CBS’s Lara Logan on Media Bias: ‘Unless You Seek Out Breitbart,’ You Won’t See the ‘Other Side’
Lara Logan, foreign correspondent for CBS’s 60 Minutes, said Breitbart News offers “the other side” of news media relative to what she described as a mostly left-wing and partisan Democrat news landscape in the U.S. and abroad.
She offered her remarks in an interview published last Friday with the Mike Drop podcast, hosted by retired Navy SEAL Mike Ritland.
Ritland characterized U.S. news media as “absurdly left-leaning” and supportive of Democrats, further describing the status quo of American news media’s left-wing and partisan Democrat biases as a “huge fucking problem” and “disaster for this country.”
Logan concurred, “I agree with that. That’s true.” She described U.S. and international news media as “mostly liberal,” adding, “most” journalists are left.
“The media everywhere is mostly liberal, not just the U.S.,” assessed Logan.
Logan grouped Breitbart News and Fox News as dissident outlets relative to the “mostly liberal” news media landscape. She said:
Visually, anyone who’s ever been to Israel and been to the Wailing Wall has seen that the women have this tiny little spot in front of the wall to pray, and the rest of the wall is for the men. To me, that’s a great representation of the American media, is that in this tiny little corner where the women pray you’ve got Breitbart and Fox News and a few others, and from there on, you have CBS, ABC, NBC, Huffington Post, Politico, whatever, right? All of them. And that’s a problem for me, because even if it was reversed, if it was vastly mostly on the right, that would also be a problem for me.
My experience has been that the more opinions you have, the more ways that you look at everything in life — everything in life is complicated, everything is gray, right? Nothing is black and white.
News media homogeneity cripples many people’s desire for getting to the truth about political goings on, determined Logan:
How do you know you’re being lied to? How do you know you’re being manipulated? How do you know there’s something not right with the coverage? When they simplify it all [and] there’s no grey. It’s all one way. Well, life isn’t like that. If it doesn’t match real life, it’s probably not. Something’s wrong. For example, all the coverage on Trump all the time is negative. … That’s a distortion of the way things go in real life.
One ideological perspective on everything never leads to an open free diverse tolerant society. The more opinions and views … of everything that you have, the better off we all are. So creating one ideological position on everything throughout your universities, throughout academia, in school and college, in media, and everywhere else, that’s what concerns me. I don’t have to agree with everybody.
Logan added, “Although the media has historically always been left-leaning, we’ve abandoned our pretense — or at least the effort — to be objective, today. … We’ve become political activists, and some could argue propagandists, and there’s some merit to that.”
Logan cast Breitbart News as a useful barometer of “the other side” of news media:
This is the problem that I have. There’s one Fox, and there’s many, many, many more organizations on the left. … The problem is the weight of all these organizations on one side of the political spectrum. When you turn on your computer, or you walk past the TV, or you see a newspaper headline in the grocery store If they’re all saying the same thing, the weight of that convinces you that it’s true. You don’t question it, because everyone is saying it. Unless you seek out Breitbart on your computer, you’re probably not even going to know what the other side is saying.
Most news media outlets ignore the origins of ostensibly grassroots political activism, stated Logan. She pondered the geneses of such campaigns, speculating on technology firms’ roles in amplifying such campaigns:
We don’t even question if what we see on social media is real or not. We don’t even question if a grassroots movement is really grassroots. You know, there’s a way to start a grassroots movement. You write an algorithm, and you create all this outrage, and you’re basically throwing out all the sparks that light the fire, so then it becomes a grassroots movement because it takes nothing to set that in motion. But did it really begin as one? And if it didn’t begin that way, but was manipulated and paid for by someone and serves someone’s political purpose, is it really what we believe it is?
People were manipulated into doing that. … Who’s behind it? Who’s doing it, and why are they doing it? And what else are they doing? Those things are profoundly significant, and we’re not even trying to find out who it is. That really bothers me.
Logan dismissed news media claims allegedly rooted in singular anonymous government sources as unreliable. “That’s not journalism, it’s horseshit,” she said.
“Responsibility for fake news begins with us,” said Logan, referring to journalists and reporters.
Logan recalled that Media Matters for America (MMFA) targeted her following a 60 Minutes report she filed related to the September 11, 2012, Islamic terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. “I made one comment about Benghazi,” remarked Logan, “[Then] I was targeted by Media Matters for America, which was an organization established by David Brock, who has dedicated himself to the Clintons. It was their known propaganda organization.”
In February of 2011, Logan was sexually assaulted — and nearly murdered — by numerous men in Cairo, Egypt, while reporting on the ousting of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. She shared some details of the attack’s nature.
“Piece by piece, they tore all my clothing off, and just tore my body almost to pieces, and tore my insides apart,” recounted Logan. “I saw people taking pictures. … I remember fighting, being raped, and being able to sometimes push people away, and then I remember just realizing that there were too many of them — and it was over and over and over again — and that there was always someone else when you could fight one person.”
Towards the end of the interview, Logan quipped, “This interview is professional suicide for me.”