Friday, October 21, 2005

The Judy Miller Show

Jesus. The ambition in Judith Miller's little finger would exhaust even Gilda Radner's famed talk show host who conducted her program after school in her bedroom with a wooden spoon and her doll while bouncing up and down and around her bed. Little Judy Miller -- still dressed in her Brownie outfit -- was DYING to be on TV interviewing guests and being famous.

Alex Jones of the Shorenstein Center at Harvard told Al Franken in an interview yesterday that Judith Miller wasn't "in the tank" with the Republicans (as Al likes to say) but she was vulnerable to poor reporting because of her intense ambition to be on the front page. Between Alex and Gilda, we get a pretty complete picture of what too much desire and ego can do. So, how does Judith explain her hubris to all those dead soldiers' families?

The New York Times
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 had coughed up the details of an earlier meeting with Mr. Libby only after prosecutors confronted her with a visitor log showing that she had met with him on June 23, 2003. This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project.

Judy refused to answer a lot of questions put to her by Times reporters, or show the notes that she shared with the grand jury. I admire Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Keller for aggressively backing reporters in the cross hairs of a prosecutor. But before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.

Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country." If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.

34 Comments:

At 6:51 AM, Blogger Fixer said...

Out-effing-standing!

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger Barry said...

So, this raises the question as well about why Dowd and other Times people didn't raise a fuss about Judy earlier. Granted it was the editors who bear the most responsibility, but staffers do too.

Everyone is responsible, but some people are more responsible than others.

 
At 9:14 AM, Anonymous rose said...

lub that modo, thanks for your kindness.

 
At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judy is just a (doubtless well paid) tool of the Cheney administration.

All of this apology-making is unseemly, undignified and no doubt, undeserved.

 
At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country."

So, future stories will be autobiographical in nature...

 
At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the MoDo. Just what was her 'arrangement' with Skooter? Just where and when WAS the 'investigate' part of her responsibility discarded? If she's allowed to return to the NYT, I'll be surprised.

 
At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Helena Montana said...

If Judy Miller returns to the newsooom, I won't be surprised because it seems that The New York Times is incapable of learning. Remember Jayson Blair? He also ran amok with no supervision.

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger An Other Greek said...

yeah, yeah, yeah...

I like Ms. Dowd a lot, but in this case, she can do a lot better...

I suggest she use her full journalistic abilities/weapons when it comes to Ms. Miller.

The future of the NYTimes, and Ms. Dowd by association, is at stake.

Disclosure - Accountability.

-------------------------------------------------

 
At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Poster Adult said...

Expect a large chunk of her payoff to be in the form of the book deal from a neocon imprint.

 
At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Jim from Marblehead said...

I think Maureen Dowd is a great Reporter and calls it the way it is.
Unfortunately, The once great lefty "New York Times", seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, they must push to the right in order to play in the corporate world... Go along to get along!
In turn, they are driving away their customer base, who are flocking to blogs and Buzzflash who are willing to ask the tough questions and take a stand on liberal and progressive issues.

 
At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aside from a couple of straight shooting editorialists, this rag has been a loud fart for the Bush war machine from the git go; We definitly need legislation, after we get this Country back to oversee the media.

 
At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why in the hell would Maureen give up the Times' seat to the likes of Judy Miller? Though it was 'just' a chair, it's symbolic of how far the Times has fallen to allow Miller to circumvent the likes of Dowd.

 
At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent Maureen!

I think Judy is really not a "journalist" at all. Her role in this conspiracy was not as a victim but as a "good soldier" for the neocon administration.

Can someone please tell me why Judith Miller is listed as a member of the Aspen Institute? Why is a journalist part of such an organization with such big players as Rove, Armitage, Albright, Gore, Feinstein, Rice?

Judith is also a member of Aspen's "American Military Strategy" group which met one year before 9/11. She participated in the Aspen Institute delegation to Pakistan 3 months after 9/11 and did not go as a journalist.

It does not appear to me that any of the Aspen Institute members appear to be journalists other than Judith Miller.

Is she a part of the PNAC and part of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG)? Is she a CIA plant or some kind of operative placed in the NYT?

The Aspen Institute held a conference back in August which was sponsored by a NY investment firm, Forstmann, Little & Co. FL&Co counts as their former advisory members: Rumself, Powell, Schultz, and Kissinger. John Bolton's recently appointed Deputy Permanent Representative of the US to the UN is none other than the director of the Aspen Institute Berlin, Jeffrey Gedmin. Novak was at this conference in which he slammed the Bush administration (Judy was in jail so she couldn't attend).

So keep in mind, the word ASPEN keeps popping up in relation to the neocons and Judith Miller.

What is fascinating is the letter Scooter Libby wrote to Judith Miller while she was in jail:

"You went to jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover - Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work - and life. Until then, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers."

The first part of the letter wasn't anything like this ending. This is code. I'm not the only one that thinks so...its been all over the news and internet. No one quite knows for sure, but looking at all the little tidbits above, its all just too coincidental (trust me, I am no conspiracy person and generally think conspiracy people are a little wacko).

"It is fall now." fall as in their conspiracy is unraveling or the other neocons like Novak are turning against the Bush administration (as he noted in his speech at the Aspen Institute conference in August).

Why will she "have stories to cover?" How does Libby know there will be "biological threats?" Libby (Cheney's chief of staff) predicting biological threats is a bit ominous. Some are speculating that it is the avian flu. I'm not sure I put any stock in that.

Libby mentions "Iranian nuclear program" - I think its a reference to their plans to engage Iran in some way; the next neo-con foreign policy initiative such as a preemptive war with Iran - something they've obviously been methodically planning/manipulating to implement just as they did the Iraqi war.

Out "West" - as in the US vs. the Middle East or just a reference to Colorado where the Aspen Institute is located?; not sure. Does she actually vacation in colorado or is this where she attends the Aspen Institute conferences? Be interesting to know if she does. Otherwise "vacation" takes on a completely different meaning

"Aspens" - the mention of it here is just too damn coincidental. Refering to the Aspen Institute perhaps.

"Turn/turning" - "undergo a transformation or a change of position or action" - spy jargon- covert agent switching to the opposite side while still appearing to work for the agency of origin. Libby uses the words turn/turning twice to make a point

Clusters - who talks like this? "Clusters... Roots connect them." Its too weird. The clusters are the neocons or the aspens are the neocons of the Aspen Institute. They are all connected - roots interwoven

"Come back to work" - The writer would only say "come back to work" if the person they were writing to was employed by that person (Libby). Judith Miller supposedly works for the NYTimes, not the White House, even though she was certainly a mouthpiece for them. Otherwise, if you were a concerned "friend" wouldn't you write/say something like "We'll be glad to have you back at work, we miss you" or "you should go back to work" or "you need to get back to work" ?

"and life" - that's a threat. Telling her she needs to do as she's instructed or she will not live.

Judy was never "protecting her sources" in a journalistic sense. Judy was protecting herself: her identity, her neocon friends and those in the Bush administration (neocon friends and those in the Bush administration are really one in the same, aren't they?).

I'd really like to know who the true Judith Miller is. Now THAT would be one hell of a fascinating investigative story.

Maureen, are you game?

 
At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Jack Ballinger said...

Thanks much for posting that.
And thanks much to Dowd for being one of 2 Times reporters who had the balls to show Saint Judy for the traitorous liar that she is. (Frank Rich also has clangers!)

 
At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Greenback said...

Of course, Maureen Dowd is a good writer, but trying to save the NY Times from blowing their cover as a shill for the Industrial Military complex is impossible. Forget examining the scandolous outing of Valerie Plame as a WHIG stooge working at the NY Times, just look at the board members of the the NY Times. John Akers, Henry B. Schacht, Brenda C. Barnes, and Ellen R. Marram, along with the Sulzberger children, all sit in command of the NY Times. Twenty minutes of Google will show you these corporate board members are also sitting on the boards of some of the biggest companies in the world, including weapons manufacturers like GE, Northrop Grumen and plenty of others. The NY Times is the corporate elite, war profiteer's best propaganda rag. They have some fantastic writers with moments of truth, but the overall message from the NY Times is to enable the agenda of the powerful with total disregard of most people in the nation. The NY Times, even if you could remove Judith Miller's contributions, still enabled the illegal war in Iraq, period.

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger XXXOOOXXX said...

The Sports Section is OK. Maybe.

And Greenback is correct: Qui Bono: all the companies represented in the interlocking-directorates of the NYT's Directors.

The entire pitch was, and still is, an inside deal.

 
At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad we cant read editorials on the NYT website becuase of that times select bulls*it

 
At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And another thing, the Times is becoming like every other institution in America, part of it's lying and cheating culture.

Next time you watch the news, notice the casual disinterest of the newcaster, they dont care about the line they are towing, they care about their careers.

Miller went to jail to look like a victim and many will believe it. She's a fake just like the J Blair pimp was and there are many more like her.

Another thing, why dont you just scrap white house press briefings. Why bother being fed these lies every day? Oh, got to fill the friggin pages with SOMETHING. Oh, while we are at it, NEWS LOVES WAR because it makes them money.

 
At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Ted Wallace said...

The Times played a key role in our march to the tragic war in Iraq. Judith Miller and Tom Friedman shamelessly led the parade. Now we see the unraveling--the plotting and scheming at the White House, the lap dog press and the ever compliant, war ready Congress. We have created our own terror--the haunting visions of the military and civilian casualties and the abused prisoners of this war.

 
At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like Judy:

(1) Needs to have the shit knocked out of her
(2) Needs to have the shit knocked out of her
(3) Needs to have the shit knocked out of her
(4) Needs to be fired
(5) Needs to have the shit knocked out of her

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger Clemsy said...

Miller is a Cheney office plant (well watered), needs to be fired and never see the inside of a newsroom again.

Keller needs to resign.

The NY Times needs to reinvent itself. It can start by jettisoning that Times Select bullshit, so MoDo is just as accessible as columnists in the Wash. Times and WSJ.

Cripes. What a bunch of morons.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger Fuzzflash said...

Little Judy could become the Charter President for the Donnie Brasco School of Fugazie Journalism. A course in Rube Finessing should attract a great deal of attention. Karl&Scooter could boost enrollments with "Special Guest Appearances" on cable from the Big House.

 
At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Told you so...she's an incomptent twit, with ambition to match--her only question should be, in her future career, "Would you like fries with that order..."

 
At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judith Miller told the great MoDo that she deserved to sit on the Times seat and not MoDo!!!!

Well, I"ll tell you what...initially I was a bit sympathetic towards JM, but no more. JM should take a course in WMD 101- thats not Weapons of Mass Destruction- but Women in journalism who can learn a lot from Maureen Dowd.

 
At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judy Miller is also a CIA agent. The Times knows it, but they can't report it. That would be against the law.

 
At 2:22 AM, Blogger Nash said...

Miller is the symptom, not the problem. NYT wants to be the "paper of record" but to do this they must suck up to the powerful in DC, and transmit their lies, faithfully.

Are they going to fire Friedman, also? I doubt it.

If Miller is fired, NYT will engage in a little PR, then go right back to the behavior that caused the paper to become a cheerleader for the "war product."

 
At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project."

the fact that Miller received nothing more in release from her source than she aleady had long before her grandstanding pretty much points to her jail time (and the run-up to it) as a completely manipulated adventure. Then again, for the conspirists, Miller could be so tied into the cheney-rove mafia that she was a willing martyr (a suicide bomber of her reporting career), setting up the NYTimes to take down the paper.

 
At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like Judy Miller ought to be working for Fox News. She'd fit right in with the propoganda and prevarication sort of reporting!!!!!!

 
At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judith Miller is the tip of the iceberg, or, more appropriately, the Aspen root which has emerged from the dirt.

We have watched and listened to the other trees in the cluster (MSM)as they presented their coloring - distortion - of the truth.

It is time for some clearcutting of certain clusters!

 
At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully the chain will become clear soon:
Miller-Libby-WHIG-PNAC-AIPAC-Mossad-Likud...

 
At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newspapers unfortunately are not immune to "office politics" -- there is always the golden one in the newsroom who isn't accountable, whether because he/she is related to the publisher, or sleeping with the boss, or the offspring of a powerful patron/detractor, or the Ivy-leaguer the bosses cultivate for "status". Maureen Dowd may indeed have blown the whistle on Judy, but one quickly learns that just like in corporate America, when you blow more than once you become the problem instead of the part of the solution.

 
At 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think MoDo was only allowed/encouraged to write this to sign up subscribers to the Times Select. The Times Select is still in its experimental phases and the powers that be want it to be successful. As long as they're turning on their former star reporter, they might as well up the subscriber numbers.

 
At 12:54 PM, Blogger Christopher King said...

Of course you are an Aries! 14.4.65 here.

This is a rough case because you want so badly to engage in “spot-zoning” of sorts, or law-for-a-particular-case to divest Ms. Miller of the First Amendment Super-Man Cape, because something about her just doesn’t smell right, but let that be no excuse to set aside the paradigm: Reporters (and the derivative public) deserve the Right of Absolute Privilege except involving (1) National Security or (2) the presence of demonstrated Bad Faith on the part of the reporter that threatens the integrity of the paper itself. Whether or not we have the latter in this case remains to be seen.

http://christopher-king.blogspot.com/2005/10/back-to-jailed-reporter-judith-miller.html

-c

 
At 11:57 PM, Blogger rduht said...

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