On February 15, the news story broke that CBS reporter Lara Logan had been sexually assaulted and been beaten while covering the uprising in Egypt. This has been a major news item for most media outlets. The approach of this horrid incident for Ms Logan has been a Rorschach test for the various news services. Some media outlets have taken a salacious approach and placed a picture of Ms Logan in an attractive evening gown to accompany the news coverage. Other reports have focused on the dangers to reporters who have faced dangers to be the first witnesses of historic events.
One of the most curious approaches to the Lara Logan story may be that of the Al-Jazeera news services. Al-Jazeera is a media service that describes itself, on its English website, as follows:
"... As the "Voice of the South", headquartered in the heart of the Middle East, and with close to 70 news bureaus worldwide, Al Jazeera covers under-reported regions and events across the world through a spirit of journalism that is honest, courageous and distinctive."
For the coverage of the revolt in Egypt, Al Jazeera had been exceptional. The stories were filed in an expedient manner and were insightful. It was obvious that Al Jazeera had a well placed network of reporters to cover a major historical event in its main region of coverage. International news services monitored Al Jazeera for breaking news and a unique, timely perspective of the conflict in Egypt.
The Al Jazeera approach to the Lara Logan incident is nothing. There is not any mention of the horrid incident involving Ms Logan. On the main page of the English speaking site of Al Jazeera
, there is a search function for its web pages. Entering "Lara Logan" [without quote marks] in the search function yields one (1) result. The result is a February 2007 news story which mentions Ms Logan:
"... In this week's main feature we follow foreign correspondent Lara Logan's stand against American network CBS. Logan produced a piece called Battle for Haifa Street about violence on the streets of Baghdad. The network refused to run it deeming it "too strong". In frustration Logan sent out an email to friends and colleagues stating the segment was too important to ignore."
That paragraph is near the bottom of the article. Further searches on the web site for possible errors in spelling Ms Logan's name produced similar results for the recent incident. There were no results.
For Al Jazeera, the recent Lara Logan in Egypt is a non story. There is no reporting of the beating and sexual attack of a fellow journalist. The recent Lara Logan attack is not a story that Al Jazeera has covered yet. What does this say about a news service that touts itself as "honest, courageous and distinctive"? Perhaps Al Jazeera should add a qualifier to that description. That qualifier may be "when politically expedient".