Ethics Hero: CBS Correspondent Lara Logan [Updated]

This was tough: I also was tempted to label the story an Ethical Quote of the Month (see below) or even an Ethics Quiz; after all, is someone really a hero for simply stating in public what any honest, unbiased, objective observer already knows to be true, and what should be obvious to anyone paying attention? I decided that the answer to the latter is yes. She’s a hero if virtually her entire industry has been working overtime to deceive the public into believing otherwise.

In a recent interview, former CBS News Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan [CORRECTION NOTE: In the original version of this post, I incorrectly stated that Logan was still with CBS.]  stated unequivocally that the mainstream news media is disproportionately liberal, and that the imbalance undermines journalism and fair reporting. She told retired Navy SEAL Mike Ritland in a podcast,

“Visually, anyone who’s ever been to Israel and been to the Wailing Wall has seen that the women have this tiny little spot in front of the wall to pray, and the rest of the wall is for the men. To me, that’s a great representation of the American media, is that in this tiny little corner where the women pray you’ve got Breitbart and Fox News and a few others, and from there on, you have CBS, ABC, NBC, Huffington Post, Politico, whatever, right? All of them.

And that’s a problem for me, because even if it was reversed, if it was vastly mostly on the right, that would also be a problem for me. My experience has been that the more opinions you have, the more ways that you look at everything in life.”

Logan also said that the press coverage of President Trump shows how the news media distorts its reports  so that “there’s no grey. It’s all one way.”

“If it doesn’t match real life,” Logan said, “something’s wrong.” She also referenced the  recent comments from former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, on how  the media has “abandoned our pretense or at least the effort to be objective.” Although Logan said that both the liberal and the conservative news media push slanted narratives and “do terrible things,” she added the obvious qualification that the dominance of the liberal media overwhelms “the other side,” except for those who actively seek out the minority of  contrasting sources.

Logan also criticized the practice of basing news reports based on single, anonymous government sources, calling it an abandonment of journalistic standards because, as any journalist who can read their own codes knows, it is a bright line breach of journalism ethics.

“That’s not journalism, that’s horseshit,” Logan said. “Responsibility for fake news begins with us. We bear some responsibility for that, and we’re not taking ownership of that and addressing it. We just want to blame it all on somebody else.”

“This interview is professional suicide for me,” Logan suggested.

That’s an indictment in itself: a journalist telling the obvious truth is professional suicide in today’s climate.

I hope she’s wrong, and that her candor will be a catalyst for other journalists to reject what their profession has become.

22 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: CBS Correspondent Lara Logan [Updated]

  1. Here’s the thing that gets me about this — She knows the truth. Others know the truth; hell, everyone who pays even the least attention to the news knows or at least suspects the truth — the media is hopelessly polarized, with the vast majority on the left, a tiny minority on the right, and virtually none in the middle.

    But the thing is, and this is what her story really tells me, is that there are virtually no major outlets that even attempt to be unbiased. How tragic is that?

    Logan also criticized the practice of basing news reports based on single, anonymous government sources, calling it an abandonment of journalistic standards because, as any journalist who can read their own codes knows, it is a bright line breach of journalism ethics.

    And it’s not even a good idea. Look at how many times the media has been exposed when they do that. But the reason they keep doing it is that the American people don’t make them pay a price for it.

    This is where the Internet has really hurt America. It basically makes it hard for people to cut off news sources by allowing them to constantly be tempted with sensational, essentially fake news. And they can’t help but to click, and by doing so, paying the unethical outlet. I try not to click CNN stories, but I sometimes do anyway, and curse myself each time.

    I hope she’s wrong, and that her candor will be a catalyst for other journalists to reject what their profession has become.

    I hope she’s wrong, too. I naively hope some news company will see this and say, “You know, we really have surrendered and become little more than tabloids.”

    Journalism appears to be practiced by a vanishingly small number of “journalists.”

        • I take offense to that cut.

          Hannity is no match to hundreds of left wing pundits, who expose how shallow and dumb they are on a daily basis. Yet we should not judge The Left by those examples, we are told.

          One such on Fox and he makes it Right Wing?

          (Note Hannity is also a first rate reporter for finding the facts: his presentation, personality, and argumentative style all grate on me, but he has had the facts over a year in advance of most of the media, and been proven right in a lot of, say, the dossier, or the Hillary emails, or the DOJ treason with the 25th…)

          • But he’s an idiot.

            It’s not just him, of course. The other pundits of note are Laura Ingaham, who is smarter than Hannity but arguably more conservative, and Carlson. Fox and Friends is so biased it is painful, as is “The Five” and “Outnumbered.” The actual news anchors and talking heads ARE centrist, like Mike Wallace. The network is definitely not knee-jerk anti-Trump, nor is it as biased right as CNN and MSNBC are biased Left.

            • So he is an idiot, stipulated.

              Agree that Fox is not so in the tank as the rest of the media. Still don’t trust them as a news source, any more than the MSM lefties. Real journalists, my better half tells me, report using the ethics of the profession. I have to sleep with her, so sarcasm is contradicted.

              Hannidy IS getting the facts out, idiot or not, which is more than one can say about, say, the Times or the Post. Like Trump, you have to look at the fruit and ignore the bluster, I guess. Not a perfect world, but it is the one we have right now.

  2. “If it doesn’t match real life,” Logan said, “something’s wrong.”

    It’s Magical Thinking!
    Magical Thinking is a kind of irrational thinking that causes a person to completely reject critical thinking and replace it with absurd reasoning because their bias tells them it’s true.

    Magical thinking is the root of Liberal Magical Thinking and Progressive Magical Thinking. People that use magical thinking try to prove things they want to believe but are quite likely unprovable or actually false.

  3. Great oaks from little acorns grow. Hope springs eternal. I could go on but it’s not necessary. She is probably right, CBS will find an excuse to fire her within a week, and she’ll wind up at Fox.

  4. Personally and IMO, the Left/Progressive camp and the Right/Conservative camp are shown as existing in opposition to each other, as if each camp represents some sold platform of ideas, policies or values.

    I think this is actually a false-division. It leads to errors in perception and interpretation. I think that there is a reason why all discourse seems so confused and why it is impossible to get to the bottom of all the important issues: someone and something (a given system shall we say) benefits from confusion. I can think of nothing more obscure, nor more convoluted, than American political discourse as it plays out through the media-systems.

    There is a reason for that. If it were possible to *see things accurately* and also fairly, people could arrive at sound decisions, and it is likely that those sound decisions would be neither as the Left states them, nor as the Right states them. They would be *popular decisions* and decisions that favor people over profits (ooops, excuse that highly vulgar phrase! it just slipped out!) Generally speaking, when one examines the popular political parties of the US they always had something to say about *the money class*, Wall Street, the finance-class, and they recognized (with sound reasoning) that their own interests were more often than not sacrificed to the interests of (excuse the next swear word) private capital.

    I think it is an open question what the 85% of the media she talks about is really up to and what their designs are. I think it is also not at all clear what the other 15% (Fox, Breitbart as example) are up to.

    While it is clearly true that the MSM is associated and aligned — in appearance — with ‘progressive-left’ cant, it is not at all certain that they really represent a ‘popular-progressivism’ which could (and often was) at the same time socially conservative.

    Therefore, these news factions could both be described as radical to the (true or genuine) popular concerns which, in the US, has no social or cultural advocacy that I am aware of. Trump only seems to serve popular interests (some say). All his policies are quite in accord with the general trends. I am not exactly sure what the Democrat opposition is. Is it just that they are a bit less brazen? Or do they really have ‘social values’ that are genuine and thus worth conserving?

    What would a real — a genuine — populist party advocate for in our present? What would they say is important to them?

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