Don’t Be That Guy: Nir Rosen

Oh, Twitter. Without you, how would I listen to the innermost, most obnoxious thoughts of the masses? Kanye. Bieber. Kim Kardashian. Nir Rosen.

Who’s Nir Rosen? Oh, just a journalist and foreign policy scholar who tweet-bitched after the news broke of Lara Logan’s sexual assault in Egypt that she’d get a bunch of attention and become a martyr. Logan, a foreign affairs correspondent for CBS, has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan –not just by talking about them, but by being there, often reporting in the midst of violence. She was doing just that, reporting from a protest in Egypt, when she was separated from her crew and brutally assaulted earlier this week.

In respect to Logan’s privacy, very few details of the attack have been released. So Rosen figured she had only been groped, like thousands of other women during the protest. He also “joked” that Logan just had to outdo Anderson Cooper, who was punched in the head during a protest in Egypt two weeks ago. “It would have been funny if it had happened to Cooper too,” Rosen tweeted. It would have been funny if Anderson Cooper were sexually assaulted?

Rosen has since resigned from his NYU fellowship, lost a consulting job at an NGO, and gone on a media campaign to express his remorse and clear his name. He does so almost eloquently. His writings on Salon.com, in fact, make him seem remorseful, thoughtful… and even more like a jerk.

What to do after you make an enormous gaff? Cower. Apologize profusely. And stop talking.

Rosen has taken this opportunity not just to apologize, but to explain what he was thinking, which was something along the lines of: If such an assault had happened to a regular ol’ Egyptian, not a pretty white reporter, it never would have made the news. I suppose that may be a fair point. But it’s not something you bring up during an apology. An apology is about sincere remorse. It’s an attempt to recognize the pain you caused. It’s not the time to advance your cause.

I don’t want to hear Rosen explain himself. His immediate train of thought, which he carelessly splashed on Twitter, showed knee-jerk cynicism and heartlessness. He can be commended for apologizing for both, but he goes on to say they resulted from his experience reporting from war-torn countries. He also points out his staunch support of women’s rights and gay rights. In fact, he does a lot of self-promotion during these apologies. He also makes sure to point out that he’s long considered Logan a “war monger.”

Just because these paragraphs occur after the few he spends self-flagellating doesn’t mean it’s an appropriate placement. It’s not the right time. It’s not the right place.

One reason he made those “tasteless tweets,” he said, is because he was afraid that the attention showered on Logan would overshadow the stories of suffering Egyptians.

Let me get this straight: Rosen caused a news story by tweeting obnoxiously. Logan made the news when something happened to her. And Rosen, who’s appearing on Anderson Cooper tonight, keeps talking.

Who do you think is detracting from the story in Egypt more?

–By Tara Cavanaugh

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