NBC, CBS Bosses Hope Correspondents Limit Commentary

By Andrew Gauthier 


Chief foreign correspondents Lara Logan (CBS) and Richard Engel (NBC) have been raising eyebrows lately by expressing their opinions about the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan. Last Thursday, Logan offered her viewpoint on CBS’ “Washington Unplugged,” and Engel spoke on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Both have been outspoken, attracting criticism from those who think that impartial journalists wield more clout in today’s opinionated news climate.

On Wednesday, NBC News President Steve Capus and Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, offered their reactions to James Rainey of The Los Angeles Times, whose latest column mourns the decline of objective journalism.


On “Washington Unplugged,” Logan, CBS’ chief foreign correspondent since 2006, made the case for complying with General Stanley McChrystal’s request for a major troop buildup. She called plans to target Al Qaeda over the Taliban, as Vice President Biden has suggested, “ludicrous.”

The president of Logan’s network, Sean McManus, cited Logan’s extensive experience reporting from war zones, and said “I think she understands this was, if not a one-time-only occasion, a very, very rare occasion.”

Engel, in contrast, argued against staying in Afghanistan. “I honestly think it’s probably time to start leaving the country. I really don’t see how this is going to end in anything but tears,” he said on “Morning Joe.” Engel joined NBC News in 2003.

Steve Capus, the President of NBC News, said he “fully supported” Engel, but thinks “he has so much to offer in terms of straight reporting and analysis,” and “want[s] him to stick to that.”