Mar
26
2009

'Hold Us Accountable!' Says Unaccountable Darfur Pundit

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof issued a call in his column today for pundit accountability.

After making a problematic argument about knowledge and experience being overrated, Kristof correctly pointed out that in the media, "the marketplace of ideas for now doesn't clear out bad pundits and bad ideas partly because there's no accountability," and he concluded his article with a call for action: "Hold us accountable!"

Does this mean Kristof will now acknowledge the error of his prediction last month that the president of Sudan would not kick out aid groups in Darfur if the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest?

As Julie Hollar recently noted on the FAIR Blog, Kristof had encouraged the ICC warrant, writing (2/26/09) that fears of such retaliation were "overblown."

But Sudanese president Bashir has indeed followed through on his threat, lashing out in exactly the way many other experts–including Julie Flint and Alex de Waal (Guardian, 7/13/08)– had predicted. Yet as Hollar noted on the FAIR Blog, Kristof didn't 'acknowledge his error and continue[d] to dispense advice' in his subsequent (3/4/09) column on Darfur.

Nor did he acknowledge the error in his latest (3/8/09) Darfur column.

Perhaps it's time to heed Kristof's call to action.

(Kristof's email address is, by the way, nkristof@nytimes.com, and the email for letters to the Times editor is letters@nytimes.com. Kristof also has a blog where concerned readers can post comments.)