Sachs defended the project’s claims of impact based on before-and-after analysis. He and Prabhjot Singh wrote that one cannot compare trends at the intervention sites to trends elsewhere:
“The logic is also flawed. In a single-intervention study at the individual level (e.g. for a new medicine) one can have true controls (one group gets the medicine, the other gets a placebo or some other medicine). With communities, there are no true controls. Life changes everywhere, in the MVs and outside of them.”
In other words, they claim, comparing trends at the intervention sites to trends in other areas is illegitimate, because things are changing everywhere.
This is where it gets ugly, because the above is just bizarrely wrong.
Texas in Africa has a piece on Gettleman’s style of journalism. Mr. Gettleman is of course not new to this type of criticism. I have voiced my opinion on his reporting style a few times before.
This is not an argument for the mis-representation of the goings on on the Continent. (By all means tell us who is starving and is under incredible disease burden or being killed in a civil conflict). It is an argument for respectful reporting of the suffering of other people. This sort of sensationalism that you often see on the front pages of major newspapers does more harm than good.
And about Kristof. He should know better. I guess it must feel great to walk into a conflict zone ridden with poverty and get the reception of a rock star such as what Kristof got in Goma.
The line between helping the needy and this sort of vulgar self-gratification can be thinly thin sometimes.