July 27, 2005

DARFUR UPDATE: Nicholas Kristof writes:

This is a column I don’t want to write – we in the media business have so many critics already that I hardly need to pipe in as well. But after more than a year of seething frustration, I feel I have to. . . .

I’m outraged that one of my Times colleagues, Judith Miller, is in jail for protecting her sources. But if we journalists are to demand a legal privilege to protect our sources, we need to show that we serve the public good – which means covering genocide as seriously as we cover, say, Tom Cruise. In some ways, we’ve gone downhill: the American news media aren’t even covering the Darfur genocide as well as we covered the Armenian genocide in 1915. . . . If only Michael Jackson’s trial had been held in Darfur.

Indeed. Covering this kind of thing seriously would make journalism seem, and be, more serious.

So would avoiding shoddy reporting and dishonest pseudo-corrections.