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Lara Logan photo altered on CNN’s ‘Anderson Cooper 360’

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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.

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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)


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