Lara Logan on War Coverage: ‘We’re There to be the Watchdog For All Sides’

CNN’s Howard Kurtz invited CBS’ Lara Logan on “Reliable Sources” Sunday, and it was difficult to tell what was more disgraceful: the way that Kurtz disingenuously set up Logan to bash Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, or; Logan’s amazingly hypocritical answer regarding journalists’ role during wartime wherein she proudly stated:

We’re there to be the watchdog for all sides.”

I kid you not. In fact, Logan made it quite clear that in her view, journalism is more important than American lives or the war effort.

To set this up, Kurtz said the following to his guest:

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly says that the other networks, he did not mention CBS, are constantly showing bombings and suicide attacks and other violence in Iraq to undermine President Bush and that this is giving the terrorists what they want. Um, what’s your reaction to that kind of criticism? I know you wrestle with how much violence to show in your regular reports.

Stop the tape. Right here, Howard was being rather disingenuous, as this is from his interview with Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday’s “O’Reilly Factor” (video available here):

KURTZ: First of all, coverage in Iraq is not limited to today’s bombings, yesterday’s…

O’REILLY: I have no problem with the other stuff.

KURTZ: Second of all, “CBS Evening News,” last night you mentioned the broadcast networks. Lead story, Lara Logan, U.S. forces liberating, saving, rescuing a bunch of orphans…

O’REILLY: I got no problem with Lara Logan or CBS.

KURTZ: Okay.

Hmmm. So, Howard, you weren’t being very honest with Logan when you stated “he did not mention CBS.” In fact, he did mention CBS AND Lara Logan, and made it clear that his gripe was with neither.

As such, wouldn’t it have been appropriate to inform Logan of this when asking her a question about O’Reilly’s comments ESPECIALLY since her name came up during your interview with him, and he said “I got no problem with Lara Logan?” Did this just slip your mind?

Regardless, here was Logan’s response (better fasten your seatbelts!):

Well, I mean, with all due respect to Bill O’Reilly or anyone who takes that line, I mean, I just, it’s ridiculous. It’s completely and utterly ludicrous. I mean how can you, the media’s job is not to serve one side or the other. That’s never been our job. We’re there to be the watchdog for all sides.

Stop the tape. EXCUSE ME? The media’s job is to be a watchdog for both sides? The enemy, too? American journalists -- or, in Logan's case, a non-American journalist working for an American press outlet -- should be a watchdog for the folks inside Iraq trying to kill American soldiers?

Forgive me, Lara, but if O’Reilly doesn’t have a problem with you, I do, for this is absurd. Your job isn’t to be a watchdog for the enemy. Your job is to report events, not to be a watchdog for folks trying to kill our soldiers. In fact, if this is how you feel, you’ve just proven O’Reilly’s point. Role the tape:

So, it’s not up to us to say, “Oh, you know, it doesn’t do well for the war effort if you show how many people are being killed, so we’re not going to show it.”

Why? If what you’re doing could indeed hurt the war effort, and result in more American deaths, shouldn’t your moral responsibility be the saving of lives before your journalistic desires? Role the tape:

I mean, what are we talking about? That’s not even journalism. It’s so ridiculous, I actually don’t think that I should have, I mean, you shouldn’t have to stoop to address those issues. And also, I mean, where are these people who think that we’re not, we’re helping the terrorists’ cause?

Right here, Lara. I’m one. And, I think I speak for millions of Americans when I hear you say something so absurd as “We’re there to be the watchdog for all sides” and “it’s not up to us to say, ‘Oh, you know, it doesn’t do well for the war effort if you show how many people are being killed, so we’re not going to show it.’”

In fact, I’m quite certain that the majority of Americans would be extremely offended by both of these statements if they heard or read them, and would join me in pointing a finger at you as being someone that is helping the terrorists. Role the tape:

I mean, what about the fact that this is the reality, that these bombings are still taking place? That in spite of the surge, and people are still dying in Iraq? That huge numbers of American soldiers are dying over here? I mean, are we so, now we’re in the game of hiding, of only telling what some people want to hear? That’s not what we do.   

That’s right. That’s not what you do. After all, you’ve just been exposed for disgracefully saying that journalism is more important to you than American lives and the war effort.

THAT'S what you do.

Any questions, for if not, I need to go wash my hands and disinfect my keyboard of this shameful display by Logan.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.