Bye now

So Judy Miller is out. Editorial page editor Gail Collins wouldn’t agree to an op-ed from her, only a letter. I hope the paper didn’t agree to limit what it can say.

Ms. Miller could not be reached for comment.

Lawyers for Ms. Miller and the paper negotiated a severance package, the details of which they would not disclose.

As transparent as an Iraqi sandstorm.

She put her letter up on her own site (see, I told you she’d end up blogging).

On July 6 I chose to go to jail to defend my right as a journalist to protect a confidential source, the same right that enables lawyers to grant confidentiality to their clients, clergy to their parishioners, and physicians and psychotherapists to their patients.

Except that we’re not doctors or priests, even if we try to act as if we are.

Though some colleagues disagreed with my decision to testify, for me to have stayed in jail after achieving my conditions would have seemed self-aggrandizing martyrdom or worse, a deliberate effort to obstruct the prosecutor’s inquiry into serious crimes.

To many, it seemed like just that anyway.

: We are still waiting to hear from the editorial page about l’affaire Miller.

: Huffington calls it “a great victory for the Times newsroom, the blogosphere, and journalism.”

  • http://gumbopie.blogspot.com Steve Teeter

    Lawyers are licensed and certified by their state courts, and are sworn to abide by ethical guidelines, binding them to serve their clients and protect their confidential matters. Doctors are similarly licensed and certified, and morally bound by the ancient and majestic standards of the Hippocratic Oath, which binds them to observe secrecy about anything they may learn in their practice to their patients. Priests and other clergy are, of course, bound by the highest possible standards, their duties to God and to the service to humanity that He calls them to, and which requires them to consider any private information they may be privy to as a sacred trust, never to be revealed.

    Journalists, as much as I respect their profession, are hired to find out whatever they can about whatever they are assigned to cover, and to relay the data accurately to their employers, who are in the business of passing it on to the rest of us.

    Ms. Miller’s grandstanding does not impress me.

  • Jeanne

    I’m dim: Can someone explain this all to me, one more time?

  • http://scoopstories.typepad.com/scoopstories/2005/10/happy_bday_to_m.html Scott Butki

    Jeff, here’s the link to my column that I emailed you about Judith, and mentioning you too

  • PSGInfinity

    Jeanne,

    This story’ had more twists than a Twizzler. Even better, this is only a subplot. We’re maybe halfway through the book. FWIW, the second half will profoundly influence how we interpret the first. Just my $0.02…

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    ” I told you she’d end up blogging”

    *Now* is it clear why she’s doing the keynote for Pajamas Media? :-)

  • http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink Jay Rosen

    I predict we’ll be hearing and reading quite a bit about judymiller.org (her site) in the coming months. One thing we know, though: she will never, ever enable comments.

  • Jeff

    Just visited Judy Miller’s website (blog?). Not impressed, right now its all about Judy.. Judy..Judy.

  • http://amomentwith.typepad.com/ Easycure

    Love her picture. She’s handwringing. How appropriate.

  • Angelos

    One less right-wing shill push the WH’s bullshit.

    34%!!

  • AlanC

    “…I chose to go to jail to defend my right as a journalist to protect a confidential source, the same right that enables lawyers …”

    One more plea in favor of licensing “journalism”. That’s what the MSM wants, can’t have those PJ clad amateurs gettin’ ideas, right?

  • http://www.elflife.com/cgi-bin/txt.cgi/ Carson Fire

    Jeanne, here’s the story as I understand it:

    Judith Miller, like every other reporter before her on that beat, reported what most intelligence agencies (domestic and abroad) and politicians (Democratic and Republican) believed to be the status of Saddam’s WMD program.

    In the course of her reporting, she committed a few ethical lapses which actually seem to be quite common among journalists. For instance, intentionally misleading readers as to the identity of her sources: other journalists, meanwhile, have no hesitation in dubbing unnamed partisans activists “bipartisan experts”.

    But she happened to be on the WMD story at the point that the left decided to try rewriting history (and, unfortunately, getting away with it at the moment), and pretend that the only man who ever believed Saddam had WMD was George W Bush (a huge lie), and that WMD was the *only* criteria offered for entering Iraq (another huge lie). The partisans accusing her of lying, in other words, are doing so in the midst of world-class whoppers themselves.

    She has, thus, become a convenient punching bag for the left. Despite the universal belief of Saddam’s WMD aspirations predating the Bush administration, the astounding story from the left is that Miller is a right-wing operative who made up WMD in order to justify the administration’s lies. The only way this could actually be true, though, is if Miller owned a time machine and was able to go back to the 90s and peddle the story to all the people who talked about it back then, make her way back to the future, and hope that nobody remembers her original covert time travel operation.

    I have no idea what Miller’s actual politics are. I have a strong suspicion, though, that she is anything but the right winger that many suppose. She’s probably at least as moderately liberal as any average NYT reporter, but the left have become like sharks… a little blood in the water and they go nuts.

    The confusion about her politics I gather from the story about her return to the newsroom from jail… she expected her liberal brethren to applaud her actions, the usual liberal defense of the press by going to jail rather than reveal sources, but was left baffled by their indifference and anger. That’s not the reaction of a reporter who is knowingly conservative in an extremely liberal office working as an administration hack. She’s probably the last person to know that she was being set up as a sacrifical lamb.

    As a “wingnut” I’m oddly unmoved by Miller’s departure, because she’s never ever been a factor in conservative thought or politics. Take her out of the leadup to Iraq, and absolutely nothing would be different. She’s just another NYT reporter. So what you’re witnessing is something like a shadow puppet show, a drama pushed forward by angry partisans, destroying a woman’s career and reputation along the way.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Once again. It’s writing online so it must be blogging?

    Nope.

  • http://civilities.net/ Jon Garfunkel

    Temple– excellent point. And I would have said so myself. Tom Friedman has a blog, too, according to today’s press release from the NYT, but the Times feels that it is more dignified to call it a “Web Journal.” (God bless ‘em).

    But the salient feature of blogging, which Seth points out above re: the Pajamas Media keynote, is that the first small step one takes on the path to blogging is sucking up to the blog media.

    Ever see Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Same idea.

    For the record, I came here via JOHO the blog (why I’m not kicking back watching Rita Cosby report from the Bunny Ranch in Nevada is an excellent question). And David at JOHO passes this kidney stone to us:

    Jeff Jarvis raises an interesting question in passing: Do the terms of the agreement prevent either side from disclosing the terms of the agreement or, worse, what actually happened? Either restriction would be bad news for a news organization. How about some meta-transparency from the Times on that question?

    Is there something more we need to know at this point? And did Jeff actually raise that question in passing?

  • http://scoopstories.typepad.com/scoopstories/2005/10/happy_bday_to_m.html Scott Butki

    I’d be curious to know how much she got paid as part of the severance package.

  • http://spap-oop.blogspot.com Tish Grier

    Can I throw up now or what? I am sick and bloody well tired of people like rich b*tch Huffington speaking for bloggers. She’s a peeved wannabe media mogul who couldn’t buy a legit media outlet so she co-oped a grassroots movement to suit her whims……not to mention the REAL transparency of Judy Miller–that she’s desperate, out of work, and now claiming to be one of the populace by setting up a website that’s NOT a blog!

    Love Jay’s note about comments too. you can spew all you want, but if you’re not interacting, you’re only spewing…and, after awhile, who will really care? Unless she starts putting up pictures of herself in lingerie and talking about how much she loves her Manolos, eventually people will lose interest.

    And if Miller can’t deal with comments…well, as an old sage once said: if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Don’t think standing 50 ft. from the stove will make a difference.

  • http://www.elflife.com/cgi-bin/txt.cgi/ Carson Fire

    Again, no love for Miller, but considering what a pariah she has been set up to be, I wouldn’t blame her for not allowing comments on her blog, either. I can imagine that every thread would be greeted with a deluge of hateful threats and challenges.

    Hers wouldn’t be the first comment-less blog on the right or the left, many well-loved by the right and left. Characterizing her as “spewing” comes back to the pariah thing.

    If you want “spewing”, buy Mary Mapes book, which also doesn’t allow comments. But people, like document experts Mapes lies about, can still respond anyway.