Nir Rosen on Lara Logan Tweets: “I Was A Jerk” (VIDEO)

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Anderson Cooper took journalist Nir Rosen to task last night for his inappropriate tweets about CBS chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan, who was attacked and sexually assaulted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the chaotic celebration following Hosni Mubarak’s resignation.Rosen tweeted a series of offensive statements about Logan after CBS posted a brief statement about her assault. In his first tweet, he suggested she was trying to “outdo” Anderson Cooper, who was also beaten during protests. After receiving instant flack for his comment, he inserted his foot further into his mouth, tweeting “yes yes its wrong what happened to her. of course. i don’t support that. but, it would have been funny if it happened to Cooper too.”

Rosen’s tweets provoked a firestorm of outrage. He quickly tried to delete his original tweets and penned multiple apologies. The next day, he voluntarily resigned as a fellow from New York University’s Center on Law and Security, telling NYU Local “I did not want to harm a very important center or the work of people I greatly admire.”

But he’s still leaning on his somewhat incredible excuse that he didn’t know Logan was sexually assaulted at the time of his tweets, and assumed she had just been “roughed up.”

Last night, Anderson Cooper pressed him on his claim. “It is hard to believe you didn’t know it was sexual assault. Not only did you say that she was trying to outdo me or it’d be funny if it happened to me, but you also linked to the CBS news statement which clearly says it was a sexual assault,” he said. “Are you standing by the idea that you did not know she was sexually assaulted?”

Rosen repeated that he didn’t know about the sexual assault and said he didn’t actually read the statement that he tweeted. “Yeah I should have read it,” he said. “Had I known it was sexual assault… it’s no laughing matter, especially for a man.”

He said his tweets stemmed from his frustration that the mainstream media was going to make a big deal about her assault, instead of focusing on other events. “My point was that dozen of women suffered from this attack and one of them is going to get all the attention because she’s white and a celebrity corespondent.”

Rosen contended that he is a long time defender of women’s rights. “In terms of my record, if I may, I’ve spent eight years risking my life trying to tell the stories of victims and condemn their oppressors,” he said. “I spent today actually — I’m in the Middle East — documenting sexual abuse against women by local security forces.”

He repeated that he had no legitimate explanation for his tweets.”There’s no excuse for it, there’s no defense,” he said. “No matter what I say or try to explain, I look like a jerk… I apologize to her and to women everywhere.”

But in an NYU Local interview published today, Rosen seemed to blame partisan politics, in part, for the extreme outrage over his remarks. “I was not aware of the right wing attack machine waiting to take me down,” he said. “Had I been a right-wing writer I doubt this would have happened to me.”

This afternoon, Rosen continued to defend himself with an article in Salon, entitled “How 480 characters unraveled my career.”

Watch his interview with Cooper below:

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