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Preview: Comments on: Getting Judith Miller

Comments on: Getting Judith Miller

Christopher Lydon in conversation on arts, ideas and politics

Last Build Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2017 14:40:00 +0000


By: loki

Wed, 26 Oct 2005 22:22:08 +0000

Let's face the truth. Judith Miller leaked the information to the Bush administration. That's why she will not fess up to the times. That';s why the Times will let her go. She is the multi-valient leaker.

By: JonGarfunkel

Sun, 23 Oct 2005 14:23:34 +0000

I would imagine posting a link would be safer, since the NYT could whip out a request to remove your post completely. You take your chances. The other week the Rosen and others were discussing what value Maureen Dowd brings. Well, when Rosen calls for Miller's head, it's not news. When Miller's colleague, Dowd, calls her a Woman of Mass Destruction, that's pretty remarkable.

By: Potter

Sat, 22 Oct 2005 23:27:45 +0000

This Maureen Dows column belongs in this thread... so forgive me NYTimesSelect. It was also 2nd most emailed today when for the most part the columnists behind the firewall have not made to to most emailed.... Potter October 22, 2005 Op-Ed Columnist Woman of Mass Destruction By MAUREEN DOWD I've always liked Judy Miller. I have often wondered what Waugh or Thackeray would have made of the Fourth Estate's Becky Sharp. The traits she has that drive many reporters at The Times crazy - her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic intensity and her peculiar mixture of hard work and hauteur - have never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types. Once when I was covering the first Bush White House, I was in The Times's seat in the crowded White House press room, listening to an administration official's background briefing. Judy had moved on from her tempestuous tenure as a Washington editor to be a reporter based in New York, but she showed up at this national security affairs briefing. At first she leaned against the wall near where I was sitting, but I noticed that she seemed agitated about something. Midway through the briefing, she came over and whispered to me, "I think I should be sitting in the Times seat." It was such an outrageous move, I could only laugh. I got up and stood in the back of the room, while Judy claimed what she felt was her rightful power perch. She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet "Miss Run Amok." Judy's stories about W.M.D. fit too perfectly with the White House's case for war. She was close to Ahmad Chalabi, the con man who was conning the neocons to knock out Saddam so he could get his hands on Iraq, and I worried that she was playing a leading role in the dangerous echo chamber that Senator Bob Graham, now retired, dubbed "incestuous amplification." Using Iraqi defectors and exiles, Mr. Chalabi planted bogus stories with Judy and other credulous journalists. Even last April, when I wrote a column critical of Mr. Chalabi, she fired off e-mail to me defending him. When Bill Keller became executive editor in the summer of 2003, he barred Judy from covering Iraq and W.M.D. issues. But he acknowledged in The Times's Sunday story about Judy's role in the Plame leak case that she had kept "drifting" back. Why did nobody stop this drift? Judy admitted in the story that she "got it totally wrong" about W.M.D. "If your sources are wrong," she said, "you are wrong." But investigative reporting is not stenography. The Times's story and Judy's own first-person account had the unfortunate effect of raising more questions. As Bill said yesterday in an e-mail note to the staff, Judy seemed to have "misled" the Washington bureau chief, Phil Taubman, about the extent of her involvement in the Valerie Plame leak case. She casually revealed that she had agreed to identify her source, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, as a "former Hill staffer" because he had once worked on Capitol Hill. The implication was that this bit of deception was a common practice for reporters. It isn't. She said that she had wanted to write about the Wilson-Plame matter, but that her editor would not allow it. But Managing Editor Jill Abramson, then the Washington bureau chief, denied this, saying that Judy had never broached the subject with her. It also doesn't seem credible that Judy wouldn't remember a Marvel comics name like "Valerie Flame." Nor does it seem credible that she doesn't know how the name got into her notebook and that, as she wrote, she "did not believe the name came from Mr. Libby." An Associated Press story yesterday reported that Judy ha[...]

By: gregbillock

Sat, 22 Oct 2005 04:36:12 +0000

Just listened to this show. I think this whole episode may mark a sea change in newspaper readers' relationship with newspapers. In the culture struggle, are newspaper readers going to stomach the flagship paper choosing to employ a "reporter" who won't report what she knows about a very important story--the story of how the Bush administration argued the case for the war in Iraq? This is THE issue of the Bush presidency. The bond a newspaper has with its readers is that it takes their money and uses it to employ reporters who will tell us the news. If instead it is giving institutional cover to administration flacks who use its prestige as a propaganda bully pulpit, and worse, will not report on itself when it KNOWS the story of why it did what it did in this case, it has broken the contract with newspaper consumers. Perhaps Cable TV news consumers will welcome the NYT with open arms. The rest of us have to hope blog news grows up fast.

By: JonGarfunkel

Wed, 19 Oct 2005 00:29:29 +0000

With a few pressive guests aired back by popular supply, I'll construct a daft poet to drum out a tardy reply: to Monday's show I offer somepathy for the beating of dead horses who would have galloped to life with the Knight-Ridder sources.

By: JeffSmith

Tue, 18 Oct 2005 06:32:04 +0000

So here’s the take of a Democrat long active in the party at the local, state and national level. It’s purely speculative. But I offer it as a plausible course of events that may be proved to be true or more likely faulty, but one that can be tested and I suspect will worked out to be not far from the mark. Over the past five years active Democrats have been enraged that the media and press almost never went beyond repeating the Republican line. That’s not to say that we don’t know that the press prints critiques of the administration only insofar as Democrats – elected Democrats – did the criticizing. Mainly the press sees itself as only reporting what’s happening and waits for the public to react. But it never tries to hold the administration to account. But now the administration has moved out of the realm of public policy – the purview of politicians like me – and into that of the Press. I expect the press to fight back as vigorously as we have tried only with a vastly larger megaphone. Democrats will benefit only if we have something better to offer. I think we do, but I might not be reliable on this. Now for Judy Miller. Why did she have a secret clearance? With the workup to the War the administration needed a voice in the press and got Judy for whatever reasons – maybe the luck of the draw, maybe they had a previous history. One of her principal roles was to serve as the conduit to the American public from Ahmad Chalabi. In order to give her access to him, which was the Administration’s pressing need in their effort to make our invasion of Iraq legitimate, she had to have clearance, which would also prevent her from reporting what they wanted to be kept secret. If this is so, it shows a cynical form or gagging the press. So Judy used Ahmad as her “single source� in her effort to convince us that the coming war was justified. One might wonder if she had not been embedded in the NYT to report to the administration on the workings within the Newspaper of Record. I guess that here I’m suggesting that Judith Miller might just be another Armstrong Williams only playing for higher stakes. Miller’s job was reporting to the public the administration position on the war. She also served as a conduit from Chalabi to the administration, or so I expect. If this is correct then several things are also likely. Foremost, she was involved in the planning of the response to the rising concerns about going to war. She is reported to have thrown a fit trying to stop the publication of Ambassador Wilson’s op-ed. Why would she do that unless she had knowledge of how it would affect the administration’s justification for the attack? If this is true it would explain the delicate dance between Miller and Libby. She was concerned about being grilled by the grand jury over something that she could not talk about – “national secrets� that she could not divulge to such an inquiry. Moreover, it seems very likely that she had conversations with Cheney about all of this, given her closeness to the whole group. Could this have been on Judy’s mind when she chose jail over testimony?

By: LeeJudt

Tue, 18 Oct 2005 03:33:29 +0000

Whatever the disposition of the Judith Miller it doesn't have much to do with whether the war in Iraq was worth fighting. The linking of these two issues cheapened the program tonight, IMHO.

By: Potter

Tue, 18 Oct 2005 02:56:45 +0000

So how did we all get hijacked into this war? Let's remember how Bush exploited 9/11 and fearmongered the country into this war as he continues to try do to this day to less and less effect. Before that fateful day, Bush had nothing meaningful to focus his presidency on. And what is the matter with us? Why aren't we impeaching this president? Why did we ever elect him? Or did we? Why was it close? Why did we do it again? Or did we?

By: bloggeddown

Mon, 17 Oct 2005 23:43:50 +0000

Kevin Drum is way off base, as usual. Colin Powell stood up at the UN and lied to the world. We were told lies, clear lies. The culture of journalism should be the truth - not that there are 2 sides to each issue.

By: John

Mon, 17 Oct 2005 23:39:27 +0000

Isn't this Jason Blair all over again? Editors intimidated of reporters? And why did John Bolton visit her in jail--does that strike anyone as strange?

By: bloggeddown

Mon, 17 Oct 2005 23:23:28 +0000

What is the difference between a journalist, a reporter and an administration shill? When do we, the American public ask how to tell the difference between op-ed as news, news as theatre, and facts as travesty? The NYT should be ashamed that they have allowed the distinctions to be blurred, so much so that we cannot tell where Miller's lies, distortions and fantasies start and end. This issue what information to trust is perhaps the most important question, in all media - and even more so when it involves such an important institution as the NYT. It is indeed the weakening power of fact, as Jay Rosen is saying right now. It is the breakdown of the firewalls between: religion and the State journalism and the State science and the State

By: JonGarfunkel

Mon, 17 Oct 2005 22:39:41 +0000

You know, grand jury testimony is supposed to be secret. Yes, those who testify are free to sing, often to cover their own fanny against idle speculation. But why are the armchair critics (sorry, savior-bloggers) desparate to learn what was in Judy Miller's notes? Can they let the investigation finish before setting up the stocks in the town (times) square? Granted, we only have an investigation because the executive statmeent "any leakers will be fired" was tossed into the recycle bin, alongside the pre-scooterized CIA analysis. Meanwhile, while the press-commentariat was wrapping their heads around this, Bob Cox was trying square up the apparently conflicting accounts among the major news services about the turnout for the Iraqi elections. Oh, some other time. There's always another election. One question for Jay: In May he hailed the Siegel Committee report (see Preserving Our Readers' Trust). Two weeks ago on this show, he frowned because the Times didn't take the bold move that the Washington Post did-- "hiring someone from Kansas." So, what's the matter with... never mind. In the ensuing five months, can we look into whether the committee's recommendations are on track for the Times? Or does the Thriller of the Miller continue to generate the filler? Not to worry, Miller Time will wrap up in eleven days. I'm betting that an indictment on obstruction charges for a "former Hill staffer" will scoot this story off the front page, and into a forgotten desk drawer.

By: allison

Mon, 17 Oct 2005 21:20:30 +0000

Hey Brendan, This topic annoys me. I don't really care about Judith Miller. Except as a signpost of why we can't trust corporate media. Real journalism is left at the door when the news becomes about money for stockholders. I won't even turn on the TV news anymore. They smile as they speak of someones tragedy. Its all entertainment. Judith Miller has been a dupe of one form or another. It seems that her personal ambition and personal perceptions far outweighed any journalistic sensibility that she may have had at one time. The Bush administration used her and the NY Times let them get away with it. Now we've invaded a country (calling its own people the insurgents) and we've outed an undercover CIA agent. I wouldn't give her the time of day. All this attention is simply fodder for a book so that she can get rich after she can't practice journalism any more. And why is she still on the NY TImes payroll? Who benefits from that? I used to trust the NY Times. That's gone now. Meanwhile, I can't help but wonder why we don't care who Robert Novak's other source was. And whether he will get indicted for a crime. Didn't he and his newspaper commit a crime the moment they printed Valerie Plame's name? And has there been a conspiracy to block the investigation into the outing? And is that really to protect the consipiracy to manufacture the evidence and facts to support invading a country? I'm much more interested in talking about whether lying to the public in order to go to war is an impeachable offense. We thought we could impeach a man for a private act that impacted no one but those involved but we can't imagine impeaching this man who has caused the deaths of so many in order to generate profit for his constituents. If we, as a country, had the will to pursue the truth, we'd be chasing that story. Not memorializing a dangerously feckless journalist. Unless, of course, we think she's the first breadcumb on the trail....