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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)

Seems like you're either being intentionally obtuse or just ridiculously provocative with this. When does anyone ever blur faces in a photo to incriminate them? That really doesn't make sense.

Maybe it's time for the LA Times to lay off of Anderson Cooper. He's doing his job. Remember journalism?

"She is an idiot not to think of her personal safety first!!!"
Right, because she was doing her job, reporting on events of world significance so that the rest of us can be informed.

"...the photo was snapped just before the assault, they would be implicating..."
What if it wasn't taken 'just' before but 'some time' before, then the men in the image may have nothing to do with the assault. We don't know; we weren't there, it's possible that Logan herself either identified those men as the ones who raped her or denied that they were...

I guess they're more concerned about protecting rapists than they are their own journalists.

She should never been surrounded by a howling mass of maniacs without a security team - shame on her employer for not protecting her.

Regardless of the privacy implications of blurring the faces... look at what the blurring does for the general feel of the image.

Blurred out, all you see is her, "grim -faced." Without the blurring you see smiling faces, celebration... I'm guessing that the victory hand above her head was not blurred out for privacy reasons. It seems that the alteration was as much to promote the seriousness of Ms. Logan's situation as it was to protect privacy.

I totally agree with tvjourno! It makes perfect sense, and it's NOT a big deal. They have plenty of things to worry about, and this isn't one of them!

This is a complete non-story; TV news coverage blurs the faces of people in the backgrounds of photos all the time. The headline and several whiney commenters here make it sound like CNN had Photoshopped Bin Laudin in next to Logan or something.

I deeply sorry Lara for what happen to you thanks God you are alive, I always pray for every body, now you will be special in my prayers. May God bless you, and guide you always

I thought Anderson Cooper was badgering the Nir Rosen over and over and Nir kept apologizing and apologizing, like Anderson had a bee in his bonnet or elsewhere about his issue.

Because the insipid fools at CNN don't want to offend the pig followers of the death cult Islam, of course.

Blurring background faces is not an attempt to change a picture's reality. Since it was public and they were there willingly and had to see the camera, it was acceptable to show their faces but how tragic if they were later arrested because of the photo. A newsworthy altered photo would be using a picture at another event and trying to palm it off as if in Egypt. This just sounds like common sense.

Big deal! Who cares about the faces being blurred. The incident did happen and a crime was committed.

There wasn't any fabrication like Geraldo Rivera did when he claimed to be reporting from a remote village in Afganistan when he was hundreds of miles away in Kabul.

I still believe in CNN's journalistic integrity.

When I first saw the photo without the blurred faces, I thought, "These are probably the guys who were part of the attack." If this is not correct, then blurring the faces was a good move.

"Perhaps the intent was not to keep viewers from jumping to the assumption that the people surrounding Ms. Logan in this particular photo were the attackers. Which likely would have been a first thought."
So what? People think lots of stupid untrue things. Those men were there. Period. that is a fact, a truth. That's what the photo shows. It doesn't show them attacking her; it shows them shouting. They were there, they were shouting. These are facts, and that's what the photo shows. What stupid people choose to manufacture as "truth" in addition to actual truth is their problem. If anything, blurring their faces draws attention to them, as if they're assumed to be the attackers.

You're a man aren't you? Men instinctively protect rapists. Whereas the rape victim's face is shown to all.
Responsible thing? No,it's not. The responsible thing would be to help catch the ones who did it. I'm not saying the ones in the picture were the ones, but there is absolutely no reason to protect them. They were there and were at the very least eyewitnesses, possibly accessories or perpetrators. There is no reason to hide the fact that they were there. The picture does not show them doing anything. Why would they have the right to privacy, but not the rape victim? We also know for a fact that hey did nothing to help the victim--that was done by Egyptian women and some 20 army soldiers.
Funny, but all the discussion that I've read on the Lara Logan story there is one thing that is curiously missing: how to catch the perpetrators and bring them to justice. And yet there must be hundreds of witnesses to the rape.
I'm more concerned with that than journalistic mumbo jumbo.

Regardless of whether any political motives existed in the decision to blur the images of the probable perpetrators of Ms Logan's rape, we cannot escape the PERCEPTION that CNN is somehow covering for those in the hostile Egyptian crowd by obscuring their faces.

From a MARKETING perspective it was clearly a bad move by CNN and will only further damage their already diminishing ratings...especially among FEMALE viewers.

seems obvious that to show the faces of these men and then say this was just before she was sexual assaulted implies that they are the ones who did it, which may or may not be true. I'd hardly call that doctoring.

You seriously think this is scandalous? It's the prudent thing to do. When you're saying the picture was taken just before a mob attacked her, it stands to reason the people in the picture could be implicated. Maybe someone watching in Egypt sees somebody they know in the picture and decides to go "punish the rapists."

There's certainly nothing about this action that's suspicious.

I don't understand what your story is about here. If the faces had been left unblurred, would you have accused CNN of wrongly impiclating the men in the background? It would be just as easy to assume that these were some of the people who helped Logan, but both ideas are assumptions and not factual. CNN remained unbiased here.

CNN just had to de-humanize the people who just pulled off a major revolution. And we can sit back and say that it doesn't matter because Egypt will fall into the hands of the "wrong people," not "our" type of people. But hey, at least they had the balls to actually stand up and do it with-out fear they might scratch their iPhones and iPads. The media has to de-humanize middle easterners in order for our government to hold on to it's control over our fear. Group of brown guys rape a blonde american girl - well golly-gee, we have to fight against that. Who care if 'you' can't see the faces in the picture, who cares if 'you' can. What can you do about it anyway - the people who can do something about it - have seen the picture, don't worry.

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