By now you have probably heard about CBS’ Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes doing the story Sunday about “Three Cups of Tea” co-author Greg Mortenson and the Montana-based Central Asia Institute (CAI).
In case you don’t know, CAI raises money to build schools in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan – and they have raised millions. They have helped a lot of people.
60 Minutes portrayed Mortenson as not telling the truth about his work in Afghanistan and Pakistan and they also contend his non-profit CAI has been mismanaged.
Even if you have not followed Mortenson’s work, you would probably admit the 60 Minutes piece was pretty damaging to him and the CAI. In case you missed it, you can view the 60 Minutes story HERE.
I was troubled by Steve Kroft’s reporting. Some may call it a “hit piece” and others may call it good, solid, journalism. It was kind of like watching someone getting beaten up and it had me thinking “fight back” or “throw a punch” or “do something.”
Fortunately, Mortenson did do something. He did an interview and answered several questions (after the 60 Minutes story aired) with Outside Magazine. You can read that interview HERE. He also posted a message on his website HERE.
But now the organization and Mortenson are tainted. Are the stories in his books completely accurate? Probably not, but two people can see the same things differently. Has there been mismanagement of the non-profit Central Asia Institute? Maybe. But there’s been a lot of good done by Mortenson – a lot of good.
But the reason for this column was not entirely about Mortenson and the CAI, but about Montana’s Attorney General’s move yesterday.
In what was probably a record in starting an investigation (after a television show aired), Montana Attorney General (AG) Steve Bullock let the media know on Tuesday that his agency was launching an investigation into the non-profit Central Asia Institute because his office has the “authority to oversee nonprofit corporations on behalf of the public.”
I wonder if there were balloons and confetti at the announcement…because it’s tough to get world-wide publicity as the AG for Montana…so you might as well go all out.
One person told me that Bullock was acting like a vulture preying on the injured and looking for a quick meal (a spot on the news).
Many elected officials crave publicity – the cameras – the reporters– the glamour! That is especially important when your name is Bullock and your name recognition may not be as high as others, and your personality comes across like a damp rag. It takes “hard work” to overcome that…
In case you did not know, Bullock is either running for re-election as Attorney General or for the open seat for Governor – most folks believe he’s running for Governor.
Some folks believe that Bullock comes across like a “media whore” and his daily goal is to get his face on TV or his name in the newspapers – kind of a fix like a drug addict.
It appears to me that Bullock lived up to that name on Tuesday…