Things are going well over at the Washington Post. So well, that they've decided it's important for them to point out where things are not going well: in the life of "globetrotting" and "striking" CBS journalist Lara Logan, currently in trouble for a piece report about Benghazi now deemed inaccurate.
A quick debrief: last week, Logan and CBS retracted a piece they had aired based off of an eyewitness account of the attack against the American consulate in Benghazi a year ago that turned out to not be so eyewitness. Logan and CBS's retraction of the piece has been considered lackluster at best by members of the journalistic community, mostly because CBS hasn't thoroughly answered questions about how security contractor Dylan Davies managed to lie to them and why they waited so long to admit that they were wrong. All fair criticism. What's not fair is Paul Farhi's piece in the Washington Post that paints Logan as some sort of sexy harlot about town who has a long history of making questionable decisions.
Farhi begins by writing that in her time as a foreign correspondent, Logan "repeatedly risked her life in pursuit of the story." He then notes that "mistaken '60 Minutes' report about a supposed eyewitness to the Benghazi consulate attacks has put Logan under a different kind of pressure" – that pressure being the complaints members of other media organizations have placed against CBS and Logan for not handling this mistake the right way.
What's somehow related to this pressure, to Farhi, is Logan's "globetrotting lifestyle and striking looks," both of which are apparently worth mentioning in a piece about journalistic standards:
...Logan's globetrotting lifestyle and striking looks have occasionally made her tabloid fodder. Her relationship with a security contractor in Iraq, Joseph Burkett, became the subject of gossip columns in 2008; Logan and Burkett were married to others at the time, although both were separated from their spouses when their relationship began. They married in 2008 and live in Cleveland Park.
Somehow, Farhi managed to report on the recent firings of AP staffers for incorrectly reporting that now-Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe had lied to a federal investigator without mentioning their histories of sexily fascinating behavior, or the one time they went trick-or-treating and scandalized their neighborhoods with their sexy ensembles:
Logan's feminity [sic] often attracts as much attention as her reporting; virtually every profile of her mentions that she was once a swimsuit model. On Halloween, people who live in Logan's neighborhood were startled to see the famous TV correspondent trick-or-treating with her children while dressed in a hot-pink bodysuit costume, set off with high heels.
As Slate's Amanda Hess notes, "writing that 'virtually every profile of her mentions that she was once a swimsuit model' is just an excuse to mention that she was once a swimsuit model."
Despite mentioning Logan's experience being sexually assaulted while reporting in Egypt in his lede, Farhi decides to really hit the message home that Logan has lived a charmed life:
Until last week's unpleasantness, the Washington-based journalist has lived an almost made-for-TV idea of a foreign correspondent.
Let's give Farhi the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps by "made-for-TV" he meant those Lifetime movies where the female journalist goes to report about protesting in Egypt and has her public sexual assault videotaped, an experience that was so violent that she would later say "there was no doubt in my mind that I was in the process of dying." He's probably not talking about the ones about Christmas love and puppies, right?
Glamorous and intense, she has reported — and reported well — from combat zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and across the Middle East for years.
Anyway, though this might appear to be a lifestyle piece, given that it's in the style section of the Post, Farhi is a media reporter, which is typically where these stories live, and it makes this bit of a fluff feel a lot more cutting than the usually light fare we'd expect from the style section. The most unfortunate part for Farhi is that he's not even treading new ground. This story about Logan has been written before – by a lot of different people. Maybe next time, get some new material.
Image via Frederick M. Brown/Getty