Lara Logan Worked Her Sex Appeal Until It Worked Against Her

Apparently you really can't talk about Lara Logan without mentioning about how hot she is. A new, over 6,000 word piece by Joe Hagan for New York magazine about whether or not Logan will return to 60 Minutes devotes over 1,000 words to her looks and (bonus!) her sex life.

No matter what happens with her career, Lara Logan will probably never escape commentary about her looks. But Hagan's piece argues that Logan wants it that way. He alleges that though Logan "protested" sexist stories about herself, throughout her career, Logan has been "open-eyed about the uses of sex in her profession—it was a tactic, and not to use it would be stupid":

In truth, Logan understood the value of the publicity and regularly gave exclusives to the Mirror, including one that read, "Here's a sight that would stop the Taliban in its tracks. War reporter Lara Logan relaxes on a deck chair in a sizzling swimsuit."

She told a friend that she once tipped off a photographer about her lingerie on a laundry line so he could take a picture.

This commentary is balanced out by a reminder that "her beauty cut several ways," which Hagan calls a "theme" in Logan's career. "Men who did what Logan did in the war zone were hailed for bravery and virtuous machismo, while Logan was critiqued for the same thing," he writes. "She deployed her beauty to charm and persuade colleagues and sources to great effect—but the effectiveness didn't prevent co-workers and competitors from calling her a lightweight."

"She was a great-looking woman, which means you have to prove yourself doubly and triply," an anonymous former female CBS colleague told Hagan of why Logan apparently got assigned less heavy pieces during her time on 60 Minutes II.

But some of that was supposedly Logan's doing. She wore inappropriate clothes when reporting in the Middle East. She had "a telegenic sexual charisma, a highly useful attribute for a woman who wants to succeed in TV journalism."

Hagan's piece leaves one with the sense that Logan was a disaster waiting to happen, a reporter who got too close to untrustworthy sources and had a messy personal life. (One anecdote describes Logan's cheating on her boyfriend with her now-husband Josephe Burkett as follows: "After a few drinks one night, Ware entered the CBS compound, walked up to her quarters on the second floor, and discovered Logan and Burkett in flagrante delicto. A loud fight ensued.") She got what she wanted because she worked her sex appeal, but the same poor decision-making that led to emphasizing her sex appeal contributed to blurrier lines between her professional and personal relationships. Her looks, her personal life – they're all related, apparently, to her decision to trust the wrong source for the Benghazi story that was her downfall:

Her reputation began to precede her, not only within CBS, where she offended sensibilities by once showing up in a black bustier, but in the military camps where she courted sources. On a list of the top ten reasons to be deployed in Iraq that circulated among soldiers, "Lara Logan in a T-shirt" was ranked high. General David Petraeus had a picture of her in his office. Her proximity to the top brass and her devotion to military interests led to exclusives, like her 2006 interview with General John Abizaid, then the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, who described in emotional terms what it was like trying to manage a war with deteriorating support as Logan listened raptly.

Back and forth we go like a see-saw. Logan's looks got her where she needed to go. Logan's looks caused her downfall.

Could the story of Lara Logan's career be told without commentary about her aesthetic value? According to Hagan's sources, no – and that was by Logan's own creation. What he doesn't answer is whether it's her "fault" she ended up in this predicament or the result of an environment she was trying to work within.

Whether its the former or the latter, with his parting words, Hagan leaves us with the sense that Logan's as disposable as any other talented hot woman:

So Lara Logan may, or may not, return in the fall season. Either way, the show must go on. Waiting in the wings is a new up-and-comer. Attractive, blonde, fluent in three foreign languages. Everybody is talking about 34-year-old Clarissa Ward. "Jeff's very high on her," says a 60 Minutes producer.

There's only one problem with that argument: Clarissa Ward doesn't consider herself a Lara Logan.

Image via CBS