Entry for October 21, 2005

(Illustration from The Guardian) 

Judith Miller more notorious than noted

Finally, folks are raising the point that Miller  was complicit in spreading the White House lies while acting as if she were investigating a story and then a noble journalist willing to go to jail to protect her sources.
 

On October 15, Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor and Publisher  called for Miller to be fired  for

crimes against journalism, and her own newspaper. And Bill Keller, executive editor, who let her get away with it, owes readers, at the minimum, an apology instead of merely hailing his paper’s long-delayed analysis and saying that readers can make of it what they will.


 Former Times Reporter Alex S Jones appeared formerly of the Times and currently director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy  appeared on News Hour with Jim Lehrer on October 17 and on Al Franken’s show on October 20.   October 18, Richard Ven-Veniste appeared on the Charlie Rose show, along with Miller’s Attorney, Robert Bennett.   

 

The  Washington Post  story on Judy Miller notes the rift with her editors at the New York Times.  Her attorney, Robert Bennett,  is complaining that editors told Miller she could not continue at the paper unless she wrote a first-person account.  
 
Bennett denies Miller’s responsibility to the Times readers now that she is not in legal jeopardy,  He contends that Scooter Libby’s waiver and special prosecutor Fitzgerald’s agreenebt  appy only to Miller’s grand jury testimony.
 

Last week’s Times story seemed muddled as a result of Miller not providing her notes to reporters, but Bennett says he insisted that she not do so.

They were documents which had been subpoenaed by the grand jury, and I didn’t think it was appropriate to share them. But even if it wasn’t illegal, there was a pending criminal investigation.

 Meanwhile Executive Editor Bill Keller has accused Miller of  misleading the newspaper about her dealings with Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby.

Until Fitzgerald came after her, I didn’t know that Judy had been one of the reporters on the receiving end of the . . . whisper campaign” against Joe Wilson, the husband of CIA operative Valerie Plame. “I should have wondered why I was learning this from the special counsel, a year after the fact.
 
Citing a 2003 conversation the Washington bureau chief had with Miller,  Keller continues:
 
Judy seems to have misled Phil Taubman about the extent of her involvement.

Further, Keller added,

if I had known the details of Judy’s entanglement with Libby, I’d have been more careful in how the paper articulated its defense and perhaps more willing than I had been to support efforts aimed at exploring compromises.

Keller endorsed a previous email by White House Correspondent Richard Stevenson which said the paper should,

“go to the mat [ for its reporters]  only to the degree that the reporter has lived up to his or her end of the bargain, specifically to have conducted him or herself in a way consistent with our legal, ethical and journalistic standards, to have been open and candid with the paper about sources, mistakes, conflicts and the like.

 

An October 18 story in Editor and Publisher quotes Times reporter 

commenting that the repercussions of this story may surpass those of the Jason Blair story fabrications:   

the implications of it are worse, for the press and the paper, that we are capable of suppressing reporting of an important story.

Jay Rosen,  an assistant professor on the NYU journalism faculty,  has many interesting entries on his blog. 

 
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