Kristof Calls on Readers to ‘Be a Witness’

In Monday’s New York Times, Nick Kristof blasted the television news media for their deplorable coverage of the Darfur genocide, directly comparing it to the time they spent covering Tom Cruise and the Michael Jackson trial. (Sound familiar?)

Naturally, reporters were aghast and outraged over the criticism — especially since it came from one of their own — but Kristof’s argument was rock solid. A taste of what he had to say:

Incredibly, more than two years into the genocide, NBC, aside from covering official trips, has still not bothered to send one of its own correspondents into Darfur for independent reporting. …

When I’ve asked television correspondents about this lapse, they’ve noted that visas to Sudan are difficult to get and that reporting in Darfur is expensive and dangerous. True, but TV crews could at least interview Darfur refugees in nearby Chad. After all, Diane Sawyer traveled to Africa this year – to interview Brad Pitt, underscoring the point that the networks are willing to devote resources to cover the African stories that they consider more important than genocide.

Yesterday, on his blog, Kristof gave a shout-out to Be a Witness, our campaign to get the media to stop closing its eyes to genocide:

Samantha Power, who literally wrote the book on genocide, just called my attention to

It makes the same point I did — but more starkly, with video of the runaway bride on the one hand and Sudanese corpses on the other.

If only the runaway bride had run away to Darfur, the genocide might have gotten some attention…

So don’t take our word for it — join 50,000 others and check out Be a Witness.