Nir Rosen, Per AP: 'Tweets about Egypt assault (of Lara Logan) not serious'; Did AP See What Happened?

A brief unbylined Associated Press item today with a 9:15 a.m. time stamp, which appears to be based solely on an e-mail to an AP reporter (no other source for the quotes are cited), tells us that Nir Rosen seems to be backtracking from his Twitter claim of being "ashamed of how I have hurt others" in his comments about CBS reporter Lara Logan, who was sexually assaulted by a Cairo mob on February 11.

The report also has an odd final sentence (not in the screen grab which follows) that could reasonably be interpreted as an admission that wire service personnel either saw or knew of what happened to Logan, and failed to report it:

APonNirRosen021711

The wire service describes Rosen as having held "a fellowship at New York University's Center on Law and Security" before he resigned.

In the final paragraph of the report, the AP also seems to be preemptively defending itself against a potential charge of being complicit in covering up the story of Logan's assault, which CBS kept quiet for four days:

The Associated Press does not name victims of sexual assault unless they agree to be identified.

The New York Post and the New York Daily News appear to be the outlets that carried the first news of the assault on Tuesday.

The likelihood that an AP reporter or stringer saw a part of what happened, or at the very least knew about it, is not small. The wire service's Sarah El Deeb and Hadeel El-Shalchi were in Cairo on the 11th. Here are samples of what they reported:

Mubarak leaves and Egypt celebrates

 

One Egyptian kissed the ground. Another rolled in ecstasy in the grass outside a presidential palace. People wept, jumped, screamed and hugged each other with a shared joy they had never known. Cairo erupted in a cacophony of celebration: fireworks and car horns and gunshots in the air.

 

... "The people have toppled the regime," chanted protesters, whose 18 days of swelling protests tipped Egypt into a crisis that the autocratic government could not undo.

 

"This is the happiest day in my generation," said Ali al-Tayab, a demonstrator who paid tribute to those who died in clashes with police and Mubarak supporters. "To the martyrs, this is your day.

 

... At a presidential palace in Cairo, where demonstrators had gathered in the thousands, people flashed the V-for-victory sign and shouted, "Be happy, Egyptians, today is a feast" and "He stepped down."

 

... Crowds packed Tahrir Square, the scene of massive protests against Mubarak that began on Jan. 25. The celebrations continued early Saturday, with throngs of people milling around in downtown Cairo.

 

... In Tahrir Square, protesters heard the announcement on mobile telephone radios that they passed back and forth. They broke into cheers and some formed a conga line, winding through the packed area.

 

... Mohammed el-Masry, who marched to the presidential palace, said he had spent the past two weeks living in the protest encampment at Tahrir Square. He also wept.

According CBS, as quoted in the New York Post, Logan's assault occurred "in Cairo's Tahrir Square when 'her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy.'"

It seems more than a little likely that the AP reporters who we know were in Tahrir Square as well as stringers they may have also used would have seen something. The odd paragraph at the end of the AP report seems to be a backhanded acknowledgment that they did, and failed to report it. If that's the case, given that their coverage presented an undiluted portrait of a "cacophony of celebration," that's negligent journalism, plain and simple.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.