Months before the current uproar over the Benghazi story, 60 Minutes revealed itself as an unethical news organization, dedicated to covering up the conflicts of interest of its entertainment assets (note I don't use the word "journalist"). I revealed back in May a serious conflict of interest on the part of Lesley Stahl -- and CBS stonewalled over Stahlgate, then, and continues to stonewall to this day. In fact, CBS seems to be the Rand Paul of journalism -- the more you dig, the more you find out. It's not too late to force some honesty and transparency on Stahlgate
The basic story was this:
1. Lesley Stahl was serving on the Advisory board of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a foundation engaged in a hyper partisan policy fight, a foundation that, thanks to the wealth of one man, is more or less bankrolling the evisceration of government through its maniacal promotion of the phony debt and deficit "crisis". By using her name and professional title she was essentially blessing the Foundation's work and conferring on it legitimacy...at least elite legitimacy.
2. I wrote a letter to CBS, and encouraged others to email and call (including at this site) Jeff Fager and other CBS executives, demanding that Stahl resign from the board and that the episode be investigated internally. CBS stonewalled. It did not reply to appeals from a variety of people.
3. Magically, Stahl's name, then, disappeared from the list of the Foundation -- though the screenshot below survives
4. After Stahl's name was wiped off the Peterson list, CBS still refused to acknowledge the ethical violation. And refused to answer at all.
Honestly, I suspect this is a pretty simple: CBS is entirely comfortable covering up internal scandals and violations. It certainly would never have revealed a problem in the Benghazi story if there wasn't attention brought to it.
It could engage in the Stahlgate cover-up because no one else gave a shit-- none of the media "journalists" who I contacted -- perhaps because they found this example a bit uncomfortable to write about lest they be caught in similar circumstances.
This may not strike people as important an issue as the Benghazi story.
But, the importance is there: it's an example of the close relationship between celebrity and entertainment figures like Stahl, on the one hand, and powerful figures in the financial and political elite.
It never crossed Stahl's mind that serving on the Peterson Foundation board was improper -- because she, and others, inhabit a world where they just don't understand what their role as journalists is anymore.
So, perhaps, with the Benghazi story out there, pressure can be applied to have a transparent account of Stahlgate.
It's not too late:
Jeff Fager is the executive producer of CBS News. His telephone number is 212 975-1073. Call him.
Others to contact:
Senior VP, News Services
VP, News Operations
[note: due to time zone differences, I won't be able to answer questions until later this afternoon Eastern Time]