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Feb 16, 2011

Network Execs May Pull Female Reporters From Egypt After Lara Logan Attack

Just hours after CBS confirmed correspondent Lara Logan was brutally sexually assaulted in Egypt before being rescued by a group of brave women and soldiers, several network executives met to discuss if female journalists belong in the Middle East.

"It's terrifying what happened to Lara, and we would be irresponsible to not have internal conversations about if young female reporters should ever be put in such dangerous situations," a concerned CBS executive tells me. "However, the last thing we want to do is blame the victim for being a female."

What happened to Logan on Feb. 11 has sent shockwaves through American news organizations, with three different senior management sources telling me several networks are debating removing female journalists from Egypt altogether until safety can be guaranteed.

"There can be no doubt with two out of the three network news broadcasts being anchored by women [Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric] that women have proved they are as good, if not better, reporters than men. However, the simple fact exists that in certain environments, being a woman is more dangerous, and one such place is the Middle East," a top CBS source tells me.

But is it fair to exclude excellent reporters from covering important stories based on gender? A friend of Lara's tells me, "No way. What happened to her is terrible, but the last thing she would want is handing over dangerous stories to just the boys. After all, Anderson Cooper got attacked. What news organizations should be doing is everything they can to protect all their employees regardless of gender."

Esquire landed an interview with Logan just last week, on her way back to Cairo after being kicked out of the country the week before. "This is the Tiananmen Square of the cyber age," she told the magazine. "There's no question."

Reporter Foster Kamer incredulously asked Logan if CBS was "insured for this s**t" and if she was crazy to go back to the thick of the protests. "You know," Logan answered, smiling, "I don't worry about things like that." Source


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