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Lara Logan photo altered on CNN's 'Anderson Cooper 360'

Laraloganblurred CNN calls its nightly program "Anderson Cooper 360." But the view was rather less than complete when the network reported on the alleged crimes against CBS reporter Lara Logan on Wednesday night.

Cooper anchored a segment that criticized writer Nir Rosen for mocking Logan on Twitter after CBS said she was brutally sexually assaulted while reporting on the unrest in Egypt. One could quibble that Cooper was going after an easy target who had already expressed contrition in the wake of the incident. But in fairness, many others had been outraged by Rosen's remarks, and focusing on him offered CNN a way to keep the Logan story alive. 

What was especially noteworthy about the segment was the photo the CNN producers chose. It was of a grim-faced Logan, apparently amid a large crowd, just moments before the attack is said to have occurred.

The photo was provided by CBS and made widely available to news organizations via the Associated Press. Many outlets used it to illustrate stories about Logan. Laralogan

CNN, however, chose to blur the faces of the men in the background. The reason for the choice is unclear. It is possible that CNN worried about legal liability - despite the fact that the image was taken in a public place during a thronged demonstration of pressing international interest and had been distributed through a wire service. By partly obscuring the image, CNN tampered with the journalistic record without explanation, leaving it to viewers to guess whether the network intended to protect or incriminate the figures in the background.

An e-mail to two CNN spokeswomen was not returned Wednesday evening.

-Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: (top) A screen grab of the CBS photo of Lara Logan, which was altered by CNN from the original distributed by the Associated Press (bottom). Credit: CBS/Associated Press




Comments () | Archives (72)

tvjourno nailed it.. This whole article is a shallow attempt to create outrage where outrage is definitely not needed.. If anything, it was the responsible thing to do..

Im assuming the faces are blurred because the story suggests they could have been involved in the assault.

Is this truly puzzling enough to require an article??

Responsible journalism my ear. CNN didn't have any problem identifying the victim. Responsibility is not a burden CNN carries.

Not sure what you learned in Journalism 101, but I was taught never to convict anyone period.
As far as implicating the men in the picture, you're the one who made that leap of judgment, no one else.

Wait. I've seen that photo before - she was actually reporting from a LA RAZA rally. Think she got attacked there too.

"Alleged crimes?" What in the world is wrong with you? You are implying that Ms. Logan made this up.

Rather than attack CNN for a clearly responsible move to eliminate the implication that these men were Logan's attackers, the better question would be why didn't CBS do the same? CBS' move is far more suspect. Perhaps these were the criminals, perhaps not. AC360 airs globally, including in Cairo, where some unsuspecting Egyptian at the celebration could be unfairly assumed to be an attacker. If I was your editor, this posting would make me question your basic understanding of journalistic responsibility and some remedial training would perhaps be required for your continued employment.

Just another reason the pile keeps getting higher and higher why CNN, as a 'informed and competent" reporter of "NEWS" has gone the way of the DoDo bird and Rupert Murdoch - down the tubes....

No wonder relatively competent talent has bailed out from CNN over the last couple of years.... Their becoming Cluster-fox junior.... Great for Murdoch - a COMPLETE LIE MACHINE to the public.

This article has no point.

A blond female in Egypt during complete chaos...How many other women did you see out in the square? She is an idiot not to think of her personal safety first!!!

I guess bloggers don't go to journalism school.

CNN should rename itself CIA

Second article on Anderson in recent days. Do you guys have it out for him? He is one of the few worth watching on TV. I feel bad for Ms. Logan but she is not a good reporter. CBS executives should stop making decisions with their crotches. Just because someone is willing to go to Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, etc., does not make them a top notch journalist.

The only issue I have, if you even want to call it an issue, is the peace finger gesture that is obscured - or maybe he was even giving her the old "rabbit ears" treatment.

You have to admit that the men don't look very menacing; I think that the blurring was to give the opposite impression. I don't believe it should have been altered. There's no valid ethical reason to do so.

However, this is nothing. CNN did to the photo what you are doing to its showing. What that exactly is I'll leave for you to decide.

By cropping out the high school math teacher looking chap on the left and blurring all the other faces, she becomes, alone, lost, threatened, in a snake pit of terror. It is not journalism 101, it is hollywood 101. Thank you LAT for clearing things up.

I like the picture where you can see the faces of the guilty parties, er, potential witnesses.

Absolutely ridiculous that this is even a news story. Someone at the Times has something against either CNN or Anderson Cooper to let this absolutely useless story run.

By leaving the photo alone, the guys in the background are just that-- guys in the background, who may or may not have been involved in the assault. But at least they would've had plausible deniability as only two of thousands of men in the crowd. Now, with people easily able to compare the originally released photo with the new one, the implication is that they WERE involved.

You either make the decision to blur the background faces right from the start, or you just forget about it. Doing it later is just brings extra attention to the persons whose anonymity you're ostensibly trying to protect.

I'm a bit surprised by the naivete of this article.

The choice to blur the men seems clearly related to not trying to implicate them in the attacks.

This is ridiculous.

CNN acts responsibly, and you construct a conspiracy. Furthermore, the photo wasn't "altered," which implies deception - we can all see quite plainly what was done, and most of us can understand why. (TVjourno has provided the explanation for those who need one, a group which apparently includes Mr. Collins).

The CNN spokespeople probably think your e-mail is a joke...

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