You're the national TV network people turn to for news. A million happy protesters are cheering the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. It's an easy story line to cover. Everybody's happy. So that's the story CBS has told last Friday:
But CBS knew there was a more sinister story to tell, and today its public relations department -- not its news department -- told it. One of its reporters, Lara Logan, was being attacked by more than 200 people who'd been "whipped into a frenzy" by the day's events, according to an account in the New York Times.
After the mob surrounded her, Ms. Logan "suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers," the network said.
Who attacked her? We don't really know. Were they arrested? We don't know. Why did she have to be saved by women? Why didn't the men in the square do something to stop the awful assault? All fine questions. But we don't know.
You're in charge of CBS News. Should you have told the story of what was happening in that square last Friday? Would you have told it if it involved a woman who didn't work for you?
Here's Lara Logan's appearance on Charlie Rose's show a week ago.
"We have seen Lara's compassion at work while helping journalists who have faced brutal aggression while doing their jobs," Committee to Protect Journalists chairman Paul Steiger said this afternoon. "She is a brilliant, courageous, and committed reporter. Our thoughts are with Lara as she recovers."
A very difficult call regarding how to report the tragic attack, without having it turn into
a "savage brown beasts attack blond girl."
That said, who made the decision to send a blond woman into a situation of mob anarchy in a culture where women are repressed?
In most of the pieces I have read on the Revolution the Egyptians are saying "good riddens" to President Hosni Mubarak and his affiliates which includes the United States. I echo Jim's question.
I wanted to walk away from the comments above about "who made the decision to send a blond woman into a situation of mob anarchy in a culture where women are repressed?" But I can't.
Okay, you say women are repressed. There are plenty of Egyptian women who I'm sure would love to disagree with you, but that's not the fight I'm going to have here.
What I want to ask is, who said anyone "sent" her in? Maybe she decided herself? Maybe she's a journalist going to where the story is? Why should she expect she was going to be sexually assaulted? And would you say the same thing if it happened to a blonde man?
As a journalist, she had the right to be there and not be sexually assaulted. It doesn't matter if she was blonde or a man or what have you. Journalists, especially foreign journalists, are often put in dangerous situations. That's the nature of the job. To say she shouldn't have been allowed to cover this story is pure sexism.
If it were anyone but Logan, that would be my first question. But she's their chief foreign correspondent, so technically it's her job to go there. Should they have weighed the dangers more carefully (and who knows, maybe they did)? Probably.
But Logan is a very smart journalist and knows a lot about being in high-risk zones. I have no doubt she knew exactly the dangers she was putting herself in to and chose to do it because of the story.
It's unfortunate that her incident, as horrific as it no doubt was, didn't get told when it was the most relevant. Her singular incident might have helped sum up the sentiment on the ground: a mixture of chaos, happiness and an uncontrollable mob. I'm wondering if, in the end, Logan will be disappointed in CBS because the story that her assault could have told at the time is now lost.
If Anderson Cooper had also been sexually assaulted instead of just punched in the head, would CBS have reported it? Would CNN have as much as they did?
Regardless of the answer, I'm sure anyone can agree that it's a terrible thing that happened to Logan and one just hopes she makes a full physical and emotional recovery.
Kassie, well stated. I apologize for implying that Logan did not have the right to be in that situation, or decide for herself. It was not my intention.
Of course nothing justifies what happened to her, but as an intelligent journalist, she should have used her knowledge of the culture and mob psychology and calculated that the risks that she was taking were not wise.
Have you ever been in a similar high risk situation as a journalist? I have. The women whom I have worked with have been equally as competent and courageous as the men.
But it's all about calculating risks vs getting "the story", and those who calculate poorly sadly tend to suffer the consequences eventually.
In this case, calculating the risks, I would opt for self-imposed, self-aware sexism and survival. And yes, hindsight is 20-20, but calculation is all about foresight.
You all really should watch the Charlie Rose video because it's pretty clear from some of the comments here you haven't.
Listening to Logan on Charlie Rose, I wept from recognition and remembrance,
and I now regret arguing from cold analysis rather than compassion.
Time and distance and a new lifestyle lead me to forget...
yep Bob, I too missed the second video. 2 videos! one story!
But I am holding to question-why there weren't better precautions in that kind of emotional climate with that particular history towards women.
I have experienced a Muslim country as a blonde and even with a veil the sentiment towards blonde haired women is less than respectful.
Not blaming here at all. Just wondering.
Logan got "too" (?) close to the story, and her emotions clouded her rational judgement.
Charlie Rose saw it and was choking up.
God bless her for it.
Re: rescued by women; why not men? My guess would be most, if not all, of the 20 soldiers who also came to Logan's aid were men. It is also possible that Logan was in an area of Tahir Square where there weren't a great many civilian men, i.e. the square may have been segregated?