be fired very soon just like Dan Rather was. Any other outcome looks very bad. I’m assuming CBS still at least pretends to care about its reputation.

  12. 12

    @geg6: Well she is purty plus that accent.

  13. 13
    Cervantes says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I remember a couple of gushing interviews.

    Well, to be fair, some of the work she did in Iraq was good, even courageous at the time.

  14. 14
    Dave says:

    Jon Stewart has a crush on her that’s all. I’m guilty of the same behavior at times. Some women hit me hard and I have almost no ability to form a clear judgement of them until some distance has been achieved. Jon Stewart seems to be the same way. And I think she was captured by the intensity and incestuousness of life in the bubble.

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