Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lara Logan is not an 'It' girl

Here's the first paragraph of a blog post written for LA Weekly about CBS correspondent Lara Logan: "Breaking news: South African TV journalist Lara Logan, known for her shocking good looks and ballsy knack for pushing her way to the heart of the action, was brutally and repeatedly raped while a crowd of 200 celebrated the February 11 resignation of 30-year Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak."

Here's the second paragraph:

"Logan was in Tahrir Square with her "60 Minutes" news team when Mubarak's announcement broke. Then, in a rush of frenzied excitement, some Egyptian protesters apparently consummated their newfound independence by sexually assaulting the blonde reporter..."

First off, why is the author, Simone Wilson, using the word 'consummated' to describe the celebration of freedom in Tahrir Square? She used 'repeatedly raped' in the first paragraph--why switch to 'consummated' in the second? "Egyptian protesters apparently repeatedly raped their newfound independence" is more accurate than "Egyptian protesters apparently consummated their newfound independence," surely.

Secondly, "Egyptian protesters"? I'm not sure where Wilson gets her information, but if she knows the identity of the men who attacked Logan, she should turn it over to the State Department, since nothing in CBS News' terse statement indicates that the men were protesters--the statement reads "a dangerous element." Mubarak's goons were wandering the streets of Cairo, attacking journalists--most infamously going after Anderson Cooper--so it doesn't seem to me a logical assumption that the peaceful protesters suddenly decided to turn to rape as a means of celebration. But Simone Wilson declares, straight-up no chaser, that "Egyptian protesters" repeatedly raped Lara Logan in order to "consummate" their peaceful ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

Here's something else I don't find logical:

Strangely, Logan had just been detained by the Egyptian government during anti-Mubarak protests the week before her rape, and was reported as having returned to the U.S. momentarily on February 4.

But she returned, hoping to catch Middle Eastern history in the making -- and fell victim to the chaos of the moment. An Esquire interview with Logan last Friday called her "insane" for making the return trip to Egypt. One chilling excerpt:

But Lara Logan, you see, is not afraid. "There's no doubt in my mind that the situation we were caught in before, we are now arriving into again," she tells The Politics Blog.
Another unsettling discovery for us, in light of Logan's brutal rape, is how viciously she's long been attacked by both right and left bloggers for her no-holds-barred approach.

Strangely, Ms. Wilson, a woman, feels the need to blame Logan for the rape. Which is a habit most people fall into, since most people are determined to encourage fear over bravery. Most people think the rape was Logan's fault because she chose to be in Tahrir Square with her "Hollywood good looks" [Wilson's words].

Or as the average Internet commenter puts it, "darwin missed the boat on this one...americans have become so fucking stupid that they are astonished by stories like this [Logan is South African, not American, btw]... political correctness is to blame for what ever happened to this girl.. she got what was comming to her and is a effin idiot for going there thinking unicorns and roses were going to greet her and keep her safe with unicorn power.."

One wonders if the same comments would be made if Anderson Cooper had been raped, or "consummated," rather than punched in the head.

Fact is, people mistake the talking heads on their TV screen for journalists, and so have no clue what actual journalism is. They've forgotten, because it's been so long since they've witnessed it.

Journalism is not sitting at home, watching television or reading a blog, and having an opinion. Anyone can do those things, which is why Facebook is so popular. Which is why FOX News is so popular, frankly--FOX is just a network of lazy couch potatoes hanging around, occasionally yelling at a camera, just like most Americans. No facts, no leg-work, really; just a lot of talking heads offering commentary, as if they're watching a football game and not the resistance of a country against dictatorship. Americans identify with FOX.

Lara Logan was (and still is) a journalist. When she went to Tahrir Square, she was doing her job. Had nothing to do with her looks, had nothing to do with her sex. She knew the risks, and she took them. She didn't sit at home and play arm-chair quarterback or spin ridiculous conspiracy theories--she went to the source to report her impressions, because that's what she is paid to do.

Too often, we are told to be afraid. We shouldn't be afraid, of course, but we're told that fear makes us wise, that caution makes us brave. It doesn't. Here's what fear makes us: assholes sitting on a couch, watching TV and yelling at the Internet.


Tony said...

I for some reason expected this to be different based on the fb lead-in but alas it wasn't. I'm glad....I had a fear your focus would've been something other than what should've been the focus.....good writing mi compadre.

Anonymous said...

I don't really understand the point of this blog. What is your point? That she was a brave journalist? Ok. She knew what she was getting herself into? Ok. So are you saying that she willingly put herself into a situation where she knew she could get raped because she's not an asshole yelling at the internet? It seems like that's what you're saying.

MM said...

Tony: The quote was misleading.

Anonymous: The point is obvious unless you're willfully trying to miss it.

Anonymous said...

I like this article.

Unfortunately, you did not admit that you are in fact being a "couch potato" that is also "yelling on the internet". Whilst you raise valid points, any points that you make are fundamentally flawed in that they constitute the evil that you protest against, the "lack of facts and leg-work".

MM said...

...I thought I was being ironic with that bit...

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