When Lara Logan rose to the heights of American journalism more than a decade ago as chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News, her superiors didn’t hesitate to send her to cover the world’s biggest events. The producers insisted on collaborating with her as she interviewed a Taliban commander, chronicled the Arab Spring, and tracked the Ebola outbreak. Former President Barack Obama called her to wish her well after the most traumatic event of her seemingly limitless career: She was sexually assaulted while covering a demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011.
But today in the American media, Ms. Logan appears in a completely different way. Instead of nationwide news broadcasts, she can be found guesting on right-wing podcasts or speaking at a rally for fringe causes, promoting lies about Covid vaccine deaths and conspiracy theories about vote fraud.
She recently downplayed the seriousness of Yang’s situation. 6 assault on the Capitol at one of these shows. Is this the crime of the century? she asked sarcastically. She echoed the pro-Kremlin attack on the United States, accusing Americans of “arming the Nazis in Ukraine.” And she compared Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and Hillary Clinton to some of Hitler’s most infamous henchmen.
Her latest project is an upcoming documentary about voting machines called Choice Code, funded by Mike Lindell, chief executive of My Pillow, which helped spread some of the most outrageous myths about the 2020 presidential election.
From the outside, Miss Logan’s journey has been one of the most mysterious in modern television news history. Her reporting for 60 Minutes and CBS Evening News helped the nation understand the losses that decades of military conflict have inflicted on American forces. CBS News executives envisioned her as a next-generation star modeled after Mike Wallace or Dan Rather.
But her transformation into a far-right media star, according to former colleagues who worked closely with her, didn’t come out of nowhere.
More than half a dozen journalists and executives who worked with Ms. Logan on 60 Minutes, most of whom spoke anonymously to discuss private communication with her, said she sometimes displayed political leanings that made them question whether she could to objectively cover the actions of the Obama administration. military and foreign policy steps. Over the years, they said, she seemed increasingly conservative in her politics and more outspoken about her suspicions about the White House’s motives and military strategy.
Some said her opinion began to align with those of Obama’s critics, whom she then relied on as sources who have since become close allies of former President Donald J. Trump, including Lindsey Graham, a hawkish Republican senator from South Carolina, and Gen. – Lieutenant Trump. Michael Flynn, who helped the attempts to cancel the 2020 election and held many other conspiracy theories.
However, Ms. Logan’s turnaround disappointed many who saw her as flamboyant and fearless and admired her for returning time and time again to Iraq and Afghanistan, despite nearly dying in 2003 when an American the military vehicle she was in was hit by Taliban fire. She lay unconscious while her team and members of the military tried to drag her to safety, thinking she was dead.
“She was extraordinarily bold in her war reporting,” Ira Rosen said., former 60 Minutes producer who wrote a book about his years online, Ticking Clock.
“When I think of Lara,” Mr. Rosen added, “I want to remember the Lara who put her life on the CBS News reporting line in Afghanistan and Egypt. The one I don’t even want to know about right now.
When approached for comment, Ms. Logan said she would not be participating in the “hit piece” and added, “I’m not interested,” before abruptly hanging up. But today, she often speaks to conservative talk show hosts about her days on CBS, describing what she sees as the culture of mainstream media conformity.
“The moment I didn’t follow the rules, I thought, ‘Oh, she used to be great, what happened to her?’ Ms. Logan said in a recent episode of Mr. Lindell’s Internet show, The Lindell Report. “.
“Oh, she’s upset and embarrassed,” Ms Logan added, referring to the criticism and ostracism she’s faced in recent months after making disparaging comments about public health officials like Dr. Fauci and others.
In November, after she compared Dr. Fauci to Josef Mengele, a Nazi doctor who performed inhuman experiments on concentration camp prisoners, Ms. Logan was dumped by the production company that made the show she starred in on Fox Nation, a streaming service for fox. News. Her longtime talent agency also cut ties with her, according to one news executive.
She has since moved further into the fringes of the conservative media, where vaccine skeptics and election opponents embrace and hail her as a whistleblower who they say exposes mainstream media cover-ups. In interviews in recent weeks, she has set her sights on a series of seemingly unrelated goals – protesting “open border ideologues” and the UN bureaucrats she accuses of supporting them, so-called smart meters that record energy consumption in homes, and activists. is working to reverse climate change, which she called “another piece of nonsense”.
Although she expresses views that seem hardline today, some former CBS News colleagues recalled that her politics were not always easy to classify as conservative when they worked together. One of them said that Ms. Logan, who grew up in South Africa, once expressed dismay at the prevalence of guns in the United States and said she did not understand the attachment of many Americans to the Second Amendment. According to them, she spoke with pride about her family when she described them as staunch opponents of apartheid.
Several people who worked alongside her said that her fearlessness in war zones was double-edged: it made good TV shows, but it also sometimes made them question her judgment. According to them, sometimes she brought her producers and crew into situations that they felt weren’t worth the risk. Some operators refused to work with her, one former colleague added, and she may have been dismissive of the security teams hired by the network to keep their journalists safe.
One former CBS producer who worked with her, Peter Klein, said in an interview that the structure of the big newsroom has a chilling effect. “There are checks and balances in newsrooms,” said Mr. Klein, founder of the nonprofit Global Reporting Center in British Columbia. “Most of us need this system, but she really needed this system. And we knew it from the very beginning,” he said.
“Now it’s just unfiltered,” Mr. Klein added.
Former CBS journalists said that reporting from the war zones for more than a decade began to take its toll on her emotionally, as it would on anyone who had been repeatedly exposed to combat trauma. And they said they noticed a significant change in her behavior – at times appearing more paranoid, erratic and respectful of her military sources – after she was sexually assaulted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011. her from the crew and ripped off her clothes, which she called a “relentless” attack. She was hospitalized for several days.
The following year, Ms. Logan gave a speech that foreshadowed her downfall at CBS. The American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, had just been attacked, killing four Americans and sparking a storm among Republicans who accused Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, then Secretary of State, of underestimating the threat the terrorists posed to Americans.
Looking more like a defender of the military than a reporter, Ms. Logan told her audience in Chicago that she hoped the government was preparing to deploy its “best covert warriors” to “revenge.” She added that the world should know that the United States will not be attacked and then “stand by and do nothing about it.” And she accused the Obama administration of downplaying the Taliban threat and lying “about who they really are.”
Then, about a year later, she began to tell people that she was working on a story that, in the words of one person, was “pulling the veil over Benghazi.”
The story she came up with was a work known in 60 Minutes somewhat disparagingly as a “book report” because it was loosely based on a forthcoming book. Ms. Logan interviewed the author, a security official based in Libya, who said on air on 27 October 2013 that he helped defend the compound on the night of the attack. He described in detail how he came face to face with the enemy.
A few weeks later, the New York Times reported that the contractor had in fact told the FBI that he was not on site that night. After initially defending Ms. Logan and the report, CBS News retracted it and apologized. Ms. Logan and her producer were put on vacation and she admitted she made a “frustrating” mistake.
60 Minutes Chief and Executive Producer Jeffrey Fager later called the story “the worst story in my 10 years.”
Ms. Logan quietly left the network in 2018 after her contract expired. In a libel suit she filed in 2019 against New York magazine over a 2014 profile that she claimed prevented her from getting another job, she said that CBS cut her salary to $750,000 in 2015 from $2,150,000 in 2014. (A federal judge dismissed the case.) She moved from Washington to the Hill Country in Texas with her husband and children. The move, she told People magazine in 2016, has allowed her to focus more on being a mother, especially for her son with learning disabilities.
Ms. Logan’s exile from the media has hardly limited her access to the center of gravity of the Republican Party.
This month, she traveled to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida estate, to screen a new film by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza. Other guests included General Flynn, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Representative Marjorie Taylor Green, Republican of Georgia, and Kyle Rittenhouse, a man acquitted of killing two people during a political demonstration that turned violent in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020. on the grounds, Mr. Rittenhouse stopped to take a picture with Ms. Logan.