Logan had been working on the story for over a year, but for whatever reason, she didn’t follow the carpentry rule when it comes to journalism:
Measure twice, cut once.
Logan, knowing there was no way to spin this, knowing there was simply no excuse for getting it wrong for TV’s most respected news magazine, offered a blunt apology:
“The most important thing to every person at 60 Minutes is the truth, and today the truth is we made a mistake. That’s very disappointing for any journalist, that’s very disappointing for me.”
Whether an independent council needs to be tapped to look into exactly what went wrong is up to CBS. They’ve gone down this road before during Rathergate and the 2004 story on George W. Bush‘s National Guard service, which was based on memos later proven to be false. Dan Rather lost his job and essentially never recovered, but partially because he wouldn’t apologize (and to this day won’t) despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Rather stated that while the memos in question around Bush’s service may have been fabricated, the “thrust” of the story was still accurate.
So will Logan suffer the same fate? The feeling here is no. Logan’s apology—without delay, without ambiguity—is the primary difference here, with Rather’s age and sizable contract at the time playing a role as well (Rather was 71 at the time, Logan is 42). And in Logan’s case, the mea culpa wasn’t something Tweeted out, nor was it made in a “statement by CBS News”. She owned up to it herself, and audiences have proven to be very forgiving, very forgetful in these situations.
Of course, there are still those who want details behind the reason for the mistake. But those questions are mostly being asked by the politically motivated in the media who somehow view Logan as a partisan, not by a viewing audience who sees said media increasingly making big mistakes on almost every huge story. The folks at home hear about 60 Minutes getting it wrong and collectively shrug. It’s not like they haven’t recently seen this movie before on CBS or any other respected outlet before.
Trust in media is at an all-time low. As a result, expectations have gone down as well. 60 Minutes—barring some collapse of integrity on a consistent basis—will always be a Top 5 show, both on the ratings and respect front. 45 years on the air and at top buys you that. Besides, Americans and its media are suffering from an all-time high of Attention Deficit Disorder…all thanks to social media, sleeping with cell phones and the 24/7 news cycle.
But since the Logan story has now become a political football, it has predictably become personal. Enter the Washington Post, who went all-TMZ and deemed it necessary to share with its readers what Logan wore for Halloween this year when trick-or-treating with her kids:
“On Halloween, people who live in Logan’s neighborhood were startled to see the famous TV correspondent trick-or-treating with her children while dressed in a hot-pink bodysuit costume, set off with high heels.”
Post Columnist Paul Fahri also decided to reach back to 2008 in an effort to disclose the juicy details behind how Logan met her now-husband. You see, she was separated from her first hubby and actually started dating another man who was also in the official throes of divorce. It would be enough to be a plotline on House of Cards…if it wasn’t so damn tedious. Zoe Barnes would laugh that script right out of the room.
Of course, the best part of the Post story is the characterization of Logan’s “globetrotting lifestyle”. You would think this was a profile on the affable Anthony Bourdain, who travels the world for CNN exploring lesser-known cities, cultures and food. Logan’s travels have included getting shot at, hiding in bomb shelters and getting sexual assaulted and beaten by a gang in Cairo for nearly 30 minutes (2011). To apply the term “globetrotting” here is like confusing the Arab Spring with MTV Spring Break…
So answer me this: Would a male reporter’s choice of a Halloween costume while escorting his kids around his neighborhood, or how a male reporter met his wife, even be mentioned?
Would a male war correspondent’s assignments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt…be characterized as globetrotting?
Say what you will about Lara Logan’s 60 Minutes piece.
Say what you will about her apology or the need for more information around what went wrong.
But the Washington Post decided to make this a story about gender…broaching bodysuits and implying forbidden romance.
This is sexism, plain and simple.
And since this has become a conservative vs. liberal thing, don’t expect many female journalists from the left to stand up to the paper’s portrayal Lara Logan.
That just doesn’t fit the narrative, after all…
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