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HKS in the News March 7, 2012

1. 4 AP reporters win Harvard investigative prize for stories on NYPD Muslim surveillance (Jones) Washington Post

2. Romney's Not to Blame for the GOP's Primary Slog (Kamarck) Wall Street Journal

3. Philosopher Christopher Robichaud on Truth and Knowledge In the American Political Context (Robichaud) Huffington Post

4. Economics Journal: Identity Politics vs. Development Politics (Pande) Wall Street Journal

5. Critics of biotech crops proved wrong (Juma) Business Daily (Kenya)

6. Romney Awaits Super Tuesday Results in Boston (Linsky) Harvard Crimson


4 AP reporters win Harvard investigative prize for stories on NYPD Muslim surveillance

Washington Post

March 7

Quoted: Alex Jones, Shorenstein Center

Topic: Goldsmith Awards

The awards were also covered inThe Guardian (UK) and the Houston Chronicle.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Four Associated Press reporters won the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting on Tuesday for a series of stories about the New York Police Department’s widespread surveillance of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Chris Hawley and Eileen Sullivan won the $25,000 prize for their extensive reporting on the spying programs that monitored and recorded life in Muslim communities.

Alex S. Jones, director of the center that gives out the prize, the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, said the Goldsmith judges “found that the AP had shown great courage and fortitude in pursuing what they knew would be a very sensitive story, but it was one that needed to be told.”

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Romney's Not to Blame for the GOP's Primary Slog

Wall Street Journal

March 7

Commentary by: Elaine Kamarck, Belfer Center

Topic: Republican primary

The Republican presidential nomination contest is dragging on because Mitt Romney is a weak front-runner—right? That's the media narrative, but in fact the 2012 race was always going to be a long slog, regardless of which candidates were running. For that we can thank changes to the electoral calendar and the campaign-finance system.

Our system for nominating presidents always changes from cycle to cycle, but the changes in 2012 are particularly significant. They make this year's race echo those of decades ago, when contests started in the cold of Iowa and New Hampshire and ended in late spring and early summer, as big states like Pennsylvania, New York and California weighed in.

That system changed for both parties in the 1970s, when the number of primaries increased, the contests started earlier in the year, and a matching public-finance system came into effect. The combination meant that candidates' momentum from early wins in Iowa and New Hampshire had no time to fade before other big states voted. So candidates without the "Big Mo" found that their money quickly dried up, forcing them out of the race.

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Philosopher Christopher Robichaud on Truth and Knowledge In the American Political Context

Huffington Post

March 6

Profiled: Christopher Robichaud

Topic: Social epistemology

Christopher Robichaud's office at Harvard Kennedy School is filled with role-playing board games, at least one giant John F. Kennedy action figure, and hundreds upon hundreds of books. Most are standard philosophy volumes, but several shelves are devoted to his other passion: horror.

Robichaud's penchant for the dark side also colors the title of the class he's currently teaching. Ignorance, Lies, Hogwash and Humbug: The Value of Truth and Knowledge in Democracies explores a range of questions in social epistemology, particularly in the political context. What can we know? How can we know it? And why are we so bad about discussing it as a public?

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Economics Journal: Identity Politics vs. Development Politics

Wall Street Journal

March 7

Cited: Research by Rohini Pande

Topic: Identity politics in India

As the dust settles on the state-assembly elections, the most striking feature in the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, appears to be the persistent electoral power of identity and caste-based politics. ...

Are there lessons from the economics of identity for election politics in Uttar Pradesh?

As documented by economic professors Abhijit Banerjee of M.I.T. and Rohini Pande of Harvard’s Kennedy School, there’s been an increase in Uttar Pradesh over time of what they term “voter ethnicization,” which they show has a direct impact on the quality of legislators.

In the 1996 elections, for example, over 70% of surveyed voters reported that they voted for a party representing their own identity group. And between 1980 and 1996, the probability that a constituency which had a majority of lower caste voters would elect a legislator from an upper caste fell by a whopping 38%.

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Critics of biotech crops proved wrong

Business Daily (Kenya)

March 5

Commentary by: Calestous Juma, Belfer Center

Topic: Agricultural biotechnology

Critics of agricultural biotechnology have long maintained that the technology is unsuitable for small-scale farmers and harmful to the environment. But according to newly-released adoption rates, evidence is pointing in the opposite direction.

In its latest report, Global Status of Commercialised Biotech/GM Crops: 2011, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) shows that biotechnology crops now cover 160 million hectares worldwide.

Of the 16.7 million people who grew transgenic crops in 2011, 15 million or 90 per cent were small resource-poor farmers in developing countries. Early critics of biotechnology contended that biotechnology crops would only benefit large-scale farmers in industries countries.

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Romney Awaits Super Tuesday Results in Boston

Harvard Crimson

March 7

Quoted: Marty Linsky, Center for Public Leadership

Topic: Republican primary

Voters in ten states, including Massachusetts, had their first chance to weigh in today on a Republican primary contest whose outcome has become increasingly less certain since it began in January. ...

Political analysts said this week that they believe Romney is still the likely Republican nominee. His performance today will likely determine the course of the race in coming months, they said.

“There’s nothing definitive on the table except that Romney can get close to closing the deal,” Harvard Kennedy School lecturer M. Marty Linksy said about Super Tuesday.

“He’s got two things going for him. One is the symbolic strategy that would manifest itself if he won Ohio or Tennessee. The other is the numerical strategy if he came away with a lot of delegates,” Linsky said. The day’s results, he added, could allow Romney to numerically run away with the race.

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Broadcast Notes

Stephen Walt, Belfer Center

Minnesota Public Radio , 3/7/12

Topic: Iran


This selection of media appearances is compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

To submit an item please email Bryan Galcik


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