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

February 17, 2011 | 11:09 am

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.

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