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Posted at 3:09 PM ET, 02/17/2011

Al-Jazeera's silence on Lara Logan

By Jonathan Capehart

Writing about the horrifying sexual assault on Lara Logan, my colleague Alexandra Petri stated that "[t]his sort of story has a pernicious staying power...." And that would be true if you're getting your news from American outlets, especially the New York tabloids.

DNlogan.jpgNYPlogan.jpg

But if you want to know how the Logan attack is playing in the Arab world you'll be sorely disappointed. I was alerted to this by my friend Paul Chamberlain in Las Vegas. "I have an interesting observation for you," he wrote in an instant message. "I am one the many who fell in love with Al Jazeera's coverage [during the Egypt crisis] - Its app is a staple on my iPad - I watch their stream daily." Chamberlain is among those Americans who flocked to al-Jazeera for on-the-ground reporting on the Cairo protests from Arab reporters in the cultural capital of the Arab world.

"I was curious how they would handle the Lara Logan incident," Chamberlain continued. "Go here http://english.aljazeera.net/ and search 'Lara Logan.' " When you do it, your reaction might be the same as mine to Chamberlain, "um.....crickets." There was and continues to be nothing there. Or at al-Jazeera's Arabic-language site. Wow. He did note that BBC, Times of India and Le Monde all carried stories on Logan's assault.

Marc Lynch, professor of Middle East Studies at George Washington University, told Reuters this month, "Al Jazeera has probably achieved a revolution in its perception in the United States through its coverage of Egypt." A perception that is not helped by completely ignoring the Logan assault story.

By Jonathan Capehart  | February 17, 2011; 3:09 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Because American media carries so many stories about foreign journalists who are attacked? I don't think so.

Posted by: Victoria27 | February 17, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

@Victoria27

Yeah, I can think of a few. The Japanese videographer in Burma is one. More than a few journalists getting whacked/smacked in Russia come to mind.

Also, Lara Logan is kind of big deal in journalism world. Now, I can't say she's a big deal for all the 'right' reasons (having pin-up looks and notorious war-zone liaisons and all being big factors I am sure). But she was good at her job either way.

One other thing: You don't hear about Iranian journalists, or Egyptian journalists, Saudi journalists...because there aren't any 'real' ones by fiat of the regimes. Chicken and egg situation there.

Posted by: HAL-9000 | February 17, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@Hal: Yes, a few make it through. Usually when they're murdered. Usually in newspapers. Not much airtime allotted to them.

Posted by: Victoria27 | February 17, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Watching the American media care only about the harms done to blonde celebrities is like living in a perpetual installment of the Nancy Grace missing-blonde-white-girls hour.

Posted by: privacy5 | February 17, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The whole issue has been sensationalized and difficult to believe...this bimbo is looking for ratings, a raise, or both...

Posted by: mark0004 | February 17, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

its comparable to washington posts silence on the attack on ray mcgovern is it not?

http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2011/02/16/breaking-news-ray-mcgovern-brutalized-left-bleeding-by-hillary-clinton-police-%E2%80%9Cso-this-is-america%E2%80%9D/

Posted by: kloooo | February 17, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, the treatment of the Logan story by the Left, including Al Jazeera in this instance, has been depressing. We can support protestors and acknowledge that, among them, are some despicable thugs. We can promote democracy and liberty without turning a blind eye to the Muslim Brotherhood whose world view is antithetical to both. http://www.thenewtasman.com/2011/02/al-jazeera-ignores-logan-rape-story/

Posted by: philjquin | February 17, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I have watched Al Jazeera English service on free-to-air TV in Sydney (TVS) for some time, and generally find their presentations "fair and balanced", unlike the Murdoch press, which dominates Australia. But why do they thus far fail to mention the current protests in Iran? Surely the owners are not beholden to the Iranian theocrats。

Posted by: vjwebster | February 17, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Assaults on women, sexual or otherwise, in the Arab world are not a news worthy item. During my 45 year career I worked with many women who made the mistake of marrying into one of the myriad Arab cultures. The endings to those stories are not pretty. In the Arab world, women are not human beings, neither are children. In my view, an assault on any journalist, female or male, is unacceptable.

Posted by: windmill3 | February 17, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised they aren't covering it, glad even. A lot of terrible things have happened in the intervening time since this all began. Covering each and every episode with the furor that our media has with this woman is not just a fools errand, but inconsequential. We know this sort of thing happens already, a running commentary of her recovery is patronizing.

How about some real news?

Posted by: coffex | February 17, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure whatever happened to Lara was frightening and horrid for her, but still, it's NOT the "Logan Assault Story".

It's the Egypt story.

Hundreds of people---man and women---were killed during this relatively non-violent struggle for what we hope will be a democracy.

Do we even know their names?
No we don't.
Why isn't the US press covering their stories?
Because they're not white?
Because we can't pronounce their names?
Sure.
But also because they are not the story.

It is absurd that you are asking Al-Jazeera to adhere to the principals of those bastions of journalism you hold up as examples, The New York Post and The New York Daily News.

Posted by: kadnil | February 17, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know where Capehart was when the AJE bureau chief and his female colleague were detained by the Mubarak regime, blindfolded and cuffed for a day on a concrete floor.

Do you even know that woman's name, Capehart?

Posted by: ElizabethFerrari | February 17, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. I am a supporter almost universally of broader media voices, especially internationally, but Al Jazeera has a horrific track record with regard to its journalistic integrity.

Go back to 2003-04 and read transcripts of some of the programs that aired at the time. It is really quite shocking. A lot of the people extolling the virtues of AJ now have no idea what has aired on the channel in the past, especially in Arabic.

Makes me sick to my stomach that public funds might have been used to air AJE segments on PBS.

Posted by: pj48 | February 18, 2011 3:39 AM | Report abuse

Al-Jazeera did cover this: http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/02/15/live-blog-egypt

Although it is reported as a passing mention amongst other events that took place.

Also, you have to remember, that as we speak, people are being shot to death in Libya and Bahrain. So Al-Jazeera may have more important news stories to cover.

Posted by: blesssins | February 18, 2011 5:34 AM | Report abuse

Who's this lady ? Somebody knows her outside your country ? I ask it, because AJE is not a local newspaper but a global TV. AJE never talks on "miscellaneous facts" ("fait divers"). This "news item" may be important for you, in the U.S., and, of course, for featured people's fans, but not for us, the rest of the world

Allez, salut

Posted by: JGj1 | February 18, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

The American media including the Post, was silent on the gang rape of Lara Logan for days because the attack didn't fit the template of the story they were trying to tell. For weeks we were told about the pro Democracy forces in Tahir Square. What we really had was the Muslim Brotherhood in their vicious anti US, anti Israel, anti Jew, misogynistic glory leading a takeover of a US ally. Shame on the Post and the media for failing to do their job and tell the truth.

Posted by: jy151310 | February 18, 2011 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Al Jazeera covered it on their blog, which included Twitter reactions.

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/02/15/live-blog-egypt

It's sad that I would have to correct Washington Post's sorry ass "reporting." This is why you guys keep losing subscriptions. Can't wait for you guys to go out of business this decade, because you know it's inevitable.

Posted by: aazizzada | February 18, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Correction to jy151310: The statement cbs actually released on Logan speaks of "sexual assault." That does not mean she was gang raped.

Posted by: Victoria27 | February 18, 2011 11:42 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 the media hope to learn anything from these incidents.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 18, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

aazizzada is right, Al-Jazeera gave minor unsearchable coverage of this crime in it's blog. We can fault the WP a little for missing this minor coverage. But we can fault Al-Jazeera more for it's scant coverage.

For many of us, this sad story casts a very dark shadow over the events in Egypt, over Egypt itself, over Arabs and over Islam.

A source like Al-Jazeera treating this as a minor story likely reflects Arab/Islamic lack of concern for women. The reports about the molestation of foreign and domestic women in Egypt are _disgusting_. It appears that > 60% of Egyptian men participate. The bad affects on the western view of Egypt, Arabs, and Islam due to this sad event will be long-lasting and profound.

Posted by: Senavifan | February 18, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

If AJE wants to broaden it's audience among those of us who can remember what it used to be years ago... in Arabic and very biased, then it has to report what we are interested in - including human issues that involve women. I have searched AJ before looking for how they reported what was happening to the women in Darfur. And searched them about all the maids stacked up at the consultate in Dubai whose employers beat them and worse. They remain silent regarding violence against women, whether the women are black, white, Muslim, Jew, Christian or Hindu. I'm sure searching AJE about the atrocities committed against women in the DRC (Congo), will find nothing.

It's unfortunate, considering AJE has progressed so significantly from their radical early years in reporting and investigating.

Posted by: andale-ya | February 18, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

If AJE wants to continue to broaden it's audience among those of us who can remember what it used to be years ago, in Arabic and very biased, then it has to report what we are interested in - including human issues that involve women. I have searched AJ before looking for how they reported what was happening to the women in Darfur. And searched them about all the maids stacked up at the consultate in Dubai whose employers beat them and worse. They remain silent regarding violence against women, whether the women are black, white, Muslim, Jew, Christian or Hindu. I'm sure searching AJE about the atrocities committed against women in the DRC (Congo), I'll find nothing.

It's unfortunate, since AJE has progressed so significantly from their radical early years in reporting and investigating.

Posted by: andale-ya | February 18, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

So what explains the Post's silence on Ray McGovern? Doesn't this story much more closely affect the Post's constituency than a gang attack on a blonde woman in a crowd in Cairo does Al-Jazeera's constituency? Doesn't the attack on someone exercising his right of dissent, while Clinton was pontificating on the right of dissent elsewhere in the world, strike anybody in the Post as disturbing enough to cover?

Apparently not: http://www.washingtonpost.com/newssearch/search.html?st=Ray%20McGovern

Maybe if he were a blonde woman you'd be covering this story?

Posted by: nikkiru | February 19, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

If an Egyptian journalist, man or woman, was sexually assualted and brutally beaten a crowd of thugs protesting in Times Square, you know it would be front page news all over the United States for weeks.

Al-Jazeera has an extreme pro-Arab bias. Always has. You're very naive if you think you're getting an objective look at the Arab world through Al-Jazeera. It's just silly to think otherwise. American networks cover Americans primarily, but they don't cover up stories to make America look good to the world. Quite the opposite.

Posted by: kennedy6500 | February 20, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

If an Egyptian journalist, man or woman, was sexually assualted and brutally beaten a crowd of thugs protesting in Times Square, you know it would be front page news all over the United States for weeks.

Al-Jazeera has an extreme pro-Arab bias. Always has. You're very naive if you think you're getting an objective look at the Arab world through Al-Jazeera. It's just silly to think otherwise. American networks cover Americans primarily, but they don't cover up stories to make America look good to the world. Quite the opposite.

Posted by: kennedy6500 | February 20, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post has a lot of nerve talking about "double standards" when it never covered the Common Cause demonstrators who called for U.S. Sup. Ct. Justice Clarence Thomas to be tortured, "sent back to the fields", lynched, and "hanged". Watch the news the Post won't cover:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3ctO7fdrcc

If Tea Partiers said such things about any black official, there wouldn't be enough ink in America to print all the Post's commentary about it.

Posted by: RomeoHotel | February 20, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Scary. Google "Clinton and Ray McGovern" and see how many hits you get including many, many, many hits in foreign news sites. Then take a closer look --- no major news outlets.

A silent protester at a Clinton speech on how great the protests are in other countries is dragged out, but no major news agency finds that newsworthy.

I find that frightening.... oops, I mean,

"Four legs good, two legs better!" baaa baaa baaa.

Posted by: quark1 | February 22, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps because right now all the information is based on rumors?

The seriousness of this situation should deter speculation.

Everyone needs patience until the victim decides to tell her story.

Posted by: toyotabedzrock | February 23, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

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