Jail Bird

Posted by: on Jul 6, 2005 | No Comments

I’ve struggled with this over the past few weeks, weighing my loathsome distaste for Miller and her WMD-baiting and the whole journalistic protection thing, but I think Will Bunch nails it here:

That is why the ability of reporters to keep the identity of their true sources confidential is protected by shield laws in 31 states and the District of Columbia (although not in federal courts). Without such protections, the government official would not be able to report the wrongdoing of a president (remember “Deep Throat,” the ultimate confidential source?), nor would the corporate executive feel free to rat out a crooked CEO. The comfortable and corrupt could not be afflicted.
But the Times’ Judy Miller has not been afflicting the comfortable. She has been protecting them, advancing their objectives, and helping them to mislead a now very afflicted American public. In fact, thinking again about Watergate and Deep Throat is a good way to understand why Judy Miller should not be protected today. Because in Watergate, a reporter acting like Miller would not be meeting the FBI’s Mark Felt in an underground parking garage. She would be obsessively on the phone with H.R. Haldeman or John Dean, listening to bad gossip about Carl Bernstein or their plans to make Judge Sirica look bad.
In the run-up to the Iraq war, Miller — working with her “sources” inside the Bush administration and their friends in the Iraqi exile community like the discredited Ahmed Chalabi — wrote a number of stories that now seem meant to dupe the American people into to thinking Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were a threat.
Turns out, as you know, there weren’t any. When the Times looked back on the fiasco, it found that Miller wrote or co-wrote nine of the “problematic stories” on the topic.

And if Martha did it, why can’t Judy? Coming this fall, a new reality show: Judith “The Queen of All Iraq” Miller Felates LIVE with guest stars Ahmed Chalabi, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, and W himself for a full hour!