Nicholas Kristof is all about protecting workers–if they can fulfill his white man fantasies of swooping into Cambodian brothels to save women of color from the sex trade.
If those sex workers were to form a labor union and demand better working conditions and pay though, it seems Kristof would oppose them. Yesterday, Kristof wrote an awful editorial attacking the Chicago Teachers’ Union, not for asking for more money which so many have talked about, but for trying to resist the idiotic standardized testing tied to job security. Once again, we have a supposedly liberal pundit talking about accountability in a profession where complete incompetence is rewarded with lifetime sinecures.
As Mike Elk reports, it seems that Kristof is just anti-union period. A former member of the Newspaper Guild and a man who has relied on the Times overseas employees on his sex worker swoop-ins, he refused to support the overseas workers organizing to protect their pensions. These are people who often risk their lives for stories, and in fact some have lost their lives. Over 600 Times employees signed a letter in support of the overseas workers. Kristof and all of the other columnists (except possibly Krugman, this is unclear) refused.
“I was one of the several authors of the letter. At the time, I wrote individually to all the columnists [except Krugman] asking them to consider signing it. Because some had been foreign correspondents and had depended on those people who were being unilaterally screwed out of their pensions and who had no union protection, I hoped they would step forward,” says New York Times science reporter Donald McNeil. “But not one signed. Not one even answered my note. Since then, I’ve hoped that at least one or two would weigh in on our struggle here. But nothing. Silence.”
In fact, the Times is not great on labor issues at all and could face some labor actions coming up, particularly over health insurance, for which they force their employees to pay nearly half the cost. But no one should expect Kristof to help unless he can swoop into the Philippines for another fantasy.
….So I deleted this briefly because people were so outraged that I applied basic psychology to Kristof’s saving brown women fantasies and suggested there might be a bit something more to it, if you know what I mean. And to be clear, I didn’t delete it because I was wrong. I deleted it because I didn’t want to have the next 24 hours taken up by people shaming me for making obvious observations. I decided to repost it because Kristof’s anti-unionism is so important. So I changed the wording. But basically, if you don’t like the suggestion that Kristof’s fantasies might have a dark side, you may want to read a bit deeper into these issues. Or not take yourselves so seriously. Whatever works for you.