CNN: Focus on CBS correspondent's love life shows double standard
On June 17, CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan spoke freely on the Daily Show about her frustration with the inadequacy of American news coverage of the Iraq and Afghan Wars.
A week later, a gossip tabloid, the National Enquirer, breathlessly reported that Logan had been named as the "other woman" in a messy divorce and had also had an affair with a CNN correspondent -- identified a day later by the New York Post as Michael Ware -- who had gotten into a brawl over her with State Department contractor Joe Burkett.
Logan's friends admitted to the Post that she had been involved with both men but said her affair with Burkett had come only after the breakup of his marriage and denied there had been a fight between him and Ware.
Since then, a wide range of opinions have been offered on why the romantic life of a television correspondent who has just received a major promotion from CBS would suddenly become fodder for the tabloids.
Conservative media commentator Jonah Goldberg told CNN's Howard Kurtz that the story is "not really" news, but also that "it's not surprising" because "when you sexualize your media spokespeople here, your reporters, you're going to get the same kind of coverage you would get for Paris Hilton."
However, political analyist Keli Goff agreed with Kurtz that this sort of story would not be news if it involved a male journalist. "I've been very vocal in saying that I believe the whole accusation that media sexism cost Hillary Clinton the presidential nomination has been way overblown," Goff explained. "That being said, I'm also the first person to admit that when it comes to coverage of high-profile women, it's just different."
"There's been excessive coverage of Katie Couric's personal life," Goff pointed out. "I have a hard time believing that after a male correspondent ... was given a huge promotion, that the lead on the story would be who he is or is not dating. I think there definitely is a bit of a double standard."
In contrast with both Goldberg and Goff, liberal bloggers were quick to see the focus on Logan's sex life as retaliation for her outspokenness on the Daily Show.
For example,"attytood" at Daily Kos wrote, "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 splashed across the front page of this morning's New York Post, the tabloid that is owned by Rupert Murdoch. ... 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?"
This video is from CNN's Reliable Sources, broadcast June 29, 2008.