Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lara Logan, Victim of Rape and Beating in Egypt, and of Callous Slander in U.S. Media

It's best not to blog while angry, but here goes. CBS News correspondent Lara Logan was the victim of a sustained sexual assault and beating by a mob in Cairo yesterday. on Friday, Feb. 11.  That horrifying news has elicited outrage and best wishes for her recovery from most of those who've commented about this.

I know of three exceptions -- shameful, inexcusable exceptions.

First: the freelance journalist named Nir Rosen, a fellow at NYU best known for reporting he did in Afghanistan embedded with Taliban troops, has tweeted repeatedly in a manner which disparaged the assault on Logan as minor, called Logan a "warmonger", and expressed regret that she would now become a "martyr". All this was based on Rosen's view that Logan was a "cheerleader" for the Iraq War. Rosen also wrote a not-so-subtly homophobic tweet wishing that Anderson Cooper, who was beaten by a Cairo mob last week, had also been the victim of a sexual assault like Logan. (Read here.)

Rosen's misogyny, pettiness, extreme callousness and homophobia elicited a barrage of tweeted criticism, to which Rosen replied with the following non-apology apologies:

“Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than [sic] I’m sorry.”
...and...
“ah fuck it, I apologize for being insensitive, it’s always wrong, that’s obvious, but I’m rolling my eyes at all the attention she will get.”

Then a real, albeit terse, apology:

“As someone who’s devoted his career to defending victims and supporting justice, I’m very ashamed for my insensitive and offensive comments.”

As controversy has heated up over his comments this morning, Rosen now tries to put out the fires with more apologies in emails to journalists who have reported on this.  (Read here.)

Second: LA Weekly has posted on their blog a column by Simone Wilson headlined Lara Logan, CBS Reporter and Warzone 'It Girl,' Raped Repeatedly Amid Egypt Celebration.  That headline must go down in history as one of the worst, combining a report of brutal gang rape with the terms "It Girl" and celebration.  In terms of bang for the buck, LA Weekly takes the prize for the most offensiveness in the fewest words.  Simone Wilson's story under that headline details her complaints about Logan.  As they say, timing is everything.  Her main complaints are tha Logan is good looking (her appearance is referred to six times in the brief article, including a reference to her as a "firecracker", and the article is inappropriately illustrated with a large photograph of Logan in a clingy low-cut gown) and that she has criticized the media for failing to report about violence against foreigners in a manner commensurate with the gravity of that violence.  That Wilson and LA Weekly use their report on Logan's brutal beating and gang rape to settle those scores with her indicates that they not only treat violence against foreigners without the appropriate gravity, they treat violence in general without the appropriate gravity.

Third: Debbie Schlussel is an anti-Muslim shock-blogger -- sort of a low-rent Pamela Geller.  Schlussel writes (read here):

As I’ve noted before, it bothers me not a lick when mainstream media reporters who keep telling us Muslims and Islam are peaceful get a taste of just how “peaceful” Muslims and Islam really are. In fact, it kinda warms my heart. Still, it’s also a great reminder of just how “civilized” these “people” (or, as I like to call them in Arabic, “Bahai’im” [Animals]) are.

Schlussel then posts a horrifying quote briefly detailing the attack, and comments:

Hey, sounds like the threats I get from American Muslims on a regular basis. Now you know what it’s like, Lara.

Schlussel then quotes a CBS statement requesting privacy for Logan, to which Schlussel replies:

I just love it when the people of the profession of “the public’s right to know” suddenly want “privacy.” Tell it to your next interview subject, Lara. Of course CBS has no further comment. Wouldn’t wanna impugn the “peacefulness” of “Religion of Peace” animals, would we? Now, if they were Christians or Jews, well, then there would be comments galore.

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. Or so we’d hope. But in the case of the media vis-a-vis Islam, that’s a hope that’s generally unanswered.

This never happened to her or any other mainstream media reporter when Mubarak was allowed to treat his country of savages in the only way they can be controlled.

Now that’s all gone. How fitting that Lara Logan was “liberated” by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over the other part of the “liberation.”

Hope you’re enjoying the revolution, Lara! Alhamdilllullah [praise allah].


The sheer narcissism, insensitivity, misogyny and bigotry of these comments by Nir Rosen, Simone Wilson, LA Weekly and Debbie Schlussel speak for themselves.  In the case of Nir Rosen, the only serious journalist among this crowd, this is an especially shocking and disappointing display.   In the case of LA Weekly, a gossip rag free alternative weekly, they have sunk below even gossip rag free alternative weekly standards.  In the case of Schlussel -- well -- this may be consistent with her usual fare.  Her readership actually likes and expects this sort of stuff.   


All of them should examine their motives and explain their behavior to their readers.  If they don't do that, they don't deserve to have readers.  




UPDATE (2/16/2011 11:30 am):  


I just noticed that Nir Rosen's twitter avatar was an image of a keffiyah clad figure holding up an assault rifle before a flag of a single Palestinian state.


nir rosen




UPDATE (2/16/2011 1:45 pm):


Now a fourth incredibly callous instance of blaming the victim.  Conservative blogger Jim Hoft has posted a column blaming Logan for causing her own assault.  He "asks" whether her "political correctness" and sense of personal privilege led to her being attacked.  (Read here.)  Regular readers of Hoft's oeuvre, or those who follow the links in his column, will learn that has previously referred to Logan as a "whore".  (Read here.)  Nice guy.

Isn't it bad enough that he used that term once before?  Does Hoft really believe it's appropriate to relink to that slanderous comment again in this context?

UPDATE (2/16/2011 3:00 pm):


Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic has some background on Nir Rosen tweets.  Rosen seems like a piece of work.  (Read here.) Funny how nobody seemed to notice until now.

I've just spent an hour reading Rosen's Twitter feed, and it's alternately amusing and appalling. Much of it is taken up with petty griping -- he writes repeatedly about his desire to sit in business class ("I fucking hate people in first and business class when I'm not one of them," he wrote.) His hatred of Lara Logan (as well as Wolf Blitzer, James Rubin, Tom Friedman and many other people) is on full display. On September 29th of last year, he wrote, "Washington Post and International Crisis Group turned down my job applications so I can be as vulgar as I want again. Yay! Fuck Tom Friedman.") There is a good deal of violent longing, as well. He wrote on December 15th of last year, "just saw footage of Greek rioters beating a former minister. Now there's accountability. I wish we had some of that." And he wrote, "'Lets not forget the pain and suffering this war has caused,' says Wolf Blitzer, not Iraqi pain of course. I wish pain and suffering on Wolf."
Many of his tweets are given over to expressions of hatred of Israel, and wishes for its destruction. He openly advocates for violence against Israel: "Yes to a 3rd Intifada. This time hopefully with the support of the Palestinians citizens of 'Israel,'" and he states that "Israel's existence is a blight unto the nations." He also appears to believe that Iran should be a nuclear power: "I wish all these Sunni Arab dictators on Wikileaks would explain what the hell is so bad about Iran having nuclear weapons." On October 10th of last year, he tweeted, "new racist Israeli citizenship law should be celebrated. It exposes what Zionism really is, will further ostracize Israel, speed its demise."
The creepiest tweet of Rosen's is this one, I think, from December 3rd, 2010: "On Hannuka, Just think, if only the Greeks had been better at counterinsurgency we wouldn't have these problems today. Where was Petraeus?" The meaning of this is fairly obvious: Hannukah marks the defeat of a Syrian-Greek empire by a Jewish insurgency. If the Greeks had won, the Jews would have been slaughtered. He also wrote that same day, "genocide is modern concep (except when jews are doing it on god's orders in the old testament) greeks were just hellenizing."







Eric Boehlert of Media Matters has tweeted in Rosen's defense that Rosen has taken responsibility for his actions, which puts him above conservatives in Boehlert's book.  (Read here.)  This isn't' about ideology, Eric, it's about basic human decency.  More than an apology is required here.  Rosen's comments were pathologically partisan, and a merely partisan defense just won't do.

10 comments:

Oh Crap said...

"sort of a low-rent Pamela Geller." - Ha, oh my. Or, Pam Geller minus the charming vaudevillian antics.

Peter Mahlin said...

When I started reading on the web, I suddely got sick to my stomach. As I am surfing from the university library, I was afraid I wouldn't make it to the restroom. Then it calmed a little, but now the tears come. So I was sitting in the middle of a large floor surrounded by a lot of people, crying like a baby. And then I saw the blogs and comments! I thought I would die of rage! And now tears of rage. If I hadn't been an agnostic, I would have shouted out loud "Lord have mercy!" What shall I do with my anger and grief? It's so frustrating! The thugs from Cairo now are here and everywhere, continuing the gang rape on the web. What can I do? I am no young wimp, I am a man of 66, who has served in the Swedish army as an officer and been competing in cross-country skiing. Suddenly I feel like I have lived too long, I don't want to be part of this modern life with these nice intelligent men, the computer thugs. How can I show my face after this, being a male? This is a horror, a really a dark day for humanity, and a disgrace for all so called modern men.

Peter Mahlin said...

When I started reading on the web, I suddely got sick to my stomach. As I am surfing from the university library, I was afraid I wouldn't make it to the restroom. Then it calmed a little, but now the tears come. So I was sitting in the middle of a large floor surrounded by a lot of people, crying like a baby. And then I saw the blogs and comments! I thought I would die of rage! And now tears of rage. If I hadn't been an agnostic, I would have shouted out loud "Lord have mercy!" What shall I do with my anger and grief? It's so frustrating! The thugs from Cairo now are here and everywhere, continuing the gang rape on the web. What can I do? I am no young wimp, I am a man of 66, who has served in the Swedish army as an officer and been competing in cross-country skiing. Suddenly I feel like I have lived too long, I don't want to be part of this modern life with these nice intelligent men, the computer thugs. How can I show my face after this, being a male? This is a horror, a really a dark day for humanity, and a disgrace for all so called modern men.

Anonymous said...

Low-rent Pamela Geller? I'm not sure who's supposed to be more offended by that; Pamela or Debbie.

dbvrbv said...

Thank you so much for calling these brutes out and casting a bright light on their shameful comments and attitudes. Where is their compassion? Their simple, common humanity? In a less direct way (fortunately), their thoughts are as horrifying as the actions of the monsters who hurt Lara, over in Egypt. Every one of us better check inside and take a sharp look at our own impulses. That cruel mob in Egypt are not the only people living with twisted, blackened hearts. Everyone of these media commentators/personalities should feel utterly ashamed of themselves. They deserve to be professionally "shut out" by all in the business who have any decency and hope to retain a reading, educated audience. Their callous, violent, self-serving, small mindedness is simply appalling. Can the world ever be a good home to us all if such attitudes are allowed to gain ground and flourish? I fear not...
As for Lara Logan-I shudder that this has happened to her. It should never happen to anyone. Man or woman. She's beautiful, smart, courageous and doing her job; work which- by the way- is a valuable service to the world. I'm so sorry this happened, but I honor her and salute her with all my respect. I hope and believe she will be strong enough to overcome the trauma of this. This unprovoked assault will never be a reflection on her...it is a reflection of the nightmares that some allow to live within their own hearts. Woe to us all if we don't work to rid ourselves of them. I wish for Ms. Logan all that is good, and hope for her speedy recovery.
Denise Brickell Vaughan

dbvrbv said...

Thank you so much for calling these brutes out and casting a bright light on their shameful comments and attitudes. Where is their compassion? Their simple, common humanity? In a less direct way (fortunately), their thoughts are as horrifying as the actions of the monsters who hurt Lara, over in Egypt. Every one of us better check inside and take a sharp look at our own impulses. That cruel mob in Egypt are not the only people living with twisted, blackened hearts. Everyone of these media commentators/personalities should feel utterly ashamed of themselves. They deserve to be professionally "shut out" by all in the business who have any decency and hope to retain a reading, educated audience. Their callous, violent, self-serving, small mindedness is simply appalling. Can the world ever be a good home to us all if such attitudes are allowed to gain ground and flourish? I fear not...
As for Lara Logan-I shudder that this has happened to her. It should never happen to anyone. Man or woman. She's beautiful, smart, courageous and doing her job; work which- by the way- is a valuable service to the world. I'm so sorry this happened, but I honor her and salute her with all my respect. I hope and believe she will be strong enough to overcome the trauma of this. This unprovoked assault will never be a reflection on her...it is a reflection of the nightmares that some allow to live within their own hearts. Woe to us all if we don't work to rid ourselves of them. I wish for Ms. Logan all that is good, and hope for her speedy recovery.
Denise Brickell Vaughan

dbvrbv said...

Thank you so much for calling these brutes out and casting a bright light on their shameful comments and attitudes. Where is their compassion? Their simple, common humanity? In a less direct way (fortunately), their thoughts are as horrifying as the actions of the monsters who hurt Lara, over in Egypt. Every one of us better check inside and take a sharp look at our own impulses. That cruel mob in Egypt are not the only people living with twisted, blackened hearts. Everyone of these media commentators/personalities should feel utterly ashamed of themselves. They deserve to be professionally "shut out" by all in the business who have any decency and hope to retain a reading, educated audience. Their callous, violent, self-serving, small mindedness is simply appalling. Can the world ever be a good home to us all if such attitudes are allowed to gain ground and flourish? I fear not...
As for Lara Logan-I shudder that this has happened to her. It should never happen to anyone. Man or woman. She's beautiful, smart, courageous and doing her job; work which- by the way- is a valuable service to the world. I'm so sorry this happened, but I honor her and salute her with all my respect. I hope and believe she will be strong enough to overcome the trauma of this. This unprovoked assault will never be a reflection on her...it is a reflection of the nightmares that some allow to live within their own hearts. Woe to us all if we don't work to rid ourselves of them. I wish for Ms. Logan all that is good, and hope for her speedy recovery.
Denise Brickell Vaughan

Adam Holland said...

Q: "Low-rent Pamela Geller? I'm not sure who's supposed to be more offended by that; Pamela or Debbie."

A: Both?

New Buffalo MI fishing said...

She was attacked in order to express male dominance in Islamic society and as a demonstration of their contempt of infidel Western women. This is the true face of Islam, and CBS and the media will do all in their power to obscure it.

Adam Holland said...

"New Buffalo MI fishing":

Just what we need. More mindless hatred in response to mindless hatred.

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