Vantage point

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On the Sonal Shah Controversy

Over the last couple of days, a weird news story has erupted. Sonal Shah, part of the Obama transition has been at the receiving end of a smear campaign suggesting that she has ties to hindu fundamentalists. Those smears have been amply rebutted here, here, here and here.

What I found interesting was the piece by Vijay Prashad that started this whole controversy. The whole piece is very nudge-nudge-wink-wink in nature, with insinuations galore. And the best sample of the way the article is, is this -

Shah, a product of the University of Chicago, shined her corporate shoes at Anderson(sic) Consulting (who was Enron’s accountant)....

Notice the Enron tidbit casually thrown in? As if the writer didn't want to leave any guilt-by-association based uncovered. Yes, she worked at Anderson Andersen Consulting.... and they were the accountants for... gassssssp..... Enron Vader! Booooooo!

But wait, it gets better! Enron's accountants were Arthur Anderson Andersen. Not Anderson Andersen Consulting (now known as Accenture). The two companies have been separate since the late 80s or so. And in fact, they completely broke off all ties a couple of years before the Enron scandal broke. So either Mr. Prashad is not aware that the two firms are different, which makes it an even shabbier piece of writing than first assumed to be. Or, he is aware of it, knows Anderson Andersen Consulting had nothing to do with the Enron scandal, and threw it in for good measure anyway to pile up the smear plate as high as he could.