Sunday, April 17, 2011

On the accuracy of “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson

"60 Minutes" in its first story on April 17 raises some issues concerning the accuracy of items in “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson. In response to these allegations of inaccuracy, AP notes in a statement issued Saturday, April 16, the publisher, Penguin, said, “We rely on our authors to tell the truth and they are contractually obligated to do so.”

The second story concerned the rape of a college athlete, and the third story was Paul Allen on Bill Gates. No Andy Rooney.

Steve Kroft introduced the story on Greg Mortenson, and noted that last fall, "60 Minutes" began an investigation into Mortenson. Mortenson's speaking fee is $30,000 per engagement. In 1993, he tried and failed to climb K-2. A clip from UCSB was shown on 60 Minutes. Jon Krakauer was one of Mortenson's earliest backers, but later withdrew his support. An early account in "The American Himalayan" didn't mention Korfe. 60 Minutes talked with a person named Masoud who negated a claim by Mortenson that Mortenson had been kidnapped by the Taliban. "Pennies for Peace." Daniel Borokov of American Institute for Philantropy (AIP). Most of the program of Morenson's spending is for "domestic outreach." There were 1.7 million dollars in book-related expenses, more than for schools in Pakistan. Central Asia Institute contacted 60 Minutes and noted they receive no royalties from the books. Jon noted in 2002 the board's treasurer quit; no accounting; no receipts. 141 schools mentioned in last year's IRS return. 60 Minutes sought out Mortenson at a book signing in Atlanta; the videoclip was shown. 60 Minutes, at the end of the piece, quoted Mortenson to the effect that the attacks against Mortenson are unjustified.

On the other side of the coin, see a response by Mortenson on April 17, 2011, including

The Board of Directors and I made the very difficult decision to not engage with "60 Minutes" on camera, after they attempted an eleventh hour aggressive approach to reach me, including an ambush in front of children at a book signing at a community service leadership convention in Atlanta. It was clear that the program's disrespectful approach would not result in a fair, balanced or objective representation of our work, my books or our vital mission. We also turned down a last minute request for an interview with Jon Krakauer.

Katie Couric did the case of Beckett Brennan at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. Beckett was a high school All American basketball player. In May, 2008 whe went to the University Townhouse Apartments, and she was raped by three college basketball players. According to one study, 95% of rapes on campus are not reported. The school suggested testifying before an internal school investigation [judicial review board hearing, made up of three students, a teacher, and an administrator.] At the hearing, there were many questions about Beckett's behavior. The three players were actually found guilty; one student was expelled, and two were suspended. Katie asked an administrator if the review board had the appropriate experience. Joelle Gomez was interviewed. In June 2008, Beckett returned to UoP for the summer semester. In Oct. 2008, Beckett left UoP for good.
[In passing, Barry Brennan lettered for the Marquette Golden Eagles in 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976.]

Lesley Stahl did "The Co-Founder" on Paul Allen, about the book "Idea Man." Allen, on Gates: Some days working with you is like being in hell. In 2009, Allen had stage 4 lymphoma. Allen was the creative dreamer; Gates the pragmatist. Allen: he was always popping my balloons. One idea in 1974 that didn't get shot down: write software for the Altair. Allen had seen the Altair 8800 in Popular Mechanics. Allen pitched the software. In 1977, Gates was interviewed on a tv show, talking about software stores. Gates got 60% of the company. Allen on Gates: tough taskmaster. A 1994 CBS news profile: browbeating. Allen felt he was being marginalized. Allen overheard Gates/Balmer trying to reduce Allen's share to about zero. Allen ended up with about 1/3 of Microsoft. Allen bought Jimi Hendrix Woodstock guitar. Allen Institute for Brain Science. Stahl to Allen: I get this Howard Hughes'y feel. Allen: in technology most things fail. Stahl talked about Allen's patent lawsuits. Stahl: how do argue that you had something to do with Google. Allen: all I'm trying to do is get back my investment. Stahl: what's your reaction to the book being a revenge book, a bitter book. Allen talked about Gates coming to Allen in 2009, when Allen was sick. About talking about the book with Gates: I'm sure there will be a heated discussion.


Frey, Glass, and Blair: Where are they now?


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