'60 Minutes' apology shows CBS News is 'not used to the openness of the new environment'

PBS NewsHour

On PBS NewsHour Tuesday night, Poynter's Kelly McBride and the American Press Institute's Tom Rosenstiel talked with Jeffrey Brown about "60 Minutes" recently apologizing for its Benghazi reporting.

"CBS deserves credit for admitting that they made a mistake," Rosenstiel said. "That's unusual in broadcast." But CBS' apology didn't outline exactly what it had done wrong, he said.

So there isn't really transparency here. And the problem for CBS is, when you make a mistake like this, you need to get out in front of it. You need to be your harshest critic, or people will keep pecking away at you, and there will be segments like this.

In such an apology, "you need to say exactly what went wrong," McBride said. "And I think you also need to tell people how you're going to fix the problem, how you're going to not let whatever it was went wrong happen again."

CBS News is "a 20th century news organization that aspires to these old standards of truthfulness and responsibility," Rosenstiel said. "And they're caught here because now everybody can look at them, criticize them. And they're not used to the openness of the new environment."

Related: Al Tompkins: "CBS explained nothing" | How the ’60 Minutes’ Benghazi debacle is similar, different than Rathergate | 60 Minutes apologizes for botched Benghazi report: A timeline

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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