Being There: Kristof's Game Changing View from Egypt's Streets

02/14/2011 05:36 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Proof there's hope. Nick Kristof walked the streets of Cairo for days, and writes of the needed paradigm shift in the attitudes of Americans regarding the Middle East.

He says Al Jazeera trumped the U.S. news media in sparking democracy there:

Too often, Americans scorn Al Jazeera (and its English service is on few cable systems), but it played a greater role in promoting democracy in the Arab world than anything the United States did.

and that fear of Islamic fundamentalism should not drive U.S. foreign policy:

Stop treating Islamic fundamentalism as a bogyman and allowing it to drive American foreign policy. American paranoia about Islamism has done as much damage as Muslim fundamentalism itself . . . We tie ourselves in knots when we act as if democracy is good for the United States and Israel but not for the Arab world. For far too long, we've treated the Arab world as just an oil field.

Once again, as with his reports from Dafur, Kristof shows that good reporting comes from "being there."