By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The courage of Lara Logan

Lara Logan

Esquire’s Chris Jones has written a thoughtful post about the hazards of journalism following revelations that CBS News reporter Lara Logan was beaten and sexually assaulted during the celebration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square last Friday. I recommend it highly.

I think we tend to take the courage of celebrity television reporters for granted. Though we might understand that a newspaper reporter traveling outside the glare of the camera is running risks, TV reporters — with their crews, equipment and live feeds — can seem pretty much invulnerable. That is clearly not the case. As we know, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour had some hair-raising moments in Cairo.

Let me join those who are praising Logan not just for her courage and dedication in reporting the story for the benefit of us viewers at home, but also for letting it be known that she was sexually assaulted.

It’s a detail she could have kept to herself, and I suspect a lot of women would have done just that. But it’s important to our understanding of what happened, and she should be saluted for sharing it with us. (Via Don Van Natta Jr.)

U.S. Army photo via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Nancy Mades

    Lara Logan is a courageous woman and I pray for her swift and complete recovery.

  2. BP Myers

    I’ve typed a dozen drafts of what I want to say, however reading what happened to Nir Rosen, I think I’ll just say this: I’m waiting to hear more facts about this incident from objective third-parties.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @BP: For what it’s worth, all his tweets are here. Making light of sexual assault is a near-certain way to become unemployed at many institutions, especially colleges and universities. Although I can’t imagine tweeting anything so hideously inappropriate, I nevertheless find it chilling, because I can imagine giving in to the immediacy of Twitter and saying something I shouldn’t have. Indeed, I have, as has just about everyone else I know, though hardly on this level.

  3. Mike Benedict

    Kind of wondering where all those Fox analysts that have loudly complained about the US policy in Egypt have been while all this has erupted.

    Oh yeah … safe in their New York studios. Cowards.

  4. Christian Avard

    What amazes me is how so-called progressive activists and journalists can’t separate their own ideology from sexual assault. Nir Rosen is one of those. He used this incident as an opportunity to make dehumanizing sexual assault jokes about someone’s journalism he doesn’t like. What else does he say about women that we don’t know about? If he’s saying stuff like that on Twitter, what else is he saying about women off of Twitter? I don’t want to know. But I’m glad he’s being held accountable for his words.

  5. Donna Morris

    In a piece by Betsy Rothstein at FishbowlDC, Nir Rosen apologizes and responds to six questions:

  6. Sean Griffin

    Meanwhile, Logan’s assault warms conservative activist Debbie Schussel’s heart:

  7. Jeff Goldings

    Dan, I wholeheartedly share your sentiments on the courage and dedication of Lara Logan in reporting the Egyptian Revolution and Lara’s brave decision to come forward about her sexual assault by selected male protesters in Tahrir Square.
    Has there been independent, eyewitness confirmation of the media reports, summarized by CAMERA at, that members of the Egyptian mob that assaulted Lara were yelling “Jew, Jew, Jew” during her assault? If such an anti-Semitic rant occurred during Lara’s assault and was heard by CBS News employees and security personnel helping Lara cover the story, why has CBS News, thus far, declined to confirm this important detail? If the anti-Semitic rants of the Egyptian mob did not occur during Lara’s assault, then isn’t it the responsibility of CBS News to deny these media reports of anti-Semitic taunts leveled by the perpetrators of the assault against Lara?

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Jeff: I share your concern that protesters were yelling “Jew! Jew! Jew!” at Logan. Unfortunately, so far it seems that the only news organization reporting on this is the New York Post, hardly a credible source. The others, I believe, are referencing the Post. I’d like to see more digging on this.

      I’m reminded that Iraqis upset by the presence of U.S. troops have at times also denounced Americans as “Jews.” It is truly a lovely part of the world, isn’t it?

  8. LFNeilson

    This incident underlines the danger that journalists face. The number of journalists killed on the job has escalated dramatically in recent years.

  9. Christian Avard

    Not to be nitpicky but while anti-Semitism exists in the Mideast it is not exclusively in the Mideast (or in this case, Iraq). When I hear Iraq is “truly a lovely part of the world” I feel like Iraq and Arab countries in general, are being inaccurately characterized. There are plenty of idiots in America and elsewhere who say the same idiotic things to Jews, Arabs, and oppressed minorities.

    Dan, I trust that’s not your intention, but Arab nations and Arab culture are too frequently misportrayed in America. I thought that comment was not fair. Those are idiots spewing anti-Semitism, not Arabs or Iraqis. Let’s not tar people in a country who actually do live and respect Jews in a lovely part of the world. There are plenty of stories out there that confirm that.

  10. @Dan I was surprised by the courageous decision of CBS journalist Lara Logan to grant an interview to the New York Times about her sexual assault in Tahir Square during a revolutionary demonstration in Cairo, Egypt in February.

    While I admire the bravery of Ms. Logan to discuss the events leading up to and during her brutal assault, the interview raised other questions in my mind about the assault and its long-term consequences.

    One question is whether the alleged anti-Semitic chants of demonstrators directed towards Ms. Logan at the time of the assault actually occurred. These alleged concurrent anti-Semitic slurs received heavy media attention at the time, but were never verified by independent, first-hand sources. Why was this allegation not addressed in the New York Times interview?

    Two, since sexual assaults and threats against female Western reporters apparently remains a persistent, long-term problem in parts of the Arab world, what new precautions will managing editors and producers of media outlets to prevent female journalists from Ms. Logan being placed in a vulnerable position? Will the assignment of female reporters to Arab world hotsposts be curbed as a result of the newly publicized sexual assault dangers faced by female reporters in this region of the world?

    Finally, Ms. Logan has chosen to discuss some of the details surrounding her assault and the overall sexual assault dangers faced by female foreign correspondents and many women regularly in certain parts of the world. She states that she made this difficult decision in order to speak out on behalf of other female journalists and on behalf of “millions of voiceless women who are subjected to attacks like this and worse.”

    How does Ms. Logan’s courageous decision square with her refusal to give any other interviews on this subject? Since she has voluntarily decided to discuss these brutal events and the assault dangers female journalists frequently encounter in certain parts of the world, her decision not to submit to any further interviews (beyond The New York Times and 60 Minutes)seems counterproductive to her overarching laudable social goals and impractical given the journalistic and security questions raised by her experience and her interview.

    It seems as if the special sexual assault dangers encountered by Western female journalists in certain parts of the world, such as the Arab Middle East, and the additional security precautions that news organizations must take to prevent their female reporters from being assaulted require further investigation, discussion, and debate. I would have hoped that Ms. Logan’s interview with the New York Times about her horrific experience would have marked the start of this important dialogue, not its conclusion.

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