Friday, June 27, 2003
Journalism 101: New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who previously served as an associate managing editor at the Times and once won a Pulitzer Prize, shows how journalism is done at the paper of record.
Since I've been accusing the Bush administration of cooking the intelligence on Iraq, I should confess my intentions. Countless Iraqis warned me that they would turn to guerrilla warfare if U.S. troops overstay their welcome, so I thought I'd find an Iraqi who had had his tongue or ear amputated by Saddam's thugs and still raged about the U.S. That would powerfully convey what a snake pit we're in.
Mr. Kristof, with all due respect, that's not how journalism is done. You don't come up with a storyline first and then do selective "reporting" to back it up. As a columnist, you can certainly present your point of view, but your reporting should be held to the same standards taught back in Journalism 101.
Your goal wasn't to survey several people tortured by Saddam's regime and determine if some of them hated the United States. Your goal was just to find one who would illustrate your preconceived agenda.
How can we trust any of your reporting if this is the method by which you operate. Your anonymous sources on the "cooked" U.S. intelligence may just be a couple of wackos that you've sought out because that's the story you want to communicate.
That's not good journalism. If a freshman journalism student pulled what you did in a basic reporting class, they'd get the same thing I'm giving you.
Final grade: F