Lara Logan Forgot She Is a Journalist

Recent comments by Logan about Afghanistan and the Taliban were inappropriate for her role as a journalist.

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In this Feb. 11, 2003 file photo, CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan is seen in Central Park, in New York. The sexual assault on CBS correspondent Lara Logan in Egypt has trained a spotlight on the danger, ever-present but little-discussed, facing women journalists in zones of upheaval.

I don't know what made me cringe more: the Pew Research poll showing Mitt Romney ahead of President Barack Obama or Lara Logan's speech as a "journalist."

Logan is a CBS 60 Minutes correspondent. She's won Emmy Awards. She's been all over the Middle East on assignment and she was the victim of a terrible crime when she was assaulted in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt during that nation's quest for freedom.

Speaking at the annual Better Government Association luncheon in Chicago, Logan said and did a few things that left me feeling very uneasy, even angry at times.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Middle East.]

First, as a former journalist, I was uncomfortable with her speech considering her role. She is a journalist. And as one who holds journalism degree myself, I was always taught that a journalist tells you the story; they aren't supposed to become the story. It's not all about me and it should not be all about Lara Logan. One of the reasons I became a talk host was, as a journalist, I was only supposed to tell the story, report the facts, and never inject my opinion. 

Secondly, Logan was spreading fear with her words about the Taliban, al Qaeda, our role in Afghanistan, etc. Her words like "Years later they still hate us ... now more than ever" (referring to terrorists) and "they're coming back" were shocking to this audience and to many who heard her remarks. Now I don't want to be rude, but is this a huge news revelation? Does all of Logan's experience and reporting bring her to the conclusion that the terrorists still don't like us? 

[Check out our collection of political cartoons on defense spending.]

Wow. Of course they hate us—that's what terrorists do! Hate. Did Logan really believe that invading a sovereign nation like Iraq; or dropping bombs—then sandwiches—on Afghanistan; or ridiculing their religion, discriminating against their people, etc. would lead to us standing in a circle holding hands and singing Kumbaya? And I've got news for Logan: When she said "they're coming back," they never went away. The idea that we would go to Afghanistan and the Taliban would simply disappear is ridiculous, and a very unrealistic expectation to place on our military.

Thirdly, Logan feels that our government for the past two years--our military, etc.--have basically been lying to us. And those remarks made me angry. Never in the past two years have I heard the White House speak of a kinder or gentler Taliban. Has anyone ever heard of "Taliban light?" Our military is the finest in the world. In some areas of Afghanistan they have wiped out the Taliban. In some, they have not, and yes, in some areas of Afghanistan the number of Taliban have grown. Perhaps their hatred of us grows while we continue to remain in their country; perhaps it is time our troops came home and ended this longest war. And does Logan really believe President Obama makes such decisions without consulting the top military brass? 

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Has Obama Properly Handled the Arab Spring?]

Fourthly, to call retribution for the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other embassy workers, as she insinuated, is irresponsible. America simply cannot attack every country that kills an American. That is an emotional knee-jerk reaction, and we saw what reacting in that exact manner after Sept. 11, 2001 has left us with: the very things Logan was outraged about.

Lastly, although she may have an Emmy, I find it amusing that Logan seems to know more about fighting terrorists, who we should bomb, which countries we should stay and fight in, and which we should leave, than the Pentagon, military, CIA, FBI, White House, and our antiterrorism task force. I think they all, with all due respect to Logan, know a bit more about the military and how to defeat the Taliban and fight terrorists. She's using a computer and a microphone; they use tanks and guns with real bullets.

So although Logan certainly has a right to her opinion, I prefer her role as a journalist and I think she should stick to that.

  • Read Evan Moore: Romney Lays Out Foreign Policy Strategy
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