I think Nir Rosen is jealous of Logan and Cooper’s success

on 32 Comments

I feel sad about the Nir Rosen case. The guy is a fabulous, independent reporter with great politics. Look at this piece from 2003; he was the first reporter to see that Muqtada al-Sadr was the person to watch in Iraq. He’s a leftwinger, and fearlessly outspoken about the “rogue” state that is Israel. Did his politics play a part in the attack on him for his vicious and unseemly tweets? Sure.

It’s good that he apologized and quickly, with ashes in his mouth, but, Why did he write such mean, idiotic stuff about a victim of sexual assault? He says it was the black humor of war zone reporting. Also he says this about his sexual politics:

So I need to state that my views on women’s rights have always been quite radical (in defense of women). Moreover the last eight years of working in the Middle East, parts of Africa and Asia (like Afghanistan) and in Mexico only further outraged me, because I have seen first hand how brutally women are treated there….

A part of me was bothered by how celebrities, especially white ones, get so much attention, and before I realized it was a sexual assault I was sort of anticipating a return to the old theme about unleashed brown natives attacking a white woman. … I also let my personal dislike of Ms. Logan’s support for wars that have been very costly in terms of human life, which I have seen first hand, make it seem like I somehow actually think she deserved to be attacked.

There’s a lot of emotion about celebrities in those comments– at a time when we should be thinking about Lara Logan as another human being. My own observation is that Rosen is a big swaggery guy; and I sense that he’s jealous of Logan and also Anderson Cooper. One of his tweets said “it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too.” So that’s not about sexism, that’s about hostility.

If you’re as successful professionally as Nir Rosen has been at a young age, you get a big head; and if you’re as competitive as someone has to be to achieve what he has, you measure yourself against people with higher status than he has (Logan, Cooper) and exclaim about how much less they know about the subject than you do (especially if they supported these outrageous wars). I’m very competitive and when I was young I used to fulminate about people who were doing better than I was: they were stupider, had worse judgment, couldn’t write as well as me, etc. And sometimes I used to express these feelings publicly. That was really stupid. It gets you nowhere in life, it is pure vanity. By the way, Cooper and Logan obviously have better social skills than Rosen, and that matters.
Here’s to his rapid rehabilitation. We need the guy.

32 Responses

  1. fuster
    February 17, 2011, 12:38 am

    It’s good of you to offer your words of support for a guy who’s not going to get many.
    He’s got to be feeling pretty damn low and shouldn’t find himself friendless.

  2. yonira
    February 17, 2011, 1:02 am

    Did his politics play a part in the attack on him for his vicious and unseemly tweets? Sure.

    Making fun of a victim of a brutal gang rape while doing her job is probably what instigated the attack on him. It is good to know the mentality of the progressive left (or whatever your fringe group likes to call itself)

    • gruseom
      February 17, 2011, 1:14 am

      Sheesh, that’s petty. Way to prove Phil’s point in spite of yourself.

      • yonira
        February 17, 2011, 1:26 am

        Petty? The guy wished for the assault of America’s beloved AC!?!?!?!

    • iamuglow
      February 17, 2011, 1:16 am

      “a brutal gang rape” ?

      Can you cite a source for that ?…everything I’ve read says she was NOT raped. She was sexually assualted…grouped and touched by people in the crowd. There was no intercourse.

      • yonira
        February 17, 2011, 1:27 am

        I can’t believe you are arguing over the degree to which she was brutally sexually assaulted.

        What a crew…. What a crew….

      • Saleema
        February 17, 2011, 2:31 am

        degrees of assault matter, that’s why there’s degrees of crime and degrees of punishment.

        To the other person, she was raped. not gang raped. but raped. that’s what i read at one site.

        I hope Logan can heal. It’s hard to heal easily from a sexual crime.
        If it were up to me, I’d be castrating some dicks. The soldiers that rescued her, did they detain the men? That’s what i want to know.

      • Sumud
        February 17, 2011, 6:16 am

        I can’t believe you are arguing over the degree to which she was brutally sexually assaulted.

        yonira – I can believe you’re excoriating people for wanting to talk about facts instead of fantasy – after all this is the modus operandi of hasbara.

        Well, sorry to let facts get in the way of a good smear, but for the record, WSJ report Lara Logan was not raped [my emphasis]:

        At the time of the incident, Ms. Logan, a veteran war reporter, was covering the celebrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down. Ms. Logan was separated from her colleagues by a large “mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy,” CBS said.

        The separation and assault lasted for roughly 20 to 30 minutes, said a person familiar with the matter, who added that it was “not a rape.” A CBS News spokesman declined to comment beyond the statement.

        You only have to look at the abuse being heaped on Rosen on twitter to see that many many people are under the false impression that Logan was raped – and even worse, that Rosen actually said she deserved to be raped. I can’t say who started using the word rape first but I can point to “journalists” like Lee Smith blatantly lying that Rosen said she deserved the assault (my emphasis]:

        This was classic Rosen: the smug, imperious adolescent lacking all self-awareness, acting out to get attention. And that’s exactly what happened yesterday when he claimed that Logan deserved the beating and sexual assault she suffered at the hands of an Egyptian mob in the streets of Cairo.

        There’s no links to prove Smith’s assertions, and there’s no comments section for readers to offer feedback. What Rosen did do was make extremely stupid and offensive remarks about a victim of sexual assault, but he didn’t go anywhere near saying she deserved it. This is the most complete record i can find of his tweets (he later deleted at least two, which i’ll quote first):

        lara logan had to outdo anderson. where was her buddy mccrystal? link to cbsnews.com

        Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don’t support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too.

        After those two the rest are captured in screen shots at the HP article, here. From the second Logan tweet onwards, he’s pretty clear in condemning what happened to Logan. So how does that transform to the circulating meme:

        – Nir Rosen said Lara Logan deserved to be raped

        I can’t help but think of the other great smear jobs of late – not just in their reductivism, but the common thread being that those being smeared have all deviated from the standard pro-Israel position:

        – Helen Thomas saws jews should go back to Auschwitz
        – Octavis Nasr praises murderous jew-hating islamic terrorist
        – Rick Sanchez says jews control the media

        If you read Rosen’s tweets it is fairly clear he’s bothered by the culture of journalist-as-celebrity and also by the very wonky priorities the mainstream media has. Jeffrey Goldberg’s pompous score-settling response is a perfect example of the appalling priorities of MSM; the “journalist” with the blood of hundred’s of thousands of Iraqis on his hands feels is it appropriate to author this very snidely-titled article (“this Nir Rosen person” – as if he’s never heard of Rosen before):

        Maybe This Nir Rosen Person Should Reconsider Tweeting

        Suggestion: In light of his role in pushing propaganda which led to a war killing hundreds of thousands, Maybe this Jeffrey Goldberg person should reconsider journalism.

        Goldberg’s conscience is embarrassingly on display: his first criticism is not about Rosen’s off colour joke about a sexual assault, it’s about the fact Rosen accuses Logan of being a warmonger. In a follow-up post Goldberg subjects us to the usual dreck about the awfulness of traitors like Rosen who dare to criticise American wars and Israel, then ends with a Witty-esque pathos:

        I really do find people like Nir Rosen very hard to understand.

        – – – – –

        Phil ~ I’m not sure if professional jealousy is a factor in Rosen’s tweets, vanity – maybe. He’s in the maybe 1% of American journalists that can’t be described accurately as corporate media suckholes – and I think he’s deservedly proud of that. From the amount of time he spends un-embedded in ME war zones he’s a war junkie – I just can’t see him aspiring to have careers like Cooper or Logan.

        I think he has contempt for corporate media journalists and the machinations of the mainstream media, which I share. There is real sickness in a society where off-colour jokes about sexual assault are more of a problem than warmongering that foment wars that kill hundreds of thousands of people. Once you understand that, how can you not be disgusted?

        – – – – –

        A sensible read at Esquire on the Nir Rosen twitter firestorm:

        The Mob Mentality, Lara Logan, and Twitter

      • lareineblanche
        February 17, 2011, 6:48 am

        Oh, well I should have read your comment before posting, Sumud. I think you got it all in there.

        It’s obvious that part of the problem here is that Rosen insulted powerful people, and not powerless ones. They do look out for their own.

      • Chu
        February 17, 2011, 2:47 pm

        you should have said the white princess was gang raped by brutal arab monkeys, Yoni. Really, you should know better.
        If you’re the competition, then most people here ain’t gotta worry about proving your points to be wrong.

        Gang rape was never ever suggested by any news outlet. But if you were honestly misinformed, please post where you got your misinformation from. I am really curious to know.

      • David Samel
        February 17, 2011, 4:59 pm

        Sumud – that’s a great comment. I especially liked your comparison to Thomas/Nasr/Sanchez, as well as your conclusion that “off-colour jokes about sexual assault are more of a problem than warmongering that foment wars that kill hundreds of thousands of people. ” This is a highly sensitive subject, because any sort of unwanted sexual touching is intolerable and a genuine sexual assault so much worse. But there is such blithe acceptance of decisions that lead to mass deaths and the cheerleading necessary to support them. It certainly was inappropriate for Rosen to juxtapose the two, but God only knows how many stupid things I’ve said (and jokes I’ve told) in private that I would hate to be revealed to the world.

        The whole affair does remind me a bit of a joke Bill Maher told many years ago (I think it was 1997). As I recall it, he said that 150 Haitians had died at sea when their ship capsized, but tragedy was averted when it was realized that none was an English princess. He was commenting on Diana’s death, and how it saturated the media to such a point that 150 Haitian deaths barely registered. He wasn’t applauding what happened to Diana, but only complaining about the skewed difference in attention devoted to the two tragedies.

        Of course the attack on Logan was awful, but 300 Egyptians lost their lives during the same events. There probably are commentators in the media who have voiced the opinion that Mubarak should have stayed in power, even if it took more aggressive violence to do so. Wouldn’t that be much worse than Rosen’s tweets, highly offensive as they were?

        By the way, I heard originally that Logan was “sexually assaulted,” but later heard that she had been gang raped. Don’t remember where, but obviously there’s no way to tell yet which source is credible.

    • fuster
      February 17, 2011, 1:25 am


      nobody is condoning what Rosen said and nobody thinks that he is anything but dead wrong to have broadcast that awful stuff.
      ascribing his comments to “the progressive left” is neither correct nor wise.

      • yonira
        February 17, 2011, 2:49 am

        Fuster, he is a poster boy for the ‘progressive left’ because he hates Israel and promotes an Anti-American agenda.

      • Sumud
        February 17, 2011, 6:28 am

        yonira ~ Rosen is not anti-American, he’s anti-American imperialism – big difference eh?

        Anti-American are those that expect the US to sacrifice blood and treasure on behalf of another country – such as Israel – for absolutely *nothing* in return.

      • andrew r
        February 17, 2011, 3:07 pm

        Instead of criticizing the peanut gallery, I would like to note how disturbed I am by the thesis that the US sacrifices blood and treasure for Israel, and by the implication that the US has some intrinsic merit Israel is lacking.

      • Sumud
        February 18, 2011, 12:11 am

        andrew r – disturbed because it’s an uncomfortable truth, or disturbed because you disagree that is what happens?

        I don’t think the US has any intrinsic merit – nations, like people, should be assessed by their actions.

      • andrew r
        February 18, 2011, 1:30 pm

        What I find amazing is that people throw around epitaphs like “behalf of another country” and “nothing in return” as if Americans typically get something in return for the wars they fight, as if the US govt. doesn’t habitually drag the military into some intervention.

        It begs a lot of questions, did the American public as a whole gain from WWII, Korea and Vietnam? Are some parties within the US more interested in taking the country to war than others and was anyone in a position to challenge the invasion of Iraq without doing so? What exactly did the Israelis do to persuade us into Iraq?

        I’m aware there’s something called AIPAC which makes campaign contributions and a subset of White House officials dubbed ‘neo-cons’ with a grand scheme to remake the Mideast. There’s also a history of executives and board members from certain corporations making their way into the White House and others getting the close ear of the president, not to mention the govt. itself defraying the cost of mergers for certain defense contractors and awarding no-bid contracts to certain infrastructure companies.

        To say nothing of our history in Iraq itself and Britain’s history in the region which we seamlessly usurped.

        The notion of a hardline cabal with more loyalty to Israel single-handedly hijacking US foreign policy has too many holes and exonerates too many people.

      • fuster
        February 17, 2011, 10:00 am

        yonira, that’s not true. If Rosen had said the same thing about an Egyptian woman violated by a mob of Israelis people here would feel the same way.
        we’re all fallible humans.

    • Shingo
      February 17, 2011, 5:02 am

      It is good to know the mentality of the progressive left (or whatever your fringe group likes to call itself)

      Yes the mentality that is not afraid to call out bad behavior even among it’s piers. You shoudl try it some time, but that would make you a self hater wouldn’t it Yoni?

    • VR
      February 17, 2011, 9:45 am

      Big head or not Rosen is brilliant, he is also fearless in his reporting in many instances. It is easy to attack someone, especially someone who has exposed the hind quarters of this fetid beast and its cheer leading team, the MSM which has no redeeming quality (contrary to this sites repeated attempt to prop up their pathetic mantra, as if they are ever going to “reform”). A few years back I posted a harsh assessment, true it did not make fun of anyone, but it sure exposed them handily for their sycophantic BS –


      I still stand by it, and will not apologize.

    • Donald
      February 17, 2011, 11:05 am

      So, yonira, are you saying you should be judged by the worst things you’ve said? You’ve never joked about an atrocity or made fun of a victim or said something really despicable? Really?

      I don’t think that so I haven’t paid that much attention, but I suspect there are people here who could fill me in.

      As for Nir Rosen, I’m sad and a little angry at him. It’s such macho insensitive BS, what he said. He should know better. But no, it doesn’t make him an evil person and anyone who says it does is most likely a hypocrite.

      Incidentally, the same goes for all the other prominent people who’ve said insensitive things. You look at a person’s life and general pattern of statements and actions, not whether they are always sensitive in their words. Except in our incredibly shallow culture.

      • Chu
        February 17, 2011, 3:21 pm

        Yoni was the one who used to call Rachel Corrie, ‘pancake’.
        Sweet guy.

      • yonira
        February 17, 2011, 3:48 pm

        Prove it Chu,

      • Chu
        February 17, 2011, 4:06 pm

        are you saying you never wrote in on this blog?

      • Chaos4700
        February 17, 2011, 4:37 pm

        Yonira is also going to deny, I predict, that in response to painting donkeys as zebras in besieged Gaza was to mock what he perceives as Arab intellectual deficiency by waving Israeli Nobel Prizes. He will also deny that he offered to help Emily Henochowicz dad to sue the organization she was with in order to gracious protect the IDF soldier who made her partially blind from unarmed, nonviolent international protestors.

        And in recent news, he insists that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza and that the notion that people there are starving is “BS.”

        All in all, that’s typical fair for our neighborhood schoolyard bully.

  3. biorabbi
    February 17, 2011, 2:33 am

    Come on, Phil. A person could share your politics and be a vile person. A person could be a Jew and a neoconservative and be a friend when the chips are down. Or does a persons stance on Israel or Palestine, his politics determine his character? Rosen laughs about a gang sexual assault on a reporter because he disparages her politics? So, if the blond reporter was a stalinist who hated the United States then her rape would not be joking matter?

    I agree with you though in general. We all make mistakes, say things we wish we had not. Maybe Rosen needs a second chance, or maybe he should just stop digging a deeper hole justifying his comments. But there is no justification for his comments. No understanding or desire to understand them on my part but that just how I feel.

    • Woody Tanaka
      February 17, 2011, 10:28 am

      I agree. Good position or not, this person’s (I won’t ennoble him by calling him a “man”) statements were reprehensible. He’s a scumbag.

  4. lareineblanche
    February 17, 2011, 6:43 am

    Rosen wasn’t reacting to the event itself so much as to the reaction it would get. Some people have a hard time distinguishing between these two things. He was anticipating the hypocrisy, maybe a little too much.

    I tend to agree though that if the victim had not been an anglophone, white woman, the reaction on the part of the US press corps would have been slightly different. She’s “part of the club”. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. His ugly comments really seem to have more to do with racism/tribalism and selective outrage than with any type of misogyny.

    Greenwald :

    Would like to see a freeze on firing people for one-time outbursts unrepresentative of their career (Nasr, Sanchez, Thomas, Williams. Rosen)

    link to twitter.com

    What’s interesting here is that the corps of American liberal journalists demanded immediately that he apologize to them for his outrageous comments – as if they had the authority to decide on the validity on another’s career, and whether or not he had the right to continue. I think this is equally outrageous.

  5. Sumud
    February 17, 2011, 7:55 am

    A good read on sexual harassment of women in Egypt, and LL:

    Lara Logan’s Sexual Assault & the Wider Problem of Harassment in Egypt

  6. Kathleen
    February 17, 2011, 9:50 am

    Very sad about Ms.Logan. Prayers for her healing.

    Nir Rosen is one of the best journalist in the middle east. In fact the best.
    Logan, Cooper, Richard Engel never ever step out of the off limits box. Never. Rosen digs deep and goes where the sold out journalist dare not venture.

  7. Kathleen
    February 17, 2011, 9:51 am

    While Ms. Logans attack deserves the attention that she is confortable. Have you ever seen this type of coverage of sexual assault in the military. Never. Journalist think their people deserve it and those raped and assaulted in the military do not. Pathetic

  8. fuster
    February 17, 2011, 10:58 am

    —Journalist think their people deserve it and those raped and assaulted in the military do not—-

    That’s a very odd charge that you’re making and I doubt that you have even a single reason to think that you know that journalist(s) or any single journalist has those thoughts.
    Wherever did you come up with that?

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