Left-wing journalist mocks assaulted CBS reporter, quits

By Joe Kovacs

A left-wing journalist has quit his fellowship at New York University after graphically and profanely joking online about Lara Logan, the CBS News reporter brutally sexually assaulted Friday during coverage of celebrations in Cairo following Hosni Mubarak’s resignation.

Journalist Nir Rosen, left, posted disparaging remarks on his Twitter account against CBS News reporter Lara Logan, right, who was the victim of a brutal sexual assault covering events in Cairo, Egypt.

Nir Rosen, who has contributed to Time, Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, New York Times Magazine and Harper’s, resigned from the university’s Center on Law and Security after trashing Logan publicly on Twitter.

Logan, a “60 Minutes” correspondent, suffered a “brutal and sustained sexual assault by a mob of men while covering the Egyptian uprising,” CBS News said. The New York Post reports the thugs were chanting, “Jew! Jew!” during the incident. Logan was eventually rescued by a group of women and some 20 Egyptian soldiers. According to TMZ.com, she is now resting at her Washington, D.C.-area home, and told a friend she was looking to return to work “within weeks.”

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The first tweet by Rosen stated, “Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson. Where was her buddy McCrystal.”

Rosen then continued by saying he’s be amused if CNN’s Anderson Cooper, was reportedly punched in the head several times during his own coverage of the recent turmoil in Egypt, had also been sexually assaulted.

“Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don’t support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too,” wrote Rosen.

Rosen’s tweets grew more disparaging against Logan, with messages such as:

  • “Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger.”
  • “Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than [sic] I’m sorry.”
  • “ah f— it, I apologize for being insensitive, it’s always wrong, that’s obvious, but I’m rolling my eyes at all the attention she will get.”

By the end of the rant, he offered a more sincere apology: “As someone who’s devoted his career to defending victims and supporting justice, I’m very ashamed for my insensitive and offensive comments.”

Karen Greenberg, executive director of NYU’s Center on Law and Security issued this statement today:

Nir Rosen is always provocative, but he crossed the line with his comments about Lara Logan. I am deeply distressed by what he wrote about Ms. Logan and strongly denounce his comments. They were cruel and insensitive and completely unacceptable. Mr. Rosen tells me that he misunderstood the severity of the attack on her in Cairo. He has apologized, withdrawn his remarks, and submitted his resignation as a fellow, which I have accepted. However, this in no way compensates for the harm his comments have inflicted. We are all horrified by what happened to Ms. Logan, and our thoughts are with her during this difficult time.

Answering e-mailed questions from MediaBistro, Rosen is taking an apologetic tone about his statements:

“I feel like shrinking now, I am so embarrassed for what I have done and how many people I offended,” he wrote. “I always meant for my work to offend the powerful and give comfort to the weak. Yesterday I did the opposite of that. I, of all people, should know the power of words and the power of social media. In a few minutes of insensitive and sadistic banter meant to childishly provoke a few acquaintances my thoughtless words were seen by many thousands, and hurt many thousands. …

“I’ve often been warned by friends that someone as rash and careless as me should not be on Twitter, and clearly they were right. I have certainly lost any desire to use Twitter mostly because I am ashamed of what happened and I’m eager to retreat from the public spotlight I brought upon myself. …

“It’s difficult to try to explain why you were a jerk (or an a–hole). On Twitter I often banter and argue with various acquaintances about subjects like the morality of Wikileaks, the war in Afghanistan, etc. We don’t regard it as a place to make serious statements, after all, at least I thought, it’s just silly social media, but that was idiotic of me and showed terrible judgment. I heard that Ms. Logan was roughed up like many other journalists, I had not realized it was something more serious. I thought I would provoke a friend on Twitter, childishly, and then the exchange grew and suddenly statements that I could not possibly mean were being taken seriously and I was hurting people I didn’t even know without any intention. I am not suggesting that making such jokes are ever okay. I have known women, and actually quite a few men, who have been sexually assaulted, and in the last eight years I have often reported on such abuses.”

Commenting about the case on his national radio program today, Glenn Beck remarked, “Now let’s watch this guy and see if he is cleansed by the system, because that’s what usually happens to radicals. They say something like this, expose it, and then they are, I don’t know, put into a re-education camp or something where they’re taught, ‘Drop the radical pose for the radical ends.’ And then they’re back on a speaking tour someplace.”

Logan, a native of South Africa and former swimsuit model, made headlines in 2008 when according to the New York Post, she courted two beaus while she was reporting in Baghdad, and was labeled a homewrecker for allegedly destroying the marriage of a civilian contractor there.