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Monday, October 17, 2005

Judy, Judy, Judy

Usually I’m quicker study than this but I have to admit, it took me way too long to get this whole Judy Miller/New York Times/Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson/Karl Rove/Scooter Libby thing. I attribute it to the fact that I’ve been out of the journalism game for too long, particularly as it is practiced by the so-called media elite in D.C. and the City.

At its core, the story is about the branding and marketing of the war in Iraq and the Administration’s dogged determination to crush any debate or dissent. The brilliant Frank Rich wrote about that in yesterday’s Times where he lays out the scary but true life story of the White House Iraq Group or WHIG that was fast at work selling the war in Iraq to the American people long before W claimed he had made up his mind. Here’s the link: http://select.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/opinion/
16rich.html?n=Top%2fOpinion%2fEditorials%20
and%20Op%2dEd%2fOp%2dEd%2fColumnists%2fFrank%20Rich

But while understanding the underlying story is of graver concern for the welfare of our nation, I think we should not lose sight of the train wreck that is now Judy Miller. After reading the Times story about the Miller debacle and Judy’s own unintentionally funny mea culpa (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16leak.html and http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16miller.html) I can now fully understand the Times’ angst. As some Times editors readily acknowledged, Judy Miller was not the ideal candidate for this kind of principle. Miller admits now that she got the whole WMD story wrong, blaming, typically, not herself but her sources. It was pretty clear, though, to everyone else in that newsroom and outside that Miller’s stories on WMD were not credible and that she had become a stooge, as it turns out, for the WHIG.

Sensing her career spiraling out of control, Miss Run Amok used the on-going special prosecutor investigation and her subsequent subpoena to determine the source of the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity as the perfect opportunity to resurrect her flagging career on the back of the First Amendment. The problem, of course, was that this forced the hand of the Times, who now must realize how badly they were handled by Miller. In the first place, according to Miller’s own account, she’s not even sure if Libby ever revealed Plame’s identity to her. But that’s almost beside the point as it’s pretty clear that Libby had given a voluntary waiver to Miller about a year before she went to jail to allegedly protect that source. Miller’s claimed doubts about that waiver just don’t ring true, know matter how she spins the notion that Libby was truly telling her not to testify. Miller sounds like someone desperate to find a diversion. Frankly, Mary Richards heading to prison to protect her source on the old Mary Tyler Moore show was more credible.

The irony here, of course, is that had Miller just testified when first subpoenaed, her career would like have been saved. I think most folks would have ultimately given her a pass on the wrong WMD stories. Believe it or not, people still use yesterday’s newspaper to protect the hallway from dog droppings. But by falsely raising herself as the standard bearer for journalism, Miller has brought nothing but shame to the Times and herself. For that she doesn’t deserve any more plaudits. She deserves to be fired.

2 Comments:

  • At 8:58 AM, Blogger Julia Elvarado said…

    Oh King George, what a tangled web you weave, when you practice to deceive the American people
    This blog is dedicated to those who choose freedom over oppression ... The White House censors the news we get.
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