You won’t read this piece about Darfur unless I tell you someone VERY FAMOUS is standing near me while I type!

While we’re on the subject of supposedly high brow news publications treating their readers like celebrity-obsessed idiots who will only care about a crisis if someone famous is telling them… I give you Nick Kristof’s latest column in the New York Times.

In a piece that probably should have been titled “Look at me! I’m friends with someone famous!” Kristof uses 800 words on one of the world’s most prestigious newspaper pages to tell us he’s in Chad with George Clooney. There is little original reporting in the piece, but that’s not my problem with it.

My problem is sentences like this:

You read my columns about Darfur from this trip, and I’ll give you the scoop on every one of Mr. Clooney’s wild romances and motorcycle accidents in this remote nook of Africa. You’ll read it here way before The National Enquirer has it, but only if you wade through paragraphs of genocide.”

My guess is that anyone who turns to the op-ed page of the New York Times is likely to be the sort of person that a) knows a bit about Darfur already and would be interested to read a bit of on the ground reporting, b) isn’t an avid reader National Enquirer, and c) doesn’t care all that much George Clooney.

Actually scrap c. The sort of person who reads the New York Times op-ed page probably loved Good Night, and Good Luck and Syriana. But they probably aren’t that interested in Clooney’s love life.

Coming up later this week in the Guardian: Amy Winehouse’s exclusive report from Somalia

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