Finally, an NY Times columnist tackles the Judith Miller Story. Unsurprisingly, it was Maureen Dowd. I always find Dowd a little light for my tastes, but she does make some solid points about Miller.
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.
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.”
Dead on. It’s amazing to me that some are still trying to spin Miller’s involvement as something other than what it was: a naked attempt of a partisan journalist to help an Administration make a case for war. This has nothing to do with the need for a federal shield law for journalists; we cannot permit someone to use the mantle of journalism to spread lies on behalf of a government hell-bent on war.
Journalists challenge those in power, those with authority. Propagandists repeat their lies.