Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Greg Mortenson and 60 Minutes...

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU
 
haikugal Donating Member (476 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 10:17 PM
Original message
Greg Mortenson and 60 Minutes...
I hope this isn't a duplicate...I received this email today and thought I'd share it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Asalaam-o-Alaikum (Peace Be With You). Greetings from Montana and on behalf of the dear children and communities we serve in rural Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Thank you (Tashakur and Shukuria) for the overwhelming response to the news in recent days, for the outpouring of support, prayers and the confidence that you, our supporters, have showered upon Central Asia Institute, Pennies For Peace and my family. In the midst of these difficult and challenging days, I keep thinking about the Persian proverb, "When it is darkest you can see the stars." You are all shining lights and we are grateful for your compassion.

Although we would like the world to be linear, orderly and peaceful, the reality is that our world is a dynamic, fluid place, often filled with chaos and confusion. In that space, I thrive and get the courage to help bring change and empower people. I also feel great pride that you have chosen to support those who live in the 'Last Best Places', where other organizations or governments offer few or no services.

I welcome and am used to facing criticism, which sometimes even turns into hostility and threats, over the important work we do in Pakistan and Afghanistan. As an introvert and shy person, it is also not easy to have to enter an arena of a media circus at the drop of a heartbeat. But, as those of you who know me and have supported my work over the years will recognize, the story being framed by "60 Minutes" to air in a few hours today - as far as we can tell -- paints a distorted picture using inaccurate information, innuendo and a microscopic focus on one year's (2009) IRS 990 financial, and a few points in the book "Three Cups of Tea" that occurred almost 18 years ago. Apparently, the CBS program is to be followed in the near future by a similar negative piece by Jon Krakauer in an unknown magazine, which I only recently heard about last week.

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.

The "60 Minutes" program may appear to ask simple questions, but the answers are often complex, not easily encapsulated in 10-second sound bites. Working in isolated areas, in communities that are not on any map, and often in areas of turmoil, religious extremism or natural disasters where education is still relatively rare and ancient codes of conduct and social hierarchies still dominate - all these things demand constant adjustment, accommodation and patience.

We have always maintained that our work is about investing in relationships, respecting elders, and listening over a time span that stretches generations, not in one that lasts just a few minutes on prime time television.

So although I did not do an on-camera interview, CAI's Board of Directors and I have duly responded to questions provided us late last week by "60 Minutes" with both statements and answers. And as always we pride ourselves to be transparent with our financials and IRS 990 forms.

All of this can be found on our website, www.ikat.org, and more information will be added in coming days.

Because of a medical condition mentioned below, I have spoken with our hometown newspaper, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, about this attack, and the newsroom is closely following developments on this story:

Mortenson under fire from '60 Minutes' - Bozeman philanthropist denies allegations (Friday, April 15, 2011)

CAI responds to Mortenson allegations (Sunday, April 17, 2011)

I also recently returned from Afghanistan, and was amazed to see how incredibly well everything is going there, including having five female managers (out of 15 total) and a plan to establish and build over 60 new schools this year. Our Board Chairman, Dr. Abdul Jabbar, also recently returned from an extensive trip to Pakistan. We will combine the news and send you an email and / or printed information within the next month to share the good news.

I would like to take this opportunity to disclose that for the last 18 months, I have been struggling with hypoxia (low oxygen saturation), which made it very difficult to get through a grueling schedule. My physician told me I had to stop and rest, however the urgency of what we do spurred me on. Last Friday (4/15/11), I came home and was diagnosed with a hole in my heart that was shunting blood, causing my low saturations.

Tomorrow, I will have further tests and then a heart surgical procedure this week to fix the hole. After a few weeks my doctor says I will be as good as new. For the first time in eighteen months, I will have tremendous energy, strength and lots of oxygen. At that time, I will come out fighting for what is right and just, and be able to talk to the media. Regardless of what happens, our work must go on. It's most important to know that education is the only thing one can never take away from an individual; it remains forever.

It is a true blessing to be at home now, with family and friends. In the meantime, I send you my heartfelt thanks for your continued support, and if you have any questions or concerns at all, I urge you to contact our office. Our small committed staff will be responding as quickly as they can to answer your calls, e-mails and requests for more information.

Please feel free to pass on this email to your families, friends and colleagues, and if you feel compelled, please write letters to the editor, or your on-line communities, about your thoughts.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Greg Mortenson
Bozeman, MT
__________________
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
prairierose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 10:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. So, Mortenson is under fire by the corporate media...why am I
not surprised? After all, his not for profit only builds schools and tries to educate children, especially girls. I stopped watching 60 seconds, years ago when they became so corporate and stopped doing objective stories to inform people. I will never waste a minute watching them again.

I think that what Greg Mortenson is trying to do is a great thing and since he is an alum of my alma mater, I have a special interest in following his work. But I have always believed that it is better to build bridges and try to help people than to throw bombs and bullets at them.

Thanks for posting this here.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
WaitingforKarlRove Donating Member (19 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 11:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. Thanks for posting
I'm a book manager who has wholeheartedly recommended Three Cups of Tea to countless customers. Most have come back to thank me and to buy copies for friends and relatives. If I ever have a substantial amount of money, the EAI is where most of my charitable contributions will go. I'm grateful there are people like Greg Mortenson on the planet.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
A-Schwarzenegger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 11:23 PM
Response to Original message
3. He has done much good, but the charges on 60 Minutes
Edited on Sun Apr-17-11 11:23 PM by A-Schwarzenegger
are not addressed in this letter.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
haikugal Donating Member (476 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Hope this helps...
This is from the letter...

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Asalaam-o-Alaikum (Peace Be With You). Greetings from Montana and on behalf of the dear children and communities we serve in rural Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Thank you (Tashakur and Shukuria) for the overwhelming response to the news in recent days, for the outpouring of support, prayers and the confidence that you, our supporters, have showered upon Central Asia Institute, Pennies For Peace and my family. In the midst of these difficult and challenging days, I keep thinking about the Persian proverb, "When it is darkest you can see the stars." You are all shining lights and we are grateful for your compassion.

Although we would like the world to be linear, orderly and peaceful, the reality is that our world is a dynamic, fluid place, often filled with chaos and confusion. In that space, I thrive and get the courage to help bring change and empower people. I also feel great pride that you have chosen to support those who live in the 'Last Best Places', where other organizations or governments offer few or no services.

I welcome and am used to facing criticism, which sometimes even turns into hostility and threats, over the important work we do in Pakistan and Afghanistan. As an introvert and shy person, it is also not easy to have to enter an arena of a media circus at the drop of a heartbeat. But, as those of you who know me and have supported my work over the years will recognize, the story being framed by "60 Minutes" to air in a few hours today - as far as we can tell -- paints a distorted picture using inaccurate information, innuendo and a microscopic focus on one year's (2009) IRS 990 financial, and a few points in the book "Three Cups of Tea" that occurred almost 18 years ago. Apparently, the CBS program is to be followed in the near future by a similar negative piece by Jon Krakauer in an unknown magazine, which I only recently heard about last week.

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.

The "60 Minutes" program may appear to ask simple questions, but the answers are often complex, not easily encapsulated in 10-second sound bites. Working in isolated areas, in communities that are not on any map, and often in areas of turmoil, religious extremism or natural disasters where education is still relatively rare and ancient codes of conduct and social hierarchies still dominate - all these things demand constant adjustment, accommodation and patience.

We have always maintained that our work is about investing in relationships, respecting elders, and listening over a time span that stretches generations, not in one that lasts just a few minutes on prime time television.

So although I did not do an on-camera interview, CAI's Board of Directors and I have duly responded to questions provided us late last week by "60 Minutes" with both statements and answers. And as always we pride ourselves to be transparent with our financials and IRS 990 forms.

All of this can be found on our website, www.ikat.org, and more information will be added in coming days.

Because of a medical condition mentioned below, I have spoken with our hometown newspaper, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, about this attack, and the newsroom is closely following developments on this story:

Mortenson under fire from '60 Minutes' - Bozeman philanthropist denies allegations (Friday, April 15, 2011)

CAI responds to Mortenson allegations (Sunday, April 17, 2011)

Statements

http://www.ikat.org/wp-includes/documents/boardstatemen...

Answers

http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/11...

Website

http://www.ikat.org /

Mortenson under fire from 60 Minutes Bozeman philanthropist denies allegations

CBS News "60 Minutes" on Friday alleged that Bozeman philanthropist Greg Mortenson fabricated some of the most dramatic and inspiring stories in his bestselling book "Three Cups of Tea" and one year spent more money promoting his book than building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Mortenson, 53, founder and executive director of the Central Asia Institute, defended his work building schools for children, especially girls, in remote Islamic villages.

"I hope these allegations and attacks, the people doing these things, know this could be devastating for tens of thousands of girls, for the sake of Nielsen ratings and Emmys," Mortenson told the Chronicle in a phone interview Friday.

"I stand by the information conveyed in my book," he wrote in a statement, "and by the value of CAI's work in empowering local communities to build and operate schools that have educated more than 60,000 students."

Mortenson said CAI's success in fundraising - last year it raised $23.7 million - means it can build 63 new schools this year, in addition to more than 170 already established.
He denied several "60 Minutes" allegations, and defended his financial dealings, but appeared to concede that one key story in his book was not literally true.
The investigation by correspondent Steve Kroft, to be broadcast Sunday night, quotes "Into Thin Air" author and mountaineer Jon Krakauer as saying he learned from one of Mortenson's companions that the tale of how Mortenson got started was "a beautiful story" but "a lie."

The book told how Mortenson got lost on a 1993 climb of K2, the world's second highest peak, and then stumbled exhausted into the remote village of Korphe, was cared for by villagers, and promised to return and build a school.

"I stand by the story of Three Cups of Tea,'" Mortenson said in a written statement, but added, "The time about our final days on K2 and ongoing journey to Korphe village and Skardu is a compressed version of events that took place in the fall of 1993.
<snip>
http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/article_4d312...

CAI responds to Mortenson allegations
http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/article_4837c...

I agree with what has been posted here by others. I have recommended his book, website and work often. I'm glad to see I'm not alone in this.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
former9thward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 12:20 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. It does not help.
The letter ignores the charges made on 60 minutes.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Festivito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 12:27 AM
Response to Original message
6. Greg walking out on his own book signing to avoid 60 Minutes, looks bad.
The getting hotel security to kick out the cameras, looks bad.

Saying one will get back to the interviewers and then ducking out, looks bad.

Stopping a book signing early and going out a back door, looks bad.

Saying they were interrupting his book signing when he's sitting there alone, looks bad.

Having months to set an interview and not setting one, looks bad.

Having a bunch of recognizable folks who know a guy saying to a camera that he did not do what he wrote he did, looks bad.

Making a last-second statement of debilitating illness, smells bad.

Having that last-second statement not cover the content it deems to expose, looks bad.

Sorry Greg, do the independent audits needed with all that money you've made or get ready to pay the hard price of admitting wrong.

Until you come clean, you're looking bad.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tilsammans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Right. Hate to say it, but . . .
. . . it sure looks as if 60 Minutes' allegations are true. He certainly looked very nervous when approached.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Duppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 08:19 AM
Response to Original message
7. 60 Mins. research and interviews were convincing !!!!
They gave Mortenson ample opportunities to defend himself and he declined.

They interviewed people who knew him, including a some Afghans, who said he was lying.

The guy, whom I'd like to trust and who has made sense in past interviews, appears to be very much the SCAM ARTIST!

If you have not viewed the 60 Minute segment, please do so before commenting.

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtm...



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Garbo 2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. thanks for link! n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
10. I'm sorry to say, he made my antennae twitch when I saw him
And this was early this year. He's very handsome, very media savvy, very smooth, with a whole crowd of fawning followers. He struck me, there and then, as a version of a TV evangelist. I remember saying to my companion: "This man is too good to be real."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Duppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. "TV evangelist", yes.
You nailed the impression he gives.

As I said "Scam Artist"!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-20-11 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
12. BBC investigated and here is link to their take on it...
Edited on Wed Apr-20-11 11:27 AM by uppityperson
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13125953

(clip)What the locals say
Local leaders in some of the remote and poverty-stricken communities, where Greg Mortenson has established a presence, have voiced their support for him.

In Badakshan, despite the provincial authority condemning the CAI school-building programme there, one UN worker from an area in which a school had been built said the locals really appreciated it - hundreds of children attend.

"Imagine if the money had been given to the Afghan government or contractors - it would not have been built!" the worker, who wished to remain unnamed, said.

Two tribal elders in Kunar, one in the provincial capital, and one in the district of Naray where one school is said to have been built, knew Mr Mortenson - they said people were very happy with the work he had done....
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sat Sep 20th 2014, 10:01 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC