How deep is the animosity toward Judith Miller at the New York Times these days? So deep as to be an irreparable danger.
Maureen Dowd (Op-ed columnist and a bit of a diva herself) has called the other diva of the Times, intrepid reporter and government mouthpiece, Miller, out onto the carpet, and frankly, it ain't pretty.
Miller may have been a reporter of merit at one time, but like many people who have enjoyed excellent and powerful careers, it can all go to their heads. Miller, full of herself, has painted her reputation into a corner that will be hard to come back from. (Though I'm sure a nice job at ultra-conservative and crazed World Net Daily awaits her.) And the Times, one of America's papers of record, has no other choice but to can her ass to save its own ass from going down in a raging and bloody pit of flames.
Now, Dowd is a bit of a pill herself. She dogged Bill Clinton to no end (deserved and otherwise), and though her wry humor is amazing, I, for one, would like to choke her with it occasionally (metaphorically speaking, of course). There's only so many cute turns of phrases that anyone can summon or stomach, but whatever you can say about Dowd, she's an editorial columnist, not a reporter. And that's the biggest difference between them: Miller reportedly brings forth the actual facts of a story, in order to further the public's knowledge about issues while Dowd takes the news that's out there and adds her opinion to the mix.
So when Dowd goes off and mixes the news, personal opinion, and a full-on slam regarding Miller, the Times better stand up and take notice. (Dowd's Op-ed, "Woman of Mass Destruction" which currently rests behind the opinion wall that Times Select has built, can be read at Truthout.org.)
And so should we all.
According to Dowd, Ms. Run Amok (a nickname Miller acknowledges), did the following in regards to helping report us into the current Iraq War:
"Incestuous amplication." Great name for a rock band, eh?
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.
On April 30, 2005, Dowd wrote an opinion piece ("Swindler on a Gusher") regarding Mr. Ahmad Chalabi that pointed out something everyone who cares to know, knows: that Chalabi cannot step foot in the country of Jordan because he's under indictment for embezzling money from the nation's bank, and for alledged close ties to Iran. So close, in fact, as to be labeled a spy for the Iranians and leaking information regarding America to Iran. Oh, and for providing patented lies to America to help us into war against Iraq.
According to Dowd, Miller fired off an email to her in defense of the indefensible, that Chalabi (and I'm hyposthesizing here since Dowd didn't mention exactly what was contained in that email) is an honorable man. OK, whatever.
Dowd, who I suspect might be a little run amok herself (she is a powerful editorial writer, after all; aren't they inheritantly a bit off the beaten track of the traditional leadership of a paper?), wonders why Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, did not rail her in, even when he knew that she kept 'drifting back' to national security issues that they had taken her off of after being originally questioned by Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald in the Plame Affair. Dowd goes on to say that Miller was quoted in the Sunday Times of October 16, 2005, that "If your sources are wrong, you are wrong." Dowd correctly nails her on this gem by saying that journalism and reporting are not stenography. A journalist seeks out whether her sources are right or wrong. There is no evidence that Miller ever sought to speak with Joseph Wilson himself, to get a second opinion that didn't come out of the White House Iraq Group and Dick Cheney's office.
Miller even went so far as to manipulate the White House title of her source, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, by naming him as a "former Hill staffer," instead of "current White House mole." Just another falsity in a land of high-flying and dangerous tales.
In essence, the rest of Dowd's piece continues the onslaught by stating the obvious in Dowd's own way, but I'll restate it in my own way: Miller is a liar and an obsfucator and though Dowd doesn't come out and say it, there is no doubt as to what she's feeling. She sums up her righteous tirade by saying that though she admires Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Keller (Times owner and editor) for standing up for important First Amendment rights, if Miller were allowed to continue at the newspaper, then they are pretty much damned:
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.Hot damn. That's how deep the animosity toward Miller is at the Times and I wouldn't be surprised if a mass walkout happens if and when Miller is allowed to continue to cover "threats to our country." Cause truthfully, in my humble opinion, the biggest threat to our country right now is Miller herself and what she represents: lying to the American people to get the war the government wanted with all their heart and soul.
If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the government that you, as citizens, hold in your hands.
So will the Times commit journalistic suicide and allow Miller to continue in her old job? I certainly hope not. In some respects, the paper has lost so much respectability over Miller as well as the Jayson Blair plagiarism issue, that they don't have a lot further to fall. So, let's hope Sulzberger and Keller (who may have stood up for journalistic freedom, but it sounds also like they were a bit adrift in Hurricane Judy) comes to their senses and fires her.
Is that so wrong of both Maureen Dowd and me to want so much?