60 Minutes has been the subject of intense criticism for its since-retracted report on the September 2012 Benghazi attacks, including for the network's failure to disclose that the subject of its segment wrote a book for CBS' publishing arm. An examination of past 60 Minutes episodes finds two other instances this year in which the news program failed to disclose it was promoting a CBS-published book.
On October 27, 60 Minutes ran its now discredited segment featuring the story of security contractor Dylan Davies about the night of the attacks. The segment promoted Davies' book Embassy House, which was released two days after the story aired. During the segment, correspondent Lara Logan did not disclose that the book was published by CBS subsidiary Simon & Schuster. (The publisher has since pulled the book from shelves.)
Logan and Jeffrey Fager, CBS News chairman and 60 Minutes executive producer, both expressed regret to The New York Times over the lack of disclosure, with Logan calling it a “mistake” and an “oversight.” Still, 60 Minutes has yet to apologize on-air for failing to note the corporate connection.
The October 27 Benghazi segment wasn't the only time that CBS failed its own oversight standard when discussing books published by affiliated companies.
60 Minutes' prior broadcast on October 20 featured an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney two days before the release of his book Heart: An American Medical Odyssey. Heart is published by Simon & Schuster imprint Scribner. CBS and correspondent Sanjay Gupta did not disclose the connection during the interview.
60 Minutes also aired a May 12 segment about the heroic rescue of Jessica Buchanan from Somali pirates by SEAL Team Six. Buchanan's book, Impossible Odds, was published by Simon & Schuster's Atria Publishing Group and released two days after the 60 Minutes segment. CBS and correspondent Scott Pelley did not disclose the connection during the report.
The venerable news program is perfectly capable of making the short and painless disclaimer about a book's corporate connections, as it has shown in the past.
On November 4, 2012, Morley Safer profiled author David McCullough and noted that his books are “published by Simon and Schuster, a company owned by CBS.” The segment and disclosure was repeated on June 30, 2013.
On April 29, 2012, Lesley Stahl reported on former CIA official Jose Rodriguez's new book defending torture or “harsh interrogation techniques,” and noted his Threshold Editions book was “published by the CBS company Simon and Schuster.” 60 Minutes also aired disclosures in 2012 regarding Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography (the segment originally aired in October 2011), and Arnold Schwartzeneger's autobiography.