Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Why Mr. Kristof needs a new editor

For his own good, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times should not have been allowed to commit to print this paragraph about the Greg Mortenson scandal: I don’t know what to make of these accusations. Part of me wishes that all this journalistic energy had been directed instead to ferret out abuses by politicians ...

ikat.org
ikat.org
ikat.org

For his own good, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times should not have been allowed to commit to print this paragraph about the Greg Mortenson scandal:

I don't know what to make of these accusations. Part of me wishes that all this journalistic energy had been directed instead to ferret out abuses by politicians who allocate government resources to campaign donors rather than to the neediest among us, but that's not a real answer. The critics have raised serious questions that deserve better answers: we need to hold school-builders accountable as well as fat cats.

This reads to me like, "Hey, quit picking on my friends, especially one who blurbed my book, go pick on my enemies." I am amazed that Kristof could write such a thing after reading the Krakauer article.

For his own good, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times should not have been allowed to commit to print this paragraph about the Greg Mortenson scandal:

I don’t know what to make of these accusations. Part of me wishes that all this journalistic energy had been directed instead to ferret out abuses by politicians who allocate government resources to campaign donors rather than to the neediest among us, but that’s not a real answer. The critics have raised serious questions that deserve better answers: we need to hold school-builders accountable as well as fat cats.

This reads to me like, "Hey, quit picking on my friends, especially one who blurbed my book, go pick on my enemies." I am amazed that Kristof could write such a thing after reading the Krakauer article.

He worries that scandals such as this will make people cynical. So it would be better to let the scam go on? I actually think someone who uses little Afghan children to live large is morally worse than an investment banker who never pretended to be doing good while living well.

Another point for Kristof to ponder: Kalsoom Lakhani wrote, "We should also use this opportunity to look inwards at ourselves, at our ability to get carried away by a charismatic personality and digestible narrative, in which Mortenson was the John Smith in the Pakistani version of Pocahontas."

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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