CBS foreign correspondent Lara Logan is one of the most accomplished and courageous people in journalism.
A long-time “60 Minutes” star, she made headlines around the world in February 2011 when she was violently gang-raped and nearly killed in Cairo while reporting on the removal of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
She commented on the attack, saying: “Piece by piece, they tore all my clothing off, and just tore my body almost to pieces, and tore my insides apart.”
“I saw people taking pictures. … I remember fighting, being raped, and being able to sometimes push people away, and then I remember just realizing that there were too many of them – and it was over and over and over again – and that there was always someone else when you could fight one person.”
Recently, Logan faced another kind of hellish professional experience – willingly, honestly.
In a podcast interview with former Navy SEAL Mike Ritland, she called out the state of the American media, adding, “This interview is professional suicide for me.”
As a former member of the so-called “mainstream” media, I know what she means. There’s no going back. There’s no absolution, no mercy, no grace, no two sides to every story anymore. Once you point out the obvious – that your colleagues are all in the tank for one very narrow political worldview – whatever you accomplished in your previous professional life is forgotten. You are a pariah.
What did she say?
She explained how there is ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, all the rest – and then there’s Fox News and a handful of other non-liberal players.
“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,” she said. “My experience has been that the more opinions you have, the more ways that you look at everything in life.”
Of course, it’s so obvious. But among those who have breathed the rarefied air of the media palace guard, these are fighting words.
She went further, into even more dangerous territory, by saying coverage of President Trump represents a distortion of reality.
“There’s no gray,” she said. “It’s all one way. If it doesn’t match real life, something’s wrong.”
Logan said the accepted standards of journalism’s past have been abandoned.
“Responsibility for fake news begins with us,” she said. “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.”
I sympathize. I found myself similarly conflicted more than 25 years ago after experiencing success and status running daily newspapers in major markets and being surrounded by friends who were becoming increasingly activist and less journalist.
That’s when I did something no one had done before. I started the first independent online news-gathering source – this one, WND, WorldNetDaily. Before we did that, the newcomer on the block, Fox News, was all alone. While today there are a few more dissenting voices, a little more diversity, some non-conformance, there are new conformity cops on the block – namely Google and Facebook.
More than ever before, this media environment requires that Americans seek out the truth. It won’t find you if you’re not actively looking for it.
Google, Facebook and the rest of the digital speech-code cops not only compound the effect of the media all singing from the same sheet, they also make it much harder to find the alternative, the other side, the truth. Never before has there been such a hammerlock of control on the flow of news, opinions and ideas.
Unchecked and unrestrained the status quo will destroy not only journalism, but free speech, free press, freedom of religion and free elections.
It’s the biggest story being concealed by the media in the 21st century.
It takes courage to challenge it – the kind of courage Lara Logan has displayed throughout her professional life.