The right makes hay with Lara Logan attack

Nir Rosen apologized for his tweets and lost his job, but righty bloggers keep using Logan's tragedy politically

Published February 18, 2011 4:19PM (EST)

Lara Logan
Lara Logan

Mary Elizabeth Williams said everything there is to say about the worst reactions to the sexual assault of CBS reporter Lara Logan shortly after it was reported on Tuesday. Journalist Nir Rosen became the poster boy for using Logan's attack to make political hay, when he trashed the famous TV journalist on Twitter for her past reporting on Afghanistan and even suggested she'd take advantage of her assault to advance her career. Rosen has since apologized everywhere imaginable, including in the pages of Salon, and resigned a job at New York University. I think Rosen's comments were awful, but I continue to wonder why right-wingers who've been equally insensitive to Logan's suffering come off scot-free.

Last night the unreadable Gateway Pundit attacked not only me but CNN's Anderson Cooper for remarks that only I made on "AC360" Wednesday night. For the record, Cooper said absolutely nothing about the self-promoting GP blogger Jim Hoft; I mentioned him only in passing, during our conversation about Rosen's remarks, as one of several right-wingers "blaming Lara Logan for ... what happened to her because she dared to go report on Islam, rather than treating it as this sexist, brutal religion. And I would like to see those people come in for a little bit of criticism and examination, too. It’s not just what Nir said on Twitter."

The shrill Hoft went off last night on me and Cooper:

"For the record, I have never endorsed rape of anyone and did not say that Lara Logan deserved to be molested in Tahrir Square. That is a complete lie."

And for the record, as you can see above, and in the video below, I never said Hoft endorsed rape. But here's what Hoft wrote about Logan Wednesday:

After Sexual Assault & Beating... CBS Reporter Logan Learns That Political Correctness Is a Killer 

Lara Logan is lucky she's alive.

Her liberal belief system almost got her killed on Friday. This talented reporter will never be the same.

Why did this attractive blonde female reporter wander into Tahrir Square last Friday? Why would she think this was a good idea? Did she not see the violence in the square the last three weeks? Did she not see the rock throwing? Did she miss the camels? Did her colleagues tell her about the Western journalists who were viciously assaulted on the Square? Did she forget about the taunts from the Egyptian thugs the day before? What was she thinking? Was it her political correctness that about got her killed? Did she think things would be different for her?

Nah, that's not victim-blaming! But Hoft is not alone in using Logan's assault to advance his anti-Muslim narrative. Williams reported on the despicable Debbie Schlussel's immediate reaction: "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.'"

There's more.  Crackpot Muslim hater Pamela Geller praised the Egyptian army for rescuing Logan and blamed her attack on the allegedly anti-Semitic protesters she's been railing against for weeks, because someone in the crowd supposedly yelled "Jew, Jew" before Logan's attack. Date-rape defender Robert Stacy McCain suddenly became extremely sensitive about the issue of sexual assault, since he could use it to attack Islam. McCain, you might recall, is one of the few right-wingers to defend WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, mainly because some feminists attacked Assange for the date-rape allegations against him; McCain opined that women ought to know before they begin a romantic encounter, "Listen up, sweetheart: You buy the ticket, you take the ride." Now he's very concerned about a charge of sexual assault:  "Please tell me what I am permitted to say when a gang of Egyptian men celebrates the end of the Mubarak regime by sexually assaulting an American TV news reporter ... How often have Aayan Hirsi Ali and Phyllis Chesler warned feminists about the brutal subjugation of women in the Islamic world?"

You can maybe defend the mainstream media's focus on Rosen and neglect of these remarks because they've come from the bottom-feeders of the anti-Islam blogosphere. But the night I was on "AC360," Fox News' Glenn Beck used Logan's attack to "prove" he's right about the evils of Islam. Beck's audience may be declining, but he's still the top-rated show in his hour; why no cable panel discussions on Beck's ridiculous remarks?

It should be noted that Rosen never defended Logan's rape or blamed her for it (in fact, he says he didn't know she'd been sexually assaulted when he began tweeting, which strains credulity, but I'm not going to call him a liar). He was guilty of using a tragedy, crassly, to score political points. I'm not sure how that's different from what anti-Islam bloggers and pundits are doing. That's what I said on CNN; Cooper neither agreed nor disagreed, he went on to ask Ashleigh Banfield what she thought of the entire situation. Watch here:


By Joan Walsh

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Egyptian Protests Lara Logan Media Criticism