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What is WRONG with people?

On February 11, Lara Logan, a reporter for CBS News, was attacked by a mob in Cairo, beaten, and raped.

This was bad enough, but her treatment since the story became public amounts to a second assault. It has elements that people of a certain mind-set have pounced on with glee.

For example, one Debbie Schlussel, with whom I was previously unacquainted but who appears to be one of those blond female cyborgs so much in vogue of late, suggested that the sexual assault may have taught Ms. Logan a valuable lesson. (Here’s another: women, beware women.)

Thus an apparently irresistible opportunity to smack several favorite targets at once, viz.:

Attractive, sexy woman reporter gets herself raped. Well, she should have known better and probably asked for it, the liberal slut.

Aha, Muslim men are no better than animals after all, and we were right to tell you that they are all vicious and dangerous.

And the liberal news media, trying to portray Egyptians as peaceful aspirants to democracy, is once again exposed as weak-minded propagandists.

If you found this three-part summary distasteful—and I certainly hope you did—check out the comments on various blogs and news sites, which are considerably less restrained. Some sites, in fact, have closed comments for lack of any better means to stem the flow of rabid commentary.

I have to go wash my hands.


Posted by John McIntyre at 11:24 AM | | Comments (13)


Women who work as journalists face the risk of sexual assault and unwanted advances on assignment all over the world, even here in the U.S. The problem isn't Egypt, or women being pretty, or women having "man" jobs. The problem is too many men and too many societies treating women like garbage. It's not the woman who is responsible for rape—it's the man/men who perpetrate it.

Please settle a lunch bet. Is it better or is there a difference between using the words "some or about." For example, what is correct? "About 24 journalists were injured in Egypt" or "Some 24 journalists were injured in Egypt."

I see AP uses about and Reuters uses some.

What do you suggest?

Thank you, John. Those comments you refer to nearly brought me to tears, to be honest.

I see there is another Tim posting in these comments. I'm the one who has mentioned (in a couple of earlier comments) being a member of the bench. The one who posted the question about "some or about" (as intersting as that question is) is not me.

In case anyone was wondering.

Thank you, Mr. McIntyre. You are always the voice of reason.

The cynical old expression is very true: first you are raped by the rapist, then you are raped again by the system. This excellent post on rape culture explains how it works.

Sending ANYONE from the media AFTER the attacks, they enter at their own risks.

Sadly, IMHO, CBS News field reporter Lara Logan was as much an unwitting victim of crowd contagion run amok, as the reported repeated brutal acts of sexual assault she was forced to endure, which I would argue were largely a product of this mass public hysteria.

The psychological theory of "crowd contagion', as I understand it, posits that the attendant emotional frenzy of the crowd can often foster a more permissive, shared group mentality, allowing for extremes in anti-social behavior, to the point of acts of physical violence, brutality, and bodily harm on certain more vulnerable, or highly visible individuals within the whirl of mass emotional venting.

Even though it was totally unacceptable and morally repugnant, on so may levels, that reporter Lara Logan was so viciously gang raped, and beaten in the midst of this emotionally-charged crowd of mostly young Egyptian men, the developing scenario had all the volatile ingredients for this classic case of crowd contagion, gone wild, that sadly ensued that day.

In point of fact, until those courageous twenty-some Egyptian women in the melee, plus individual Egyptian armed forces personnel heroically (in my mind) eventually came to Ms. Logan's rescue, these monstrous male perpetrators of the repeated acts of rape, and the almost equally complicit bystanders who most likely encouraged and cheered on their horrific actions----all semblance of moral propriety, all thoughts of human decency appeared to have flown out the window.

Although there surely had to be a smattering of individuals in the midst of this gross, barbaric spectacle who may have had some fleeting pangs of personal conscience and knew that this brutal assault on Sarah Logan was totally indefensible, and morally wrong, they clearly lacked the individual courage of the moment to intervene, and fell back into the rabble of rapist enablers.

This most ugly, unfortunate incident goes far beyond cultural norms, partisan politics, or one's understanding of what constitutes deviant social behavior.

Sadly, it makes me question just how far our species has actually evolved, from a moral perspective, from our brutish, animal ancestors, who lacked that moral spark of good conscience, and empathy that separates we homo sapiens from the
instinctually-driven beasts, having the self-awareness to differentiate right from wrong action.

My heart goes out to reporter Sarah Logan. She did not deserve this major physical and emotional trauma in her young life. Hopefully, she will eventually rebound from this indignity, psychologically process the event as best she can, and continue on her chosen TV journalist/ reporter career path.


Re Debbie Schlussel — I first came across her in the context of her utterly poisonous review of the film Waltz with Bashir. I read some of her other columns at that time, in much the same way as you might watch a train-wreck, and came away feeling slightly sick. I'm not surprised you felt a need to wash your hands.

It might have occurred to CBS Gnus that sending a young white woman into that situation wasn't a great idea in the first place. She became separated from her crew - which is a large no-no - and then the worst happened. Some days before that, the odious Christiane Ammanpour was confronted by a group of Egyptians who told her they hated her - and she bellowed out "Why?" Any number of Americans could have answered that. And perhaps JEM could wash out his mouth with soap, the way many mothers threatened to do, as he is cleansing his hands: the liberal media seemed not to know what to make of any of the Egyptian or Tunisian demonstrations, but had a lot to say about them nonetheless. Including how swell the Muslim Brotherhood is.

What happened to Ms. Logan was horrific and inexcusable, and has drawn well-deserved condemnation across the political spectrum. So it's unfortunate, Mr. McIntyre, that you chose to muddy your otherwise valid point with an ad hominem attack on conservatives.

I challenge you to produce a nonanonymous comment from anyone worth caring about who called Logan "the liberal slut." While you're looking that up, I'll add that you mischaracterized Schlussel's remarks. Schlussel said Logan "knew the risks," not that "the sexual assault may have taught Ms. Logan a valuable lesson." And Logan did know the risks, unless she and CBS missed the news on two Fox News reporters being brutally beaten days earlier. Oh, right, those guys were from Fox. They deserved it.

Now I have to go wash MY hands.

For those who aren't familiar with Debbie Schlussel's brand of spittle-flecked racism, let me add a little of the context that Gary conveniently omitted:

//How fitting that Lara Logan was “liberated” by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over the other part of the “liberation.//

I haven't heard anyone say the Fox reporters "deserved it." You might have the adult world mixed up with Rush Limbaugh and his comments about the Times reporters.

Oh good. Now it's all Mr Limbaugh's fault. And he is part of the adult world, as presumably are the NY Times people. It's only that The Times people inhabit a liberal world where no one is responsible for anything, as long as their motives are pure. Miss Logan seems to have been attacked viciously for someone else's principles, as were the Fox people. It was still foolish to send her there.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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