Roger L. Simon

If You Build It, They Will Come - Oil-for-Food Division

The Washington Times concludes its editorial on the Volcker Committee report this morning:

We hope that Mr. Annan does not join [his shredder-friendly Chef de Cabinet] Mr. Riza in retirement and stays in his post as secretary-general. So long as Mr. Annan remains at the helm, his very presence will remind people of the serious need to reform the United Nations.

Well, maybe, but ultimately I cannot agree with this conclusion, attractive as it may be. It’s too cynical for me. Ironically, however, the New York Times and the Washington Post seem to. At least they act that way. They do everything they can to mollify the controversy, thus keeping Mr. Annan in place. You would think that with all their investigative powers they would have considerable original reporting about this scandal, but, arguably, they have less even than this blog.

And, please, I am not bragging here. Here’s the secret about investigative reporting: it’s no big deal. For the most part all you need is email and a phone. Once you are known to be interested in a subject, people will come to you with their stories. Deep Throat – assuming there was one such person – contacted Woodward and Bernstein, not the other way around. So investigative reporting (often – and certainly in my case) is simply an example of the old saw “If you build it, they will come.” Those national newspapers simply didn’t want them to come.