NY Mag Hit With $25M Lawsuit Over Years-Old Lara Logan, CBS Story

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Former CBS correspondent Lara Logan wants a lot of payback for a five-year-old New York magazine story on her and a retracted “60 Minutes” report regarding 2012’s Benghazi attack.

Logan on Friday sued NY Mag and writer Joe Hagan, who wrote the 6,000 word article on Logan titled “Benghazi and the Bombshell” that appeared in a May 2014 issue of the magazine, seeking $25 million in damages. Hagan is now a staff writer at Vanity Fair. She filed the federal lawsuit in Texas, her current home state, accusing the magazine of publishing and Hagan of writing “disgraceful, click-bait, sensationalist, egregious misstatements simply to sell magazines.”

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Beyond that, Logan argued that they did so because the magazine and Hagan “had an ax to grind against CBS and its former chairman and ceo, Leslie Moonves,” so the purported “hit piece” on her was a means to that “nefarious” end. Although the lawsuit does not state what “ax” NY Mag had, it claims the broad motivation was to “embarrass Moonves” and “raise questions” about his judgment.

Logan told the court in her complaint that NY Mag and Hagan “should be punished for their unlawful actions and a very strong message needs to be sent to other so-called ‘journalists’ to prevent them from acting in a similar way.”

Such a demand stems from Logan’s claim that her more than a decade as a reporter and then foreign correspondent for CBS News and “60 Minutes” was derailed by NY Mag and Hagan’s story. It covered Logan’s rise as a reporter, her success and ambition, but the focus was on what it called “a deeply flawed 60 Minutes report” regarding a 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, and an account it included of the events by a source. Hagan wrote that the sourced account “was soon revealed to be made up almost of whole cloth” and that the source “had invented the story to sell a book.” The Benghazi attack became a lightning rod issue for the 2016 presidential election, with Republicans placing blame on Hillary Clinton, who was Secretary of State at the time of the attack. Logan took issue with more than 30 points and statements in Hagan’s piece, from context to quotes by his sources to her account of being assaulted and raped in 2011 on assignment in Egypt, which she claims Hagan incorrectly characterized as her being “groped.” She called these elements of the story “false and defamatory.”

Logan even pointed to a story Hagan wrote on Clinton in 2013, “Hillary in Midair,” calling it “glowing, apologetic.” She claims this article shows a “pro-Clinton bias” on Hagan’s part and that such purported bias “bled through and corrupted his views about” her. She also claimed that she reported her “60 Minutes” story on the Benghazi attack for a year, that the sourced account of the incident she reported was “thoroughly researched,” and that CBS “fully vetted” the story and it was approved. Despite CBS retracting the report after it aired (and publications like The Washington Post and The New York Times delved into its accuracy), Logan argued that decision “was driven by politics.”

“The Benghazi report contradicted the narrative that al Qaeda was on the run,” the complaint reads.

She also argued that her report is still largely correct, save for the account of the one source. As for why she subsequently went on “CBS This Morning” to explain why the piece had been retracted, saying that “the truth is we made a mistake,” Logan claims she was directed to do so by Jeff Fager, then the producer of “60 Minutes.” He was forced to resign last year.

While Logan did not leave CBS until 2018, won an award in 2017 from the Alliance of Women in Media, just signed on with Fox News’ new streaming service Fox Nation to host a documentary series and this year worked with Sinclair Broadcast Group, she claims that Hagan’s 2014 story ruined her career at CBS, damaged her reputation as a journalist and led to her being “ostracized by colleagues and friends, by her employer… resulting in her vilification in the press and on social media.”

She also claims that despite making an annual salary of $2.15 million in 2015 (she started making $1.9 million a few years before and received three raises), she would have earned more in subsequent years were it not for “the Hagan Hit Piece” and the reaction to it by CBS leadership. This allegedly caused her to become only a part-time correspondent and get a contract that ended in 2018 and was not renewed, putting her salary at $750,000.

As such, Logan is seeking $25 million in damages “for the extreme insult, pain, embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering, anguish, destruction of her good name and professional reputation and financial loss caused by the defendants’ defamation and business disparagement.”

A spokeswoman for New York declined to comment and Hagan could not immediately be reached.

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