Catherine Forsythe

Catherine Forsythe
know a bit about computer security, dogs, horses, skiing, medicine and making risotto. My nickname in real life/online is "Noggie" - I'm on Twitter, with the @dogreader account.

FEBRUARY 18, 2011 9:45AM

Al Jazeera Shocks with Disappointing Lara Logan Coverage

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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".

Catherine Forsythe

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I am also getting sick and tired of western media saying the word 'assault' instead of gang raped.
The whole thing is just dreadful.
rated with Friday morning hugs
al jazeera is still stuck in the cultural milieu
Who signs their checks?
To them, the "story" is that the men of Egypt threw off oppression. They don't feel the desire to bring up an negativity when discussing something they feel good about.
I read an article this morning in main Salon titled "How 480 characters unraveled my career", the journalist Nir Rosen talks about his twitter comments where he "rolled his eyes" because Logan was going to get lots of media attention in the United States. He goes on to note that he considers her to be a supporter of the "warmongering" of the United States, and also notes that hundreds of Egyptian women suffered the same situation at the same event.

Can we guess why Al-Jazeera might not cover this story about the blond South African reporter working for a news agency of the United States?
As horrific as the attack on Ms Logan was, (and despite the first comment she has made it clear it was not gang rape) could it be that the American fascination with this story is not shared globally.

It is awful, and terrible but it is not the most important story to emerge from Egypt in the last few days. It is not a vehicle to exam either the revolution or the state of Egyptian society.

Here's the thing - an American TV reporter was attacked. I understand why American audiences are interested but this is not a global story.

Interestingly - many negative stories about protestors were broadcasdt and published during the revolution. To suggest somehow the narrative of the events in Egypt ignored that is simply wrong.

May I take this opportunity to express my hope Ms Logan will recover soon. She is a brave and committed reporter and certainly no-one deserves to suffer what she has. She is in my thoughts and prayers
Didn't Rosen resign the next day?
I assumed his resignation was the result of one of those conversations with his employers, to wit:
"Will you be resigning tomorrow, or will we be announcing your termination?"
It all creeps me out. Seems that news story is so important to the globe that it should be on page one!!! I hope Lara Logan gets better and kicks some butt.
I wanted to feel good about the revolution in Egypt.
I'm so angry with how some of the American media have treated this Lara Logan story. Maybe it is better that Al-Jazeera is silent. It may be just less crap.
It's disappointing to hear that...I always hope for better from the media. However, it should be noted that there are TONS of stories that the American media doesn't report on, that are widely reported in the Middle East...usually because they go against our national atrocities allowed if they cause the U.S. to appear in an unfavorable light. By the way, was the mainstream press reporting comprehensively on the United States sending our victims of extraordinary rendition to Egypt and Mubarek to be tortured? Was that on the nightly news? Again, I think everyone in so-called "news" and "journalism" should be reporting the truth, so I'm not giving Al Jazeera a pass - I'm just passing the blame all the way around.
On the whole, I have to agree with Pete. The attack on Ms. Logan was horrific and I certainly wish the best for her as she recovers. However, according to Reuters' February 15th article on the attack, "The Committee to Protect Journalists, a media watchdog group, said at least 52 journalists were attacked and 76 were imprisoned during the unrest in Egypt that led Mubarak to step down after 30 years in power." [sorry, I suck at links within comments.]

How many of those journalists can you name? We aren't Al-Jazeera's target audience.
ms catherine ... i had no idea of the extent of the media oppression during the Egyptian uprising ... i appreciate the information you present as well as that of your commentors ...
If they made a journalistic decision that the rape or assault of one reporter was not within their priorities, I see nothing wrong with that. Rape happens every day. Focussing on Ms Logan's tragedy runs the risk of slipping into celebrity "news", which is not AJ's sort of coverage. I prefer that they do well that which they do.
Credibility is a news organization's most precious currency. Al Jazeera's is seriously devalued. Good report, Catherine.
I suspect the real reason is that it may not be acceptable in public, but underneath there is a numb acceptance of treating women & reporters (esp. foreign ones) in debasing ways. They don't want to see it.

Never been there, just a gut feeling; wrong before, teachable.
And CNN, MSNBC, etc. Shocks By Ignoring the Liberated Women in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Arab media not reporting on Arab men mistreating ( sexually assaulting) a woman- even a Western journalist.
Gee- how surprising...
I wonder if there have been even more women attacked in the same way. If the number given in Stim's comment is correct, surely there were others who were women.

Just to play devil's advocate....

1) A search of the website shows that Al Jazeera English has only posted 2 stories about journalists in Egypt during the protests: one calling for the freeing of three of their reporters on 3 Feb and one round-up piece on attacks and detainments of on foreign an
Lemme try that again, this time not hitting the "post this comment" button before I've written my comment:

Just to play devil's advocate:

1) A search of the Al Jazeera English website shows that they only posted two stories on journalists in Egypt during the protests, both on 3 February: one calling for the immediate release of three of their own reporters arrested by Egyptian military, and one round-up piece on attacks on foreign and domestic press crews over the week. This indicates to me that the omission of a story on Lara Logan is less about race or bias than it is about an editorial policy of not making the media "the story" when covering these types of events.

2) There really *is* no story (yet). CBS News issued the most plain-vanilla account of her ordeal they could and begged for privacy, mostly to take the wind out of the sails of the other news organizations who were working on their versions of the story. But until (or if) Ms. Logan or witnesses step forward to say something substantive, the only thing we know is that she was attacked and the attack had a sexual component of unknown degree. That's not much of a story to go on.

3) With all due respect to Ms. Logan, whom I have spent the better part of two days defending from misogynist creeps on HuffPo, compared to the potentially world-altering events still going on in the Middle East, this isn't a very important story. Do any of us think for one bloody second that Lara Logan would want us spending more time on her attack than the out-and-out massacre of unarmed civilians going on *right now* in Bahrain? Of course not.
Amazing isn't it? I don't think the west can completely understand the deeply rooted role of women as being second class, or devalued in the traditions of some of these cultures. I believe that if they did run the story, they would not be as credible to their middle eastern audience who would be jeering at a woman in this kind of role in the first place, her dress, and her attitude of disrespect (to their cultural beliefs about women). I think the distinctions that women are somehow to be treated respectfully while violating their cultural beliefs and behaviors is abhorrent to them. In the frenzy of the mob, many people would find further excuse, were it not for their very brave women, she might be dead. It is a culture in transition perhaps, but Al Jazeera did not want to be involved I guess.
Al Jazeera has worked in tandem with terrorists. At least one man and maybe several [that survived their torture and kidnapping] came home to say that Al Jazeera reporters and editors KNEW they were being held captive there but heck, they were infidel Americans.
Al Jazeera has no credibility in the west; it is an arm of the Islamic world that loathes women, gays and western human beings.

So yeah. Not surprised.

This is the first I've heard of this. Perhaps you'd like to post some proof of these incredible allegations?

Working in tandem with terrorists?

Seems to me you've fallen for the propaganda many are too willing to spread about a credible and increasingly influential news organisation.