Reporter deserves compassion

February 24, 2011


Suggested things to say when a woman is sexually assaulted: Is there anything I can do? I am so sorry this happened. I am with you.

You would think suggestions would be unnecessary. You would think the essential fact of being human and knowing another human being has been hurt in one of the worst ways possible would make the words automatic.

But the recent attack on Lara Logan of CBS News — beaten and assaulted while reporting on the uprising in Egypt — suggests that is not always the case.

“Lara Logan is lucky she’s alive,” wrote something named Jim Hoff, blogging on something called Gateway Pundit. “Her liberal belief system almost got her killed on Friday. ... Why did this attractive blonde female reporter wander into Tahrir Square last Friday? Why did she think this was a good idea? ... Was it her political correctness that about got her killed?”

Something named Debbie Schlussel, blogging on an eponymous website, used the attack as a launching pad for a screed against the “animals” Schlussel blamed — meaning not the attackers themselves, but Islam writ large. “So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about.”

On the other side of the bipolar American political divide, something named Nir Rosen — a journalist and a fellow at New York University — mocked Logan in a series of tweets as a “warmonger,” presumably for her coverage of the Iraq and/or Afghanistan wars, and said he was “rolling my eyes” at the attention she’d be getting.

Let us pass lightly on the specific “thoughts” — a term used advisedly here — raised by these individuals, except to note that, contrary to what Hoff and Schlussel imply, Logan did not wander aimlessly into that square. The woman is a reporter and she was doing what reporters do: going places, sometimes dicey, difficult or dangerous places, in order to originate the information that allows the rest of us to opine from the comfort of our chairs.

The suggestion that in doing her job, Logan somehow “deserved” what happened to her is appalling. As is Hoff’s political spin, Rosen’s mockery and Schlussel’s frothing bigotry.

But what is also appalling — arguably, more appalling — is the reflexive objectification of a woman who has been violently violated. To read these comments and the many more like them circulating the web, it is easy to forget that we are talking about a real attack upon a real woman who must now grapple with real consequences. It’s as if some feel Logan’s tragedy exists only as a vehicle for them to score political points.

One in every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape. The number — it comes from the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network — bears repeating: one in six. Rape is nearly as common as the common cold. And can you imagine looking into the eyes of that one woman in six and saying something as asinine, as unfeeling, as heart dead and soul cold as, “So sad, too bad”?

Yet this sort of thing, this treating of other people’s traumas as if they were abstractions unworthy of reverence, is common now in the public forum. As in the vitriol that attended the deaths of Tony Snow, Robert Novak and Sen. Edward Kennedy. The great irony of the Internet era, the era that brought the world together, is that in some ways, we live at a greater remove from one another, from simple decency, and from our own humanity, than ever before.

Lara Logan was sexually assaulted. She is a real person — she exists somewhere at this very moment — and she is deserving of our compassion, our empathy and our prayers.

There was a time that would have been unnecessary to say.


Tom Shewmon 7 years ago

Wonder if Pittsy would've written a column like this had it been a Fox News female correspondent?

parrothead8 7 years ago

You're so tightly wound, you just can't read past your own political leanings, can you, Tom? Some things transcend politics. Compassion is one of them.

Getaroom 7 years ago

You and Vertigo do not have to read Pitts and your comments are vile! Civility? Not in your "vocabulary" - either of you.

Ralph Reed 7 years ago

Yes, Tom, he would have. You know that. Otherwise you would have written large and long (again) about your hatred for Pitts. Why don't you answer your own question for us, with reasons?

Think beyond your Faux News political parroting and play nice in the sand box.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

Sometimes it is good not to comment unless you have something thoughtful to say.

parrothead8 7 years ago

That's always your fallback, Tom. "What? I didn't say anything. I was just thinking out loud." And then you quickly retreat into one of those gray areas that you usually seem to wish didn't exist.

This was an article about a woman victimized by sexual assault, and who now has had to endure heartless, ignorant comments about it from people who have political leanings in common with your own. Your comment shows little understanding of the sentiments expressed in the story. Pitts made no distinction regarding the political leanings of the assault victim. His only reference to her was as a "real person."

The only person here who has tried to politicize the victim or what happened to her has been you, when you posed your "hypothetical" question. That, and your history on these forums, loudly proclaims your intent.

gudpoynt 7 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kirk Larson 7 years ago

Typical FOX News tactic: ask an obviously (to thinking people) stupid question that implies something sinister about someone. Does Obama hate America? Do Democrats want the economy to fail? Would Leonard Pitts have said the same thing he just said?

kernal 7 years ago

Nice job of proving Pitts point guys. It doesn't matter which network she worked for!

50YearResident 7 years ago

I agree with Pitts on everything except his comment to this statement: Something named Debbie Schlussel, blogging on an eponymous website, used the attack as a launching pad for a screed against the “animals” Schlussel blamed — meaning not the attackers themselves, but Islam writ large. “So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about.” This is his response to the comment:
“So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about.” Leonard, just what is Islam all about?

Cait McKnelly 7 years ago

"Just what is Islam all about?" Let's answer a question with a question. Just what is Christianity all about? Christianity has thousands of different sects ranging all the way from Unitarianism to Westboro Baptist. It's two main sects are Catholicism and Protestantism. Each of those can be broken down into a myriad subsets. Islam can also be broken down into two major sects; Shi'a and Sunni. Those two major divisions can also be broken down into myriad subsets. Ultimately, to actually answer both questions, one most go to the most basic parameters. What is Christianity about? Christianity is about a man who died over 2,000 years ago that millions of people believe was a major prophet and the son of God. What is Islam about? Islam is about a man who died 1400 years ago that millions of people believe was a major prophet. You simply cannot go any further than that. Answering this question (which I don't believe was a serious question to begin with) took ten minutes of research. I find it sad that you have a computer and couldn't answer it for yourself.

50YearResident 7 years ago

Why are there "risks" for women to go out at night into a large group of Muslims. Google couldn't answer that one. Can you tell me cait48?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

She wasn't attacked by "muslims." She was attacked by supporters of the Mubarak regime in order to intimidate journalists away from covering the demonstrations.

libra101 7 years ago

There are "risks" for women to go out at night into large groups of men. Period. Not all large groups of men will rape said woman, but the risk is always there. 1 in 6, if Pitts is correct.

justmememe 7 years ago

I did not read that the same way as you-as his response. I read that as a continuation of Schlussel's comments...

GardenMomma 7 years ago

I read it as a continuation of Schlussel's comments as well, not Mr. Pitts' own opinion.

Ralph Reed 7 years ago

@50YearResident. re: your 0900. I believe Pitts has a really good idea of "what Islam is all about." 50Year, what do you think "Islam is all about?" Enlighten us, please.

50YearResident 7 years ago

Ralph, some say World Dominance and I tend to agree, what's your view on the subject?

Cait McKnelly 7 years ago

Don't know about his views on the subject, but Christians have been aiming for World Dominance since the First Crusade in the 11th Century. "Oh Rome! We need to have a little talk."

Kontum1972 7 years ago

T. shewmon....your a very,very,...... sick individual.........thats somebodies daughter..u would not appreciate it very much if we said some nasty comments about your family....

verity 7 years ago

This conversation begs the question---why is it all right for the United States to attempt world dominance and not for Muslims?

Actually, I think Cait gave a very good answer to the question of what "Islam is all about." If one looks at the facts rather than a preconceived notion, most are not about world dominance any more than all Christians are about dominating the government of the United States of America.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"What makes you think the US is trying to dominate the world?"

I don't know, maybe the fact that we have hundreds of overseas military bases and we spend as much on our military as the rest of the world combined? (That includes all of the military spending of both our supposed enemies and our allies.)

Cait McKnelly 7 years ago

" If you do not like her, move ." I'm assuming you mean, "If you don't like America..." This is the final weak cry of a mind too outdone to think of anything else but a platitude.

Cait McKnelly 7 years ago

Read the Bible. It's not very nice to non-Judaeo-Christians either.

ScottyMac 7 years ago

I guess you've never read the Bible:

You must kill those who worship another god. Exodus 22:20

Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16

Kill everyone who has religious views that are different than your own. Deuteronomy 17:2-7

Kill anyone who refuses to listen to a priest. Deuteronomy 17:12-13

Kill any false prophets. Deuteronomy 18:20

Any city that doesn’t receive the followers of Jesus will be destroyed in a manner even more savage than that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Mark 6:11

Jude reminds us that God destroys those who don’t believe in him. Jude 5

50YearResident 7 years ago

United States is not sending immigrants to every country in the world with the intention of becomming the majority in the population and then take over the government. That is the differance.

libra101 7 years ago

The official government policy may not be thus, but there are plenty of missionaries who are out spreading the word of Jesus and America. And even if the US government was sending people out, what would a typical American look like,who would they organize with and how would they "take over the government?" Japanese-American Lesbian Lutherans running wild?

meggers 7 years ago

Way to completely miss the point.

TikiLee 7 years ago

Exactly meggers.

Whether or not it was Muslim people, Catholic people, British people, Martians or whoever- it doesn't matter. She has the basic human right to NOT be assaulted.

What was she doing where she was? It doesn't matter. She has the basic human right to NOT be assaulted.

What are her political beliefs? It doesn't matter. She has the basic human right to NOT be assaulted.

What matters is a woman, someone's sister, someone's daughter, someone's friend, was assaulted.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

I've read enough of your posts to know that you'd happily see many if not most of the rights we enjoy in this country removed.

For example, I bet you support the union-busting going on in Wisconsin, don't you?

Cait McKnelly 7 years ago

Between Abu Gharib and Gitmo, I'm not too sure America is either.

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