And that’s why many people are apparently appalled. Not necessarily because CBS foreign correspondent Lara Logan was surrounded by an angry mob in Cairo, and beaten and raped. It was because she was taking unnecessary chances. (Read: risk-taker) She was doing it to advance her career (Read: ambitious). She was daring to go where she did not belong. (Read: brazen)
While none of the naysayers have been so brutal as to come out and say she got what she deserved, the fallout from the news of her hideous assault has been almost as ugly as the assault itself. Here’s the background via the New York Times:
Lara Logan, the CBS News correspondent, was attacked and sexually assaulted by a mob in Cairo on Feb. 11, the day that the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was forced from power, the network said Tuesday.
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 in a statement. Ms. Logan is recovering at a hospital in the United States.
The evening of the attack, Ms. Logan, 39, the network’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, was covering the celebrations in Tahrir Square in central Cairo with a camera crew and an unknown number of security staff members. The CBS team was enveloped by “a dangerous element” within the crowd, CBS said, that numbered more than 200 people. That mob separated Ms. Logan from her team and then attacked her.
Heinous, right? And yet. Comments on talk radio and the interwebs Wednesday were cascading into blame the victim mode. NPR, for that matter, had to take a number of comments off its site completely, and issue a plea for civility. Meanwhile, according to Time.com, reporter Nir Rosen, a fellow at NYU, resigned from his position at the university after he sent an ugly tweet suggesting that Logan was some kind of brazen careerist, trying to outdo CNN’s Anderson Cooper (who had been beaten in Cairo a few days before) and capped it with this:
“at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger”—a reference to his criticisms of Logan over her coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Over at Salon, Mary Elizabeth Williams (we love her) took on Rosen and others, too. (According to Williams, Rosen also tweeted this: “It’s always wrong, that’s obvious, but I’m rolling my eyes at all the attention [Logan will] get.” Yeah, ugh.) She also added this, referring to yet another hater:
And the ever-heinous [right-wing blogger and Fox News regular] Debbie Schlussel was quick to jump on her regular line of racism, noting how the assault happened in a “country of savages,” because that never ever happens anywhere else, and it’s never committed by light-skinned people! She then twisted the knife by going after Logan herself, saying, “So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about. Now she knows… How fitting that Lara Logan was ‘liberated’ by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over the other part of the ‘liberation.'”
But here’s the thing. If she is shamelessly ambitious, who cares? Are we not over that? If she took an unnecessary risk — and nowhere does it suggest that she did — isn’t that what foreign correspondents are paid to do? Right? But that’s not the point. Or at least not mine. At the midpoint of the protests in Tahrir Square, when things started going ugly, reporters were roundly encouraged to get the hell out of Dodge. Many stayed. Including Anderson Cooper. He was beaten up.
We called him a hero.
P.S. Within minutes of posting this, we got an ugly comment suggesting that Logan got what she deserved. We have declined to approve it.photo credit: CBS