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Posted at 1:24 PM ET, 02/16/2011

Why didn’t NYU fire Nir Rosen over Lara Logan?

By Valerie Strauss

New York University’s Center on Law and Security allowed one of its fellows, Nir Rosen, to resign after he tweeted vile things about veteran CBS war correspondent Lara Logan, who sustained a brutal sexual assault and beating in Cairo during pro-democracy celebrations.

Why did the center’s executive director, Karen J. Greenberg, allow him to resign rather than to use the opportunity to take a tougher stand? Here's what she told me today:

“Nir has always been a really good supporter of the center and I think he realized he had overstepped his bounds.”

She said that the issue was decided by the two of them, and then said: “That’s how these things are done.”

For those who don’t know, Logan was with a CBS crew in Tahrir Square last Friday when they were surrounded by, a network statement said, “a mob of more than 200 people whipped into a frenzy. In the crush of the mob, [Logan] was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.”

The New York Post reported today that a network source reported that her attackers screamed, "Jew! Jew!" during the assault. A day earlier, Logan told Esquire.com that Egyptian soldiers who had hassled her and her crew accused them of being Israeli spies. Logan is not Jewish.

Rosen inexplicably decided to make something of a joke of the whole thing and put out a series of tweets, including:

*“Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson. Where was her buddy McCrystal." (That is a reference to CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, and to retired Gen. Stanley Allen McChrystal, who was forced to resign as commander of troops in Afghanistan by President Obama for unflattering comments about administration officials attributed to McChrystal in a Rolling Stone article.)

*“Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don’t support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too.

*“Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger

*“Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than [sic] I’m sorry.

To review: He made a joke of a brutal beating and sexual assault; he suggested that perhaps she concocted the sexual attack; he called her a warmonger; he said it would have been funny if Anderson Cooper had been attacked, too.

He wound up deleting some of the tweets (though they were captured by others beforehand) and said he would get off Twitter: “but there is no point following me, i am done tweeting. too ashamed of how i have hurt others and the false impression i gave of who i am.”

Greenberg, executive director of the center, issued this statement today (the bold-faced type is in the original):

“Nir Rosen is always provocative, but he crossed the line yesterday with his comments about Lara Logan. I am deeply distressed by what he wrote about Ms. Logan and strongly denounce his comments. They were cruel and insensitive and completely unacceptable. Mr. Rosen tells me that he misunderstood the severity of the attack on her in Cairo. He has apologized, withdrawn his remarks, and submitted his resignation as a fellow, which I have accepted. However, this in no way compensates for the harm his comments have inflicted. We are all horrified by what happened to Ms. Logan, and our thoughts are with her during this difficult time.”

(Greenberg’s reference to how provocative Rosen has been referred to his pro-Palestinian and pro-Arab political views. He has, for example, argued that “the weak” have a right to attack “the strong,” that Israel is “not a viable long-term project,” etc. )

Rosen’s tweets on Logan more than crossed a line. They were more than cruel and insensitive. They revealed a perverted view of the world that has no place at any university, much less a prestigious one. Differences of opinion -- even extreme ones -- are one thing, welcome at an educational institution. Misogyny and distortions of reality are quite another.

New York University’s Center on Law and Security should have been far stronger in its actions regarding Rosen. For heaven's sake, the reality show “Top Chef” is tougher on its losing chefs. NYU should have told him to pack his bags and go.

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By Valerie Strauss  | February 16, 2011; 1:24 PM ET
Categories:  Higher Education  | Tags:  cbs, egypt, egypt democracy, lara logan assault, lara logan attack, laura logan, new york university, nir rosen, nir rosen tweets, nyu, nyu center for law and security, rosen apologizes, rosen tweets  
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Comments

An equally valid question is, why weren't the 30 Republican senators who voted to allow this very same heinous act (gang rape) to go unpunished if you are an American contractor, fired by their constituents last November? Shouldn't THEY step down? Their actions have far more wide-reaching consequences than this one tweet, I'm afraid. But they are senators, and we're talking about well-connected business interests, so they are untouchable I guess.

The story of another blonde American woman victimized in the same way - and then again by the Republicans in Congress:

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=3977702&page=1

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/healthwellness/143164/30_gop_senators_vote_to_defend_gang_rape

Posted by: B2O2 | February 16, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to free speech in America. I agree that Rosen's comments were insensitive and inappropriate, and that I would not want him affiliated with my Law Center if I represented NYU, but shouldn't he have the right to comment and speculate as he likes on any topic, including the alleged attack on Ms. Logan?

Posted by: BobFV1 | February 16, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for this article, Valerie. I made a comment on the NYU Center for Law & Justice contact us form:

"I am deeply disappointed that NYU would be so soft on something so egregiously wrong. Why wasn't Nir Rosen fired? If this is the way things are done at NYU, then NYU is perhaps in need of a re-org so that humane values can be upheld without sending folks like this off with a golden parachute."

Posted by: KateMartin | February 16, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Firstly...Mr. Rosen exercised his right to Free Speech. Secondly...when will the evidence of the sexual assault become available for review? Thirdly...ever hear of a publicity stunt timed just right - some other story about the Pentagon not doing enough to prevent sexual assault? Yes Valerie, thank you for abusing your Free Press privilege to name a male U.S. Citizen in a "target this man" article. And I really appreciate you coming forward with some more rape-sex-crime-panic gender biased authoring.

Posted by: DuaneAnthonyWebb | February 16, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

This writer should be fired for repeating everything. What difference does it make that it was in the past? These people have lost their dignity. There is no honor among the press, obviously.

Posted by: candleman | February 16, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Look, as a three degree graduate, I have learned to see clearly how The Academy has always favored it's insiders, it's internally protected Progressive mouthpieces who almost daily commit spirit crimes on this order. I'm witness to many similar crimes by the Academic Establishment Insiders, spirit crimes against those who they "feel" it's PC to blindly attack.

Not until the American Academy becomes a free exchange of ideas again, a champion of free intellectual inquiry will I ever trust the voices of our universities again, nor will I ever donate to universities until there is true academic freedom restored.

Posted by: Miguel3 | February 16, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

When I heard about the assault (an understatement) I was very upset this happened. The protesting was over, and she was attacked.

MR. ROSEN'S comment was above the pale. His apology of not knowing the extent of her injuries is lame at best. ANY ATTACK ON ANY HUMAN BEING, SEXUAL IN NATURE, SHOULD NOT BE COMMENTED IN ANY NEGATIVE WAY.

Unfortunately, he will prosper at HIS comments. HE wasn't the one physically attacked, SHE was. There was a psychological damage, over and beyond the physical damage, that happened to Miss Logan.

A resignation is not enough for this excuse of a human being. I am appalled with this whole thing.

She was a target, and I blame everyone in power, for this attack. Kudos to the brave women and Egyptian Soldiers who rescued her. My prayers are for Miss Logan (note she isn't Jewish either)to have a complete recovery, despite what the Muslim Brotherhood and Rosen did to her!

Who else would gain for the frenzy to occur? The Muslim Brotherhood.

Posted by: SUESUEPIX | February 16, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Nir Rosen not only crossed the line, he scraped it off the road. After seeing his "provocative style" described, I believe the only reason he began to retract was concern for the damage he had caused himself. Just looking at his brief history in the column, its easy for me to find his words relative to Logan consistent with a badly disturbed mental state.

In reply to BobVF1:

Legally Rosen could express himself. At the same time so could his employer (by firing him) as the employer should have done. People react strongly to emotional stimuli anathema to what they believe. For example, despite the fact their demonstrations were legal, the more visible and vocal protesters against the Vietnam war caused a huge tide of pro-war sentiment among veterans and blue collar workers.

Posted by: billsecure | February 16, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The dirty little secret of the political left is that there's a whole bunch of intolerant, nasty little zealots like Rosen among them.

His protestations notwithstanding, he really isn't particuarly troubled if people with whom he may disgree politically come to harm. What a lousy excuse for a human being.

Posted by: LHS2 | February 16, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Um, isn't it pretty clear that he was fired in all but name? NYU asked him to leave, and he left, but they called it a "resignation" rather than a firing. Karen Greenberg's comments make it pretty clear that his resignation was not exactly voluntary.

The earlier commenter who bemoaned Rosen's "golden parachute" is also entirely off-base: from the sounds of it, this is a part-time fellowship for researchers at the university; there was clearly no severance payout for Rosen.

Posted by: fakedude2 | February 16, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse


"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press."

The amendment applies only to the government, not to private entities such as NYU.

There may be other bodies, such as AAUP, that might sanction NYU for its actions.

Posted by: destinysmom | February 16, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I am an alumni of NYU and I'm deeply ashamed of the way they handled this manner. This person was allowed to resign when he should have been fired and stripped of his "golden parachute". I normally do not wish ill on anyone, but, I am making an exception in this case - I hope that he is refused employment by all educational institutes. His comments were heinous.

Posted by: ADaisyADay | February 16, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Again the question...has it actually been proven that she was sexually assaulted? And what percentage of sexual assault accusers are in fact false accusers? I mean if it's like 25% then theres a 1 in 4 chance that she's thrown the "sexual" part in with the physical attack, or would that be another set of datum?

Posted by: DuaneAnthonyWebb | February 16, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely disgusting comments from Nir Rosen and shameful cowardice from New York University in not firing him promptly. Outrageous.

Posted by: eric_b | February 16, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

For crying out loud. He was joking. It would be a cold day in August I'd resign from a good job just for some silly joke. Lighten up folks, and let's stop being so PC.

Posted by: rop2 | February 16, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

For crying out loud. He was joking. It would be a cold day in August I'd resign from a good job just for some silly joke. Lighten up folks, and let's stop being so PC.

Posted by: rop2 | February 16, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree with BobFV1 about free speech.

So if I say that BobFV1 is a prick for what he said, I'm exercising my right to "Freedom of Speech", right?

Posted by: tonymaz1 | February 16, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Let's clarify free speech a little.

I have the unqualified right to say to my my boss, "You're an imbecile because you don't understand the Constitution at all, but you sure don't let your ignorance stop you from spouting off about it in online forums."

My boss has the unqualified right to say to me, "You're fired", and mean it.

No governmental agency has the right to imprison or fine either of us for either statement.

The Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech means freedom from prosecution, not freedom from consequences.

Posted by: ic2064 | February 16, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Nir's D-bag remarks stand on their own. Retribution will be meted-out accordingly. Let him simmer in his own juices while the public applies all the heat.

Posted by: schratboy | February 16, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

@Duane. It's obvious you have NO understanding of the situation! It took many women and 20 Egyptian police to rescue her. IF and I mean IF her accusations were false, don't you think those, who rescued her, would have ALREADY made a statement that she wasn't sexually abused?

PUHLEEZE get your head out of the sand! You are the intolerant man!

Posted by: SUESUEPIX | February 16, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

People really don't seem to use their brains when they tweet. And it is not free speech, yes he can say what he wants, but you still may have to abide by the standards set by your employer. You have the freedom to say it, but if you choose to, there are consequences. Stop trying to excuse everything with the free speech line.

Posted by: jtsw | February 16, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm horrified some people are assuming Ms. Logan is lying about being sexually assaulted. Why assume she's lying? Because you don't agree with her politics? That's troubling. To state that 1 out of every 4 women is lying about sexual assault is incorrect. Most studies have the rate of false accusations at 5 to 8%. Dept. of Justice stats show only 26% of all rapes are reported. Only 6% of rapists will spend a day in jail. In other countries the statistics are worse. Sad reality is the men who committed this crime will never be brought to justice. It happened during a mob scene in a foreign country. No person deserves to be assaulted or mocked for it!

Posted by: MrsBlack | February 16, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

DuaneAnthonyWebb, I think your tin foil hat is on too tight...

Posted by: cosmiccanine | February 16, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Double standards when it comes to judging Nir Rosen and indeed many others. Since being at NYU Rosen has filled his tweets with the coarsest anti-Semitism, barely even cloaked in the usual anti-Zionism of modern-day anti-Semites. Here is how he expressed his disappointment that early Greeks did not wipe out the Jews in the Kingdom of Israel:

On December 3rd, 2010: “On Hannuka, Just think, if only the Greeks had been better at counterinsurgency we wouldn’t have these problems today. Where was Petraeus?” (Jeff Goldberg of the Atlanta explains:".. Hannukah marks the defeat of a Syrian-Greek empire by a Jewish insurgency. If the Greeks had won, the Jews would have been slaughtered."

But hey, anti-Semitism today is once again politically correct, especially in so-called "progressive" or "liberal" circles while criticism of women is not, unless they come from an "Islamic viewpoint." But this is a taste of the "new universalism" of today's so-called liberals and progressives. Demonizing, delegitimating and using double standards to judge Israel and Jews is fine, but not anybody else. And at the same time so-called feminists totally disregarding the misogyny of both Islam and the Islamic world.

Posted by: neretto | February 16, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Why are grown and especially highly educated men reduced to blathering idiots when asked to comprehend the sexual assault of a woman? It's as if an opportunity arises for them to release through idiotic commentary their frustrations and most likely rejections by women. And people who are exploiting this story about Lara Logan for anti-semitism should ask why must they make everything about themselves? Sometimes it really isn't all about you.

Posted by: dcsmartie | February 16, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

To those who defend these insensitive and disgusting comments as statements worthy of 1st Amendment protection and justification: shame on you.

These are the callous remarks of someone without morals, character, or sound judgement. They are remarks which should not be defended and for which there is no apology.

And for the poster wanting "proof" of the attack. Go and ask Ms. Logan face to face for proof, or better yet, go to Tahrir Square in your search of "proof." You should be ashamed that you use this violation of another human being as your sounding board for political issues and conspiracy theories.

Posted by: learytimf | February 16, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

neretto, great post! you have nailed these people perfectly

i would never call myself a Conservative, but the brave new cadre of these self-titled "progressives" in the Academic world repulse me much more; their double standards, self-hatred, and their false sense of moral superiority is odious, and Mr. Rosen just gave us a glimpse into their true world.

Posted by: JeromeA1 | February 16, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

have any of you even read anything Rosen has written? how can you judge him as a disgusting human being for a few tweets he wrote as a tasteless joke? rosen is a war correspondent who covers from beyond the safety of the green line - he has been beaten and shot at numerous times and nearly executed by the taliban, iraqi insurgents and pakistani insurgents on separate occasions, all to defend and give voice to victims of war, human rights abuses and especially to women who have suffered abuse.

have none of you ever made a tasteless comment you've regretted? he's lost his job, his reputation and has spent the day apologizing profusely and expressing regret. is that not enough?

in losing rosen we are losing the voices of millions of people who most journalists are too scared to cover.

Posted by: gilr | February 17, 2011 3:10 AM | Report abuse

@gilr Are you serious in your comment???? The only good thing about Rosen's "resignation" is there is one LESS "progressive" reporter spewing his bile. You state he was out there in the "trenches" reporting the events.

This man lost his credibility in "not one comment" but more than one printed article!!!! His writings reflect what the problem with what the media is: BIAS!!!

Aspiring journalists are supposed to go to school to "learn" Journalism. Which means, unbias reporting, unless the writer STATES this is his opinion. Rosen didn't do that. They don't want to report facts, they want to "Make a difference in the world" This man is doing just that, trying to curve opinion to what he wants others to "know" thus making them "followers of his ilk".

His article NEVER said it was his opinion, he wrote it as a FACT! It cannot be tolerated, and this type of opinion, which seems to be stated as fact, has to stop somewhere. Why not start now?

Tolerance is a sneaky word to try to make those who are against their way of (whatever it is) feel guilty and to basically shut them up.

GILR We, who have some sort of intelligence, have had this "tolerance" up to here. We MUST abide what the Left says because we would be "intolerant". The Left follows the Liberal (progressive) way of reporting. They write or say any kind of comments to the contrary of the Right's "belief",which is NOT fact, but belief, and give half truths to make the public THINK the Left is right. They are right. Always right!

Any disagreement with them means they are racist, homophobic, any anti label you wish to attach to it. Of course THEY are expressing their Constitutional Rights in protesting (very loudly I might add), on how the Right are just bullies.

Why is it always one sided. It's okay for the Left to bombast the Right. Yet we must be mute when the Left comments on something that the Right knows is off the charts!

Explain that if you dare!

Posted by: SUESUEPIX | February 17, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

rop2 says, "He was joking." I don't get it. Please explain what was so funny.

Posted by: sideswiththekids | February 17, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech means freedom from prosecution, not freedom from consequences.
- - -

AMEN.

I'm old enough to remember when law enforcement and the courts saw rape as "a crime of passion" and not a violent crime. I remember when rape was the victim's fault - "look at how she's dressed - she was asking for it." Times and law has changed but not so much.

My words to Rosen and the handful of males on here who appear to still have that offensive perspective: may you experience rape one day. YOU, not your daughter or your wife.

What he said was reprehensible. Forget the PC krap and "freedom of speech" nonsense. There is also common decency and Rosen is seriously lacking.

Posted by: mooncusser | February 17, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Freedom of speech does NOT gaurentee that any jerk can say something horribly offensive and face no consequences. It just means that he can say it and not go to prison. To excuse horribly offensive speech with the constitution is befouling the constitution. You have every right to say filth and garbage, but you do not get to get off scott free. Having the freedom to say vile things means you have the freedom to face the consequences of public ire, disdain, and yes, being fired by your boss. His remarks were out of line for any professor at an institute of higher education, and were fireable on any college campus, public or private. That he was allowed to resign was a gift.

AMEN TO THAT!

Posted by: DrTennyson | February 17, 2011 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Unless anyone of your are current students, faculty or alumni of NYU then your opinion isn't important whatsoever. I am an NYU alum. NYU is a private university that doesn't owe the public at-large an explanation for anything which goes on inside the university. Rosen resigned and that is satisfactory. The issue doesn't need to be prolonged. Doing so isn't going to help anyone.

Posted by: ShaneinCa | February 18, 2011 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that some of us, in the interest of free speech of course, seem to have lost even the most minimal sense of decency necessary to promote a civil society. He should have been fired.

Posted by: topryder1 | February 18, 2011 5:48 AM | Report abuse

How much more upset will we be if we find out he only resigned his "fellowship" at the "center" and he is still employed at NYU, teaching courses?

Posted by: Veejmartin | February 18, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

NYU has the legal right to fire someone for making idiotic comments. In a case where a university employee made jokes about a sexual assault, it's sad that there are people whose knee-jerk response is to say, "This is political correctness gone berserk."

However, I disagree with the comment made by ShaneinCa, which says that "NYU is a private university that doesn't owe the public-at-large an explanation for anything which goes on inside the university."

NYU may not be a state school, but it collects plenty of public funding. As such, there are all sorts of rules it has to follow. If NYU screws up big enough, it's absolutely the public's business.

Fortunately, NYU hasn't done anything wrong here. I understand the view expressed in the article, that NYU should have called it a firing. But that's clearly what it was, regardless of what they called it.

Posted by: Eric827 | February 18, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Is conservative revulsion over the public gang-rape *tournante* on CBS's Lara Logan a case of "Islamophobia"? or did willfully blind "Candorphobia" cause CBS executives to wrecklessly endanger their reporter?

*See "Battered Westerner Syndrome"
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0802/steyn1.asp

This phenomenon must be confronted candidly if we hope to learn anything from these incidents.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 18, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

topryder1: good point. Was he fired for the exact statement or because he is the sort of person no one wants to work with once they know his personality? A colleague once brought an application to the store manager and said, "If you hire her I will quit." The applicant was a regular customer and was constantly swatting and cussing at her child for normal curiosity, and when she was told the job paid minimum wage, she looked at the toddler and said, "Well, anything's better than staying home." She was not hired--not because of the specific words but because the manager felt if she was that contemptuous toward her own child he couldn't trust her to be polite to the customers or to get along with her colleagues. Some people are fired not because of their views but because of what those views indicate about their ability to get along with colleagues.

Posted by: sideswiththekids | February 18, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

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