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Lara Logan's heartbreaking 60 Minutes interview recounts brutal sexual assault in Egypt

laralogan60minutes.jpgOne of the toughest assignments, even for a quality news organization, is reporting on itself.

By that measure, Sunday's 60 Minutes proved to be a landmark event, as reporter Scott Pelley delivered what felt like one of the most difficult interviews of his career: Asking colleague Lara Logan to recount a brutal sexual assault while covering the uprising in Egypt.

After weeks of recovery, Logan agreed to speak with two news outlets about what happened to her, providing some details to the New York Times, but recounting the attack in excruciating detail for her employer, 60 Minutes.

Beyond providing a heartbreaking account of a horrific encounter, her story also proved a brusque rebuke to some journalists who tried to belittle her experience, or even suggest it may not have happened. The anonymous sniping grew so loud, the LA Weekly even issued a correction on callnig the assualt a rape, before taking back the correction.

Whenever sex, celebrity and controversy are intertwined, reasonable people seem to lose their way. This happened in Logan's case, as CBS' terse initial statement was picked apart by pundits with few facts. Some wondered why the word rape wasn't used; others let their jealousy of Logan produce some awful responses. Small wonder Columbia Journalism Review noted in 2007 that some female journalists who are sexually assaulted in danger zones never report the attacks, for fear of seeing their professionalism and abilities questioned.

But there could be little doubt about the seriousness of the attack, once Logan explained how a crowd of 200 to 300 men formed a mob, tore her clothes off and violated her for 25 minutes with their hands -- even trying to rip her hair out of her head in clumps.

Her life was saved by falling into the midst of a group of Egyptian women, who stood by her, shielding her from the mob until a cadre of Egyptian soldiers could beat back the throngs with batons and pull her to safety.

One question Pelley, who had tears in his eyes by the end of the interview, did not ask Logan, is whether she will ever enter a war zone again. He also didn't ask how she felt about those who doubted the story when it was first announced; something I'm not suggesting he should have done.

I do wonder what Temoris Grecko or Nir Rosen think now about their knee jerk reactions to news that a pretty, famous blonde television journalist had been brutally attacked by an Egyptian mob of men.

To watch this compelling report, click below:

[Last modified: Sunday, May 1, 2011 11:34pm]


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