Lara Logan – Lies, Damned Lies and News Media Rules

Posted On February 21 , 2011
Category - Opinion
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Their quest to push the ideology of identity politics

Among the least analyzed aspects of the Egyptian revolution has been the significance of the widespread violence against the foreign media

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post

CBS chief foreign correspondent LARA LOGAN - Victim of sexual, and anti-Semitic, mob assault

The Western media have been unanimous in their sympathetic coverage of the demonstrators in Egypt. Why would the demonstrators want to brutalize them? And why have Western media outlets been so reticent in discussing the significance of their own reporters’ brutalization at the hands of the Egyptian demonstrators?

To date the most egregious attack on a foreign journalist in Cairo’s Tahrir Square took place last Friday, when CBS’s senior foreign correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted and brutally beaten by a mob of Egyptian men. Her own network, CBS, took several days to even report the story, and when it did, it left out important information. The fact that Logan was brutalized for 20 to 30 minutes and that her attackers screamed out “Jew, Jew, Jew” as they ravaged her was absent from the CBS report and from most other follow-on reports in the US media.

The media’s treatment of Logan’s victimization specifically and its treatment of the widescale mob violence against foreign reporters in Cairo generally tells us a great deal about the nature of today’s media discourse.

But before we consider the significance of the coverage, a word must be said about Logan and her colleagues in Tahrir Square. For some time, the common wisdom about journalists has been that they are cowards. Multiple instances of journalistic malpractice led many to conclude that reporters are prisoners of their fears.

The murders of VADIM NOZHITZ and YOSEF AVRAHAMI, Ramallah, Oct. 12, 2000

For instance, recall the story of the Palestinian lynching of IDF reservists Vadim Nozhitz and Yosef Avrahami at the Palestinian Authority police station in Ramallah on October 1, 2000.

There were dozens of reporters on the scene that day as the Palestinian police-led mob murdered and dismembered Nozhitz and Avrahami.

But only one camera crew – from Italy’s privately owned Mediaset television network – risked life and limb to film the event.

After Mediaset’s footage was published, Ricardo Cristiani, a reporter for RAI television, Mediaset’s state-owned competitor, published an apology in the PA’s official trumpet Al-Hayat al-Jadida.

Among other things, Cristiani wrote, “We [RAI] emphasize to all of you that the events did not happen this way, because we always respect… the journalistic procedures with the Palestinian Authority for work in Palestine and we are credible in our precise work.”

Cristiani’s behavior, like that of his colleagues who failed to film the lynching, led many to believe that the international media are nothing but a bunch of cowards.

Reporter EASON JORDAN confessed that CNN covered up Saddam Hussein's brutality for more than a decade

Then there was then-CNN news chief Eason Jordan’s remarkable op-ed in The New York Times in April 2003. In that article, Jordan informed the public that for more than a decade, CNN had systematically covered up the brutality and criminality of Saddam Hussein’s regime. CNN hid the information from the public because it thought it was more important to maintain access to senior Iraqi officials – who fed the network a diet of lies – than to lose that access by reporting the truth.

These stories and many like them are what caused many to believe that that journalists are cowards. But the behavior of the international media in Tahrir Square proves that reporters are by and large brave. Logan and her colleagues willingly went to Tahrir Square to cover the demonstrations in spite of the dangers.

While the reporters on the scene in Cairo serve as a rebuke to the notion of journalistic cowardice, the international media’s tepid and superficial coverage of their brutalization at the hands of the demonstrators shares important features with the negligence of CNN in Iraq and the reporters in Ramallah.

TO BEGIN to understand those common components, it is worth considering another story about sexual misconduct that hit the presses in the U.S. around the time the story about Logan’s victimization was first reported.

This week, a group of female U.S. soldiers filed a class action lawsuit against Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his predecessor Donald Rumsfeld. The plaintiffs allege that both men and the U.S. defense establishment are responsible for the sexual assaults they suffered during their military service. They claim that the men who abused them were a product of U.S. military culture.

The U.S. media has provided blanket coverage of the story, which effectively places the entire U.S. military on trial for rape.

There is no comparison

between the alleged anti-female bias

in the U.S. military

and the actual misogyny of Egyptian society

What is interesting about the lawsuit story is that it highlights the alleged perpetrator. Coverage of the lawsuit has been heavy on details about the alleged misogyny of U.S. military culture.

In stark contrast, coverage of Logan’s sexual assault makes almost no mention of the perpetrators. Certainly the issue of Egypt’s societal misogyny has been ignored.

What makes the distinction between coverage of the two stores so remarkable is that there is no comparison between the alleged anti-female bias in the U.S. military and the actual misogyny of Egyptian society.

According to a 1999 report from the World Health Organization, 97 percent of Egyptian women and girls have undergone the barbaric practice of genital mutilation. A 2005 report by the Cairo-based Association for Legal Rights of Women submitted to the UN explained that Egyptian women are constitutionally deprived of their basic rights, including their rights to control their bodies and property. Males who murder their female relatives are often unpunished. When they are tried and convicted for premeditated murder, their sentences average from two to four years in prison.

Ultra-left reporter NIR ROSEN went too far

So far the only culprit the U.S. media have managed to find for the sexual assault perpetrated against Lara Logan by a mob of Egyptian men has been a radical leftist reporter named Nir Rosen.

On Tuesday, Rosen wrote defamatory attacks against Logan on his Twitter account. He mocked her suffering and bemoaned the fame the attack would win her.

Rosen’s statements on Twitter set off a feeding frenzy of reporters and commentators who raced to condemn him. New York University’s Center for Law and Security, where Rosen served as a fellow, hastened to demand his resignation.

The onslaught against Rosen for his anti-Logan statements is extremely revealing about the nature of the international media. Rosen’s writings reveal him as an anti-Semite and an anti- American. Rosen has written prolifically about his hope to see Israel destroyed. His war reporting from Afghanistan and Iraq unfailingly takes the side of America’s enemies. He was an embedded reporter with the Taliban and is an outspoken champion of Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban.

Rosen’s hateful politics have brought him book contracts, prestigious fellowships, interviews on influential television shows and even a request to give testimony before the U.S. Senate. His work has been published in elite magazines and newspapers.

No one batted a lash when he called for Israel to be destroyed or supported the Taliban – whose treatment of women and girls is among the most brutal in history. But for attacking Logan, he was excommunicated from polite society.

In the hopes of rehabilitating himself, Rosen gave a groveling interview to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night in which he called himself “a jerk.”

But it is too late. He broke the rules.

THE STORY of the media at Tahrir Square exposes those rules for all to see. The bravery of the journalists on the scene, the media’s determination to ignore Islamic misogyny, and their expulsion of Rosen from polite society all tell us that what drives the international media is not a quest for truth. It is a quest to advance the ideology of identity politics.

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