Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Media: Another misstep in aftermath of Lara Logan's sexual assault

Lara Logan-CNN In the aftermath of Lara Logan’s sexual assault in Egypt, there have been news stories based on theory, gag-worthy tweets and sexist banter -- all undisciplined behavior you wouldn’t expect from journalists. Amid this flurry of media missteps, which Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams has chronicled in "What not to say about Lara Logan," it appears as though the folks at CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" took extra precautions in Wednesday’s report about Logan. Rather than show the news photo CBS released of Logan just before the attack, "360" presented a digitally altered version that blurred the faces of the men standing behind her.

The Los Angeles Times' Scott Collins caught the image in question and raises a few concerns on Show Tracker:

The photo was provided by CBS and made widely available to news organizations via the Associated Press. Many outlets used it to illustrate stories about Logan.

CNN, however, chose to blur the faces of the men in the background. The reason for the choice is unclear. It is possible that CNN worried about legal liability -- despite the fact that the image was taken in a public place during a thronged demonstration of pressing international interest and had been distributed through a wire service. By partly obscuring the image, CNN tampered with the journalistic record without explanation, leaving it to viewers to guess whether the network intended to protect or incriminate the figures in the background.

It wouldn't be fair to skewer CNN until we've heard their side. But you'd hope they'd know better than to doctor a news photo -- even if they were motivated by sensitivity -- much less not offer an explanation as to why.  


Is there room for Hipstamatic in photojournalism?

Is the Washington Post trying to put one over on readers?

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: A screen grab of the CBS photo of Lara Logan, which was altered by CNN from the original distributed by the Associated Press.


Comments () | Archives (7)

The comments to this entry are closed.


I thought it was quite clear as to why they "doctored" it. Many people would assume that the men in the photo were her attackers, when we don't know if all of them, or even any of them, were actually involved in her attack.

Given the pressure to find and punish her attackers, I feel like any innocent man in the photograph could be in danger of being a scapegoat, held up as an attacker to ease pressure on Egyptian gov't and appease a sense of injustice.

Rapists are regularly executed in Egypt.

Not like this was of any use though, the picture is plastered all over the internet.

Sidro Marcel

So simple.

CNN does not want their people's lives in danger when they go back to Egypt later from those in the background of the said photos.

We are not talking about progressive countries here wherein human beings are respected. By the time CBS and other media outfits go back there , they will be hacked to death just by publishing faces in the background saying "rapist". Of course even though the its not true.

You guys are so naive. You got to think like the Egyptians. CNN is quick to learn that.

Will T

Maltreatment of journalists are always big news in advanced nations. Almost like extra-terrestrial encounters. Sadly this is hardly shocking in most part of the world.

The norm out there is that it comes with the job. What happened to Ms. Logan is despicable. But then again its like saying, hey what are you doing there inside the lions den? Or its like hey Im a lion but since you are american I will not eat you. Come on people.

Douglas Brooks

It's a photo op for "journalists". Do you think we really need reporters on the ground to get the news in today's internet connected world. Newspapers are free on the net and when they put up walls to protect their proprietary sources no one will pay. Start looking for a new job.


Is there a reason none of Ms. Logan's Egyptian rescuers have been interviewed? According to her employer, CBS News, twenty soldiers and several brave women intervened to stop the attack on her.

Why are these heroic citizens not stepping forward? Is the media even looking for them? Surely at least one of the soldiers cited by CBS News should be easy to find simply by asking military leaders to make inquiry to their troops.

This seems odd, at least to me.

mike peters

This whole incident is a mystery. What actually happened? The news release was vague and follow-up journalism has not been forthcoming.


Let's see what Logan has to say.



In Case You Missed It...



Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

In Case You Missed It...