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Friday, November 11, 2005

The only good thing I can say is that she is a bad liar 

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Judy Miller's post-Times Rehab Tour hit high gear last night with her appearance on Larry King Live, where she puckishly portrayed herself as a heroic journalist who "was left with no choice but to go to jail," a "pretty persistent and dogged" reporter devoted to "covering issues and stories that I think are of interest and importance to the American people," and an unbending champion of the right of a reporter "to protect the whistleblower, the person who comes to us with information that the government or a powerful corporation doesn't want us to know." (Sounds just like Scooter Libby, doesn't it?)

Severance package in hand, Miller is intent on picking up right where she left off -- telling lies and trying to rewrite history.

Time for a reality-check.

During her "full hour" with King, in her "Farewell" letter to the editor, and in other items she has posted on her website, Miller has begun to make the case that far from being the foremost journalistic disseminator of faulty intel, she was actually on a personal crusade to expose the deceptions of the administration's bogus WMD campaign.

Here's how she described it in her letter to Maureen Dowd:
I never went to see Scooter Libby to hear character assassination against Joe Wilson. I was trying to get to the bottom of the intelligence failures that were very important to me because they had led to my publishing several incorrect stories based on that intelligence.

See, she wasn't a willing accomplice in the WMD deception -- she was a victim. A crusader and a victim. A crusader and a victim who was thwarted at every turn.

Just listen to what she told King:
Larry, what I'm sorrier about is the fact that I was not permitted to follow up on the stories, the original stories that I did. Because I was very motivated to try and find out what happened to the information... And I wasn't, unfortunately, given an opportunity to do that.

In making the case for her victimhood, Judy has offered as "proof" a commencement speech she delivered at Barnard College in 2003 where, according to Judy's "Farewell," she "asked whether the administration's prewar WMD intelligence was merely wrong, or was it exaggerated or even falsified. I believed then, and still do, that the answer to bad information is more reporting. I regret that I was not permitted to pursue answers to the questions I raised at Barnard."

Here are a few of those questions:
Will the weapons hunters find the weapons of mass destruction programs that were cited repeatedly as the major justification for the invasion? Could inspectors have uncovered the dual use equipment that was hidden – sometimes in plain sight – throughout the country without a war? Were the concerns about anthrax clouds over our cities exaggerations? Were they justified by what we knew then, as opposed to what we know now? Was the intelligence that produced them politically distorted? Were those who wanted to go to war deceiving themselves about Saddam's capabilities? Was the war really necessary, not just for Iraq, but to protect American national security?

Pretty convincing, right? Only problem is, she gave this speech in May 2003... a month before her first chat with Libby about Joe Wilson and "Valerie Flame." Oh, wait, that was just "to get to the bottom of the intelligence failures," right?

Then how come in September 2003, in a big story in American Journalism Review on the reporting of WMD claims, Miller was quoted as saying, "I'm going to go on writing in this area, and this will blow over because my reporting was accurate"?

And she told author James Moore: "You know what? I was proved fucking right. That's what happened. People who disagreed with me were saying, 'There she goes again'. But I was proved fucking right."

Does that sound like someone on a mission to "get to the bottom of intelligence failures" and report on how she had been hoodwinked by her sources -- and thwarted by her editors?

In claiming, "I have chosen to resign because over the last few months, I have become the news, something a New York Times reporter never wants to be" Miller reveals that, in her mind, she is just an innocent victim of circumstances -- one who bears no responsibility in her having "become the news." Same thing when she talks of having "become a lightning rod for public fury over the intelligence failures that helped lead our country to war" -- as if this were just a freak accident of nature, instead of the direct result of her overly-credulous reporting. Miller continues to not accept responsibility. For anything.

She's not the one who is at fault; it's her sources who are to blame. "Every time I got a piece of information anonymously," she explained to Larry King, "I would always try and vet it with someone who would go on the record, who was supposedly an outside expert... But, if they're wrong, you're going to be wrong. And boy, those stories were wrong."

There you have it: she was only wrong because they were wrong. Apparently, no one ever explained to her that the role of a reporter is to find out whether her sources were right before printing the things she was told.

It's quite a pathetic picture she paints: not only was she not responsible for her WMD reporting, she was actually kept from revealing the truth about the administration's WMD lies.

The facts tell a different story -- that Judy Miller has lost touch with reality.

Forget the niceties of the language she and the paper used to talk about her departure. No amount of spinning will change the truth: Miller left the Times not because she became the news but because she disgraced the paper and her profession.

Pathetic Judy Miller

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