Back in the Spotlight, Lara Logan Wants to Keep Reporting: "I'm Not Done Yet"

Lara Logan - H - 2017

In a lengthy interview, Logan told THR she's been approached recently by right-leaning media companies but hasn't had discussions with Fox News.

"This is the kind of interview that is like professional suicide for me," Lara Logan said on the Feb. 15 episode of the Mike Drop podcast, hosted by the conservative former Navy SEAL Mike Ritland.

Over the course of three hours and 30 minutes, Logan laid out a critique of the mainstream media — as left-leaning, pack-like and breathless — that made national headlines because of the messenger: a longtime CBS News foreign correspondent who only recently left the network.

Her comments drew derision from some but caught fire in conservative media, crescendoing with a Feb. 20 interview on the Fox News show Hannity. "I hope my bosses at Fox find a place for you," Sean Hannity told her, leading to rampant speculation that Logan could end up with the company she thinks is almost alone on the right side of the political spectrum.

But, in a wide-ranging interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Logan threw water on the industry chatter. "I've known Hannity a long time," she said. "He's been saying that since the day I met him." (Logan said that Hannity is "one of the good guys" in "an industry of assholes.")

In the days since the podcast blew up, Logan said she's been approached for work by mostly conservative media organizations but has not had discussions with Fox News or any other network — yet. She pushed back on Hannity's suggestion when he made it, telling him she doesn't want to be "owned" by any corporation. 

"There are many [companies] I would work for but I'm not going to be something I'm not," Logan told THR when asked about her professional opportunities. "I'm not going to pretend to be conservative so I can be the darling of the conservative media. I'm going to be who I am."

She is also reluctant to confirm what she said are suspicions about her political leanings. "There are people who are dying for me to go to Fox so they can say, 'Look, I knew it.'  That makes it so easy for them," she said. (A Fox News spokesperson did not respond when asked last week about the network's interest in Logan.)

Logan said she has been mostly working for herself since leaving CBS News in August 2018 after an ascendant career that briefly derailed in 2013, when she agreed to take a leave of absence after reporting an ultimately flawed story about the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya. (Two years earlier, she was sexually assaulted and brutally beaten while reporting on a revolution in Egypt.)

Now living with her family in a small town in Texas after decades of globe-trotting reporting, Logan said she is working on a handful of television projects — including one about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — that she hopes will get made. People have told her to write a book and she plans to do so. But when major media organizations approach her with work, she has to listen.

"I'm interested in putting food on the table and also doing my job, so yes, of course I have to consider everything," said Logan. "I'm a journalist, so that's always what I want to do. I'm only 47, so I'm not done yet. I haven't decided what I am going to do. I've been thinking about it for a while. I don't have any grand answers."

Sharyl Attkisson, who resigned from CBS News in 2014 after two decades, has been in a similar position. After alleging political bias at the network, Attkisson quickly took a job contributing to a publication launched by the conservative Heritage Foundation and now hosts a weekly news show for the right-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group.

"I don’t think the question is so much would Fox News give Lara a chance — or, will she be able to find another job in mainstream media," Attkisson said in an email. "The question, to me, is who would Lara be willing to work for given the current media climate? Once we are determined to find a way to continue to report accurately and without improper interference, it becomes a self-limiting question."

Logan has come to a similar conclusion. "I'm thinking of doing something on my own," she said. "I don't really want to be in a position where I'm being targeted and I'm desperately waiting with my heart in my mouth to see if I'm going to survive it. I'd rather be working for myself and be able to stand up for myself."

Over the course of a 90-minute conversation, she demurred only when asked for her opinion of President Trump. "I am outspoken but I am not an idiot," she said. "You really think in this climate I would even go there?"

Logan took pains to compliment CBS News and make clear that she enjoyed her time working for the network and the newsmagazine show she starred on: 60 Minutes. "I've loved every minute of it," she told THR. "It's really important to me that I don't cast a shadow on my time there, all that work. I love the show and I love what they do."

Logan claimed that many of her former CBS News colleagues have reached out in the wake of her recent comments, with "a lot" saying they agreed with her arguments.

She also made a pitch for Bill Owens, who was recently made executive producer of the show after Jeff Fager was fired for sending a threatening text message to an employee. "No one comes close to being as qualified as [Owens] is for that show," she said. "There was no other sane choice and he will be brilliant." (She said she was "stunned" by Fager's downfall and the for-cause termination of longtime CBS head honcho Les Moonves amid sexual assault allegations.)

To this day, Logan harbors a deep resentment of the progressive advocacy organization Media Matters for America, which she said "targeted her" in 2013 and has continued to do so with her back in the national conversation. "They're trying to paint me as a right winger nutter or conspiracy theorist," she said. "I'm just not that person. I'm not a political person. I'm not Republican. I'm not a Democrat. I don't belong to a political party."

"We were among Logan’s most fervent critics, but we were far from alone," Media Matters senior fellow Matt Gertz wrote Feb. 19 in response to Logan's recent comments. "Her report was shattered by stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and CBS News was subjected to a firestorm of criticism from other journalists until the report fell apart and the network finally retracted it."

Logan sees a kindred spirit in Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News host who lost her NBC talk show after making a flippant on-air remark about blackface in October. "It seems to be that there's a machine and it's more powerful these days," she said. "When she made that comment, it cost her not just her show and not just her job, but it has a massive impact on her career."

But, ultimately, she expects both her and Kelly to land on their feet. "I would be fascinated to see what she can come up with," Logan said. "I bet it will be a whole lot more lucrative than what I come up with."

While Logan did not expect her critique of the mainstream media to make such a mark, she said she's been buoyed by the support she's gotten in some corners of the industry. Going forward, she said, "I want it to be about the work when people pay attention to me."