1. UN Dispatch is the UN’s blog, and the post in question represents the UN’s displeasure with Roger Simon.
False. Here’s a brief quote from the ‘About’ section of this blog: “UN Dispatch is sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, though the views expressed herein do not represent the official views of the United Nations Foundation, or the UN.”
2. UN Dispatch does nothing to refute Simon’s contentions about Oil-for-Food and simply takes issue with his topic selection.
A non-argument. The post is clearly about an examination of why Simon is fixated on the subject, not what he says about it. A March 3rd entry on UN Dispatch quotes Mark Malloch Brown, chief of staff to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, on Oil-for-Food: “There was wrongdoing at the UN, an organization which must live by the highest ethical standards, and we’ve got to correct it and root it out.”
3. Simon has the right to blog about anything he pleases, whether or not the UN likes it.
Again, this isn’t in contention. The point is not to deny Simon the right to post, but to examine his rationale for focusing on a single issue, however significant, to the exclusion of other issues of equal – if not greater – impact. The question seems reasonable considering that most issue-oriented bloggers such as Brad DeLong, Volokh, Juan Cole, etc. have an area of specialization that dovetails naturally with their blogging. In Simon’s case, it seemed like a fair question to ask why this particular topic is of signal importance to him.
Finally, an unfortunate reaction from somebloggers is their willingness to simply shrug off the examples of UN-related issues listed in the original post. It’s clear that many of these bloggers have become accustomed to knee-jerk attacks and are unwilling (or unable) to engage in a reasoned debate.
For the record, we’ll re-post the issues we think warrant attention and let readers decide: