Britneyizing Logan

by digby

Here we go again with another respected journalist being targeted for daring not to abide by the established village mores. As I noted earlier today, Lara Logan appeared on Jon Stewart and made some pretty harsh assessments of the news media's commitment to serious war coverage. From Will Bunch:

A number of bloggers picked up Logan's comments on "The Daily Show" and to the Times, and the video was a huge hit on the Internet. She was on with Stewart last week and was featured in the Times article on Monday. Later this week, a story appeared about Logan -- not exactly your normal A-list celebrity -- in the pages of the National Enquirer, which of couse had nothing to do with Logan's actual news coverage of Iraq or her pointed criticism of the U.S. media.

The story was strictly about allegations involving Logan's personal life. It was quickly picked up by some other outlets, some surprising, like the Huffington Post, and some not surprising at all. In fact, the story was splashed across the front page of this morning's New York Post, the tabloid that is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who is also owner of (among many things) the Fox News Channel, the leading producer of braindead pro-war journalism that is the exact opposite of Logan's groundbreaking work. You'd also be shocked, I'm sure, to learn that the Post article is linked on the highly popular, conservative leaning Drudge Report. I'm not going to link to the articles -- use "the Google" if you must -- but to give you a flavor of this important news story, the Post cover shows a smiling Logan over the large headline, "Sexty Minutes."

If you do read the stories, you'd be hard-pressed to see why these allegations are suddenly rushing out now. One traces back to a court matter filed back in January. The second part of the article is old news, too -- dating back at least to last year. As the Post notes in the one part of the article that I will mention, it's a saga that "first broke on the in December."

The As in, the ultraconservative Web site where reporters and photojournalists who report truthfully from Iraq are frequently attacked or smeared. Indeed, it seems that attacks on Logan in the right-wing blogopshere are nothing new -- last year, conservative Michelle Malkin falsely charged that "Haifa Street" story contained footage provided by al-Qaeda.

But this is different -- the smearing of Lara Logan is bleeding into the mainstream, more widely read media, and it's getting personal. And of course it's easy to play devil's advocate, because gossip about certain types of TV personalties -- certainly the local news anchors in a market like mine, Philadelphia -- is standard newspaper fare, especially when the personalities are good-looking, as Logan surely is. But she's not an anchorwoman, just a network war correspondent whose not even based around here, and even if these stories about her personal foibles are true, and who knows about that, it's simply not Page 1 news.

But the timing here really stinks. Is this just another low-grade tabloid scandal -- or a message to journalists who dare to criticize big corporate media's growing blackout on news from Iraq?

Well there is a precedent for sidelining anyone who dares criticize the media's war coverage, isn't there? And in this case, the journalist is highly respected with an impeccable record as a war correspondent.

After being forced to watch that unctuous, phony grief fest a week ago for a fellow everyone extolled as the ultimate newsman because he asked asked some silly questions on Sunday mornings, that someone might be trying to shut this real reporter up for speaking the truth is truly beyond the pale. They will do anything to maintain control of the narrative.

I hope this is coincidence. And, frankly, the smear is fairly innocuous celebrity gossip. But at the very least, it trivializes her, which begins to devalue her as a journalist. I guess they need to bring her down to their shallow level.