Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Three Cups of Tea" Author Being Questioned

This week, a best selling author is being questioned about the authenticity of his book and the stories within. Greg Mortenson is the author of “Three Cups of Tea” that became a best selling book about raising awareness and funds to build schools for girls in Pakistan.

Supposedly, Mortenson tried to climb the highest peak in Pakistan, K2, had to be rescued by local villagers. Seeing a need for schools, he came back to the states and wrote his book. On Sunday, a gentleman named Jon Krakauer said the story isn’t true. Krakauer was a donor to Mortenson’s charitable organization, Central Asia Institute, but decided to withdraw his support after he became concerned that the money wasn’t being used properly.

Along with this allegation, and a lot of others, came one from Central Asia Institute themselves. Although they have seen an increase in their funds since the book came out, probably from people inspired by the book, they said that there is a lot of money not actually going to the building of schools in Afghanistan. President of the American Institute of Philanthropy, Daniel Borachoff, says that there was only one audited financial statement in 14 years that showed “a lack of transparency and "disappointing" intermingling of Mortenson's personal interests with those of his charity”.

CBS “60 minutes” has found a lot of evidence that backs up Krakauer’s claim that the story is false. Mortenson came out with a statement saying that the interview, on “60 minutes” with Krakauer, saying he stands by his stories and defended his charity group. Although, I found it interesting he declined CBS’ request to do an interview with him and CNN was unable to contact him. He says he denied them access to an interview because the result would come out “unfair and imbalanced.”

In a PR aspect, Mortenson has done some of the right things. He has written a statement against the claims before they even were aired and he makes sure he hits all the claims made. The only thing he isn’t doing right is contacting CNN back. He supposedly has medical issues keeping him from an interview, which is understandable, but I feel like, if he is going to respond to theses claims, than he should respond to everyone to show he is confident in his story.

I’m interested to see what happens with this allegation. I have personally read the book and absolutely loved it. I’m curious to find out if it’s still a real story or not.

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