Thomas Friedman lives in a castle and barely knows the outside world

This is really delicious. One of America’s self-appointed leading foreign affairs columnists, the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman, shows himself to be a rather insecure and technologically clueless man. And this is the guy who praises globalisation? Truly insulated:

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman ’75 questioned the ethics of WikiLeaks and technology in journalism during an academic symposium to honor outgoing University President Jehuda ReinharzWednesday evening in the Shapiro Campus Center.

Friedman, who writes many columns on politics and globalization, said that he was torn about whether WikiLeaks was justified to release the more than 250,000 diplomatic cables that it did to The New York Times last month.

“I would not want to live in a world without whistle blowers,” Friedman said. “But I would not want to live in a world where any individual can expose all the internal emails [of an organization].”

Yet Friedman also explained that while America “on balance [is] a real force for good in the world,” Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, does not believe in or support American values.

Commenting on the role of technology, Friedman said that the benefits include the rise in globalization, but WikiLeaks demonstrates some of the potential issues with rapidly growing technology.

“It’s incredibly empowering and it’s incredibly disempowering,” Friedman said.

When discussing technology, Friedman insisted that despite new inventions with Facebook and online media, personal interviews and conversations are irreplaceable.

“If you want to have an impact on your world, get off Facebook and into somebody’s face,” Friedman said. “I still get enormous satisfaction from interviewing people wherever I go.”

Admitting that he has never been to Facebook’s website before, Friedman said that “your world may be digital, but politics, God bless it, is still analog.”

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