Category Archives: watch: On the Afghan Beat with Trudy Rubin

My colleague and longtime friend, Wolf Achtner, pointed out that Trudy Rubin, on a tour of Afghanistan and Pakistan, reported today what already appeared in German publications four days ago.

Nevertheless, there is no reference to that report. We used to call that plagiarism in my day. You know, I think it’s still called plagiarism. But maybe Trudy doesn’t have a good Internet connection–only sources that tell her stuff that people already know.

Okay, it’s my last post for the moment on the intrepid Inky reporter. But it’s so much fun to see how a bankrupt newspaper can spend money to send a bankrupt reporter to cover nothing while spending a whole lot of money. Sorry.

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Filed under Journalism, Philadelphia,, Uncategorized watch: Where in the World is Trudy Rubin?

I know some people want me to be nicer to foreign affairs expert Trudy Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer. But I have important news: she’s disappeared. Not in Pakistan or Afghanistan, but from

When you go to the Trudy Rubin link, you only see nine photos.

Your intrepid reporter–that would be me–has found Trudy. She’s behind the pay wall of the newspaper. I am not certain whether that means that the Inky is embarrassed by what she is writing or actually think people would pay to read it.

Using my investigative talents, I found a way around the pay wall so that you, my readers and viewers, can see what Trudy is up to.

I found today’s dispatch from Kabul:

KABUL, Afghanistan – The talk of talks with the Taliban has taken on new momentum in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden. Even as the Taliban was mounting its spring offensive, Afghan officials told me of recent meetings in Qatar and Germany between U.S. officials and a Taliban official named Tayyeb Agha, who may – or may not – be an emissary of Mullah Omar. And there lies the rub. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called for a diplomatic surge that will build on military gains produced by the U.S. troop surge. The hope is that Mullah Omar and his Quetta shura (core Taliban leaders) might be sobered by the U.S. ability to hit bin Laden and to break up their networks, and thus be willing to reconcile. Yet conversations with U.S. and Afghan officials and members of the former Taliban government make clear that, even today, no one is certain who can speak for Omar. Nor do they know what he wants. (Despite last week’s rumors of his death, he is believed to still be alive, and hiding in Pakistan.)

Harper back: I have put on my media decoder helmet to try to decipher the above. It may take me a few months, but I will post when I have determined what all of this means. Harper out.


Filed under Journalism, Philadelphia, watch: The Editors Actually Lead with the End of the World

Seriously. Even on April Fools’ Day. You cannot–as a news publication–lead with a picture and two stories about the prediction of the end of the world today. has truly sunk to its lowest depths.

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Filed under Journalism, watch: What We Really Need is an Arnold Photo Album provides us today with a photo album of 53 snaps of Arnold Schwarzenegger at

The album is right next to Trudy Rubin’s incredible work on Afghanistan.

It’s really great to see the increased quality the new owners of the newspapers and the website promised when they took they over!


Filed under Journalism, watch: Bring Trudy Rubin Home

One of my colleagues suggested that we start a “Bring Trudy Home” campaign.

I think that’s a great idea. She has been subjected to airline delays, dirty toilets and interesting fashion designs. Today, she quotes a lot of unnamed people in Kandahar who say the real problem is Pakistan, not Afghanistan. Kinda like my neighbor doesn’t mow his grass when he should. Maybe she should go to Pakistan to see what the folks there think about Afghanistan. I think she might get the opposite view, although I am not really a fan of either country when it comes to U.S. foreign policy.

The Inquirer, which is in bankruptcy, is spending a fair amount of money to have Trudy in Kandahar. I think she really should come home to save someone’s job.

It is difficult to find emails for the top brass at the Philadelphia newspapers. You can try Linkedin to talk with the publisher, or you can write or call the Philadelphia Inquirer CEO Gregory J. Osberg at:

400 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(800) 222-2765

Wendy Warren ( is the editor of at 215-854-2210

I would be more than happy if you emailed me at and I can hand deliver the plea: Let’s bring Trudy home!

Update: One of my intrepid former students advises the following:

I saw your “Bring Trudy Home” blog post and thought I would let you know: You can get anyone’s address at the Inquirer or Daily News by using the first five letters of his last name, followed by his first initial, joined by “” So the Larry Platt’s email address from the DN, for instance, would be I’m not sure about, but I hope that helps you out. Good luck on your mission!

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Filed under Journalism, Trudy Rubin’s Fashion Review from Afghanistan

Intrepid Philadelphia Inquirer foreign affairs expert Trudy Rubin starts to write a story about women in Afghanistan. But along the way she finds that fashion is important, too. She writes:

The headmistress of the school, Lailoma Popal, a handsome woman who wears a mustard and white shalwar khameez with matching headscarf, points out that among the schoolbooks that were burned by the rioters in the incident were Korans.

I want a white shalwar khameez with matching headscarf for my birthday!

Please bring Trudy home. This stuff is really embarrassing.

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Filed under Journalism, watch: Trudy Rubin States the Obvious

Following is what Trudy Rubin, the foreign affairs expert extraordinaire of the Philadelphia Inquirer, has written:

The sad truth is, in order for bin Laden’s death to resonate, a lot of actors in the Afghan conflict will have to choose reason over emotion. Pakistan will have to recognize that the biggest threat to its survival is not India, but its foolhardy support of radical Islamists. Karzai will have to recognize his regime’s corruption plays into the hands of the Taliban. And the Taliban will have to recognize it can’t again rule Kabul.

So is bin Laden’s death a “game changer”? No one knows yet, but I will be asking everyone I meet that question and writing what I find along the way.

Harper back: Please note that it should be: So is bin Laden’s death a “game changer?” If you are going to use a cliché, at least get the punctuation right!  Um, India and Pakistan both have nukes. The countries have been battling for a few years since 1947. I think the United States should pull out of Pakistan, but what I don’t understand is that Trudy is in Afghanistan and writing about the Indo-Pak conflict. Put emotions aside? The Mideast and the Near East are all about emotions and tribes and past conflicts that go back centuries. Wars start because of emotions,  not rationality. It really is amazing that her column is called Insights! Maybe it should be called A Lack of Understanding of History.

I am glad that Trudy is on the scene to write about the trite, the obvious and the inane. It’s good to see a newspaper in bankruptcy spend its money so unwisely to spend a lot of money for her obvious and totally irrelevant articles. Only time will tell, as Trudy will say at some point, between flight delays and dinner reservations.

Again, I will only post the screen shot and not the URL. I’m really glad that Trudy is there. It means I don’t have to look far for the absurdity and the lack of intelligence of the legacy media.

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Filed under Journalism, Philadelphia,, Terrorism