Did CBS News "hold back" news of Lara Logan assault?


CBS News reported 2/15 that its chief foreign correspondent (also reports for “60 Minutes”), Lara Logan, was brutally assaulted on 2/11 in Cairo as Egyptians filled the streets the day that Hosni Mubarak resigned as president. But why the wait? In a Boston Herald editorial, Greater Media Boston FM Talker (WTKK-FM) Michael Graham questions if CBS was “complicit” in covering up the news. We cite some of it here:

“…Lara Logan was repeatedly sexually assaulted by thugs yelling, ‘Jew! Jew!’ as she covered the chaotic fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo’s main square Friday. Powerful reporting on an important story. Two problems: It didn’t run until yesterday, and CBS didn’t run it. The quote is from the New York Post. And it was The Wall Street Journal that reported “the separation and assault lasted roughly 20 to 30 minutes.

But CBS? They sat on their own story. For five days, as reporters reveled amid giddy celebrations in Tahrir Square, and as President Obama praised President Obama’s handling of the Egyptian crisis, CBS reported nothing.

Only when the other media had the story did CBS break the news that its own chief foreign correspondent was the victim of ‘a brutal and sustained sexual assault.’

Five days of silence — not even “60 Minutes” coverage of the Egypt story. No mention of the “mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy” who attacked their own reporter.

How is that not news?

Some women journalists, like WGBH’s Callie Crossley, complain that CBS should never have reported the story, that Logan should be treated like a rape victim in the United States. But I’m with liberal columnist Richard Cohen of The Washington Post:

‘The sexual assault of a woman in the middle of a public square is a story  . . .  particularly because the crowd in Tahrir Square was almost invariably characterized as friendly and out for nothing but democracy,” Cohen wrote.

Watching the same complicit media we all saw, Cohen notes most journalists covered the mobs “as if they were reporting from Times Square on New Year’s Eve, stopping only at putting on a party hat.’

Even CBS’s own statement said Logan was “covering the jubilation” and was attacked “amidst the celebration.”

Having 200 ‘good guys’ gang assault a female reporter while screaming “Jew! Jew!” doesn’t fit the narrative. Is that why CBS sat on the story?

Or is it the cultural issue? A rape in a bar is a sex crime. But a pack of political protesters who rape a “Jew” in public is a story about culture.

Rapes happen everywhere, it’s true. And political protests are a global phenomenon, too. But as Slate.com’s Rachel Larimore says, ‘there’s a huge difference between flipping over a truck and spraying friends with beer and prying a woman away from her security detail and sexually assaulting her’.”

RBR-TVBR asked CBS for comment on the Graham editorial and was told, “There will be no further comment from CBS News.”

RBR-TVBR observation: And we can’t blame them. It is a tough call. Certainly it is news, but when it comes to women’s rights on rape and sexual assault, it becomes an issue of personal privacy. If CBS News broke the story on its own, it may have seriously harmed the emotional condition of one of its own family, so to speak. They may have actually spoken to Logan first to ask what her wishes were on reporting the story. We don’t know. As to the “Jew, Jew” chants from her assaulters, we don’t know of too many news outlets that hold back a story based cultural or racial epithets—at least not in America. As to CBS being “complicit” in not reporting the crime, we’re sure they did the best they could do amidst the circumstances with local (what was left of them) authorities. But holding back the story to the world doesn’t equal reporting the incident to Egyptian or U.S. authorities.