Rove/Plame: NYT throws Judy from the train

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Yesterday the New York Times finally published its 5800-word libretto to Judy! The Opera. And if it fails to answer convincingly either of the two main questions at hand--why Judith Miller went to jail in lieu of testifying and later changed her mind, and why the Times "ultimately left the major decisions in the case to Ms. Miller" when it had already been forced to apologize publicly for her WMD reporting--it's still a delicious read for all it's got to say in and between the lines about how widely despised she is by bosses and colleagues, with the notable exception of publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger.


Half a dozen present and former Times people damn Miller with faint praise or open criticism, including editor Bill Keller ("I wish it had been a reporter who came with less baggage") and managing editor Jill Abramson (as to the Times's handling of the Miller matter, she regrets "the entire thing"). Douglas Frantz, who edited Miller for a time, remembers that Judy once called herself "Miss Run Amok." When Frantz asked what that meant, she replied, "I can do whatever I want."

As to Miller's decision to keep quiet and go to jail, the Times writes that "Ms. Miller said she decided not to testify in part because she thought that Mr. Libby's lawyer might be signaling to keep her quiet unless she would exonerate his client." Well, there you go. Not every reporter who had already been granted a waiver to testify would be so meticulous, but then there still remains some question as to whether Miller's main interest lay in protecting Libby or herself.

At one point, the story catches Miller in two apparent whoppers within the space of 100 words:


Ms. Miller said in an interview that she "made a strong recommendation to my editor" that an article [about Joseph Wilson and his criticisms] be pursued. "I was told no," she said. She would not identify the editor.

Ms. Abramson, the Washington bureau chief at the time, said Ms. Miller never made any such recommendation.

In the fall of 2003, after The Washington Post reported that "two top White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to at least six Washington journalists," Philip Taubman, Ms. Abramson's successor as Washington bureau chief, asked Ms. Miller and other Times reporters whether they were among the six. Ms. Miller denied it.

"The answer was generally no," Mr. Taubman said. Ms. Miller said the subject of Mr. Wilson and his wife had come up in casual conversation with government officials, Mr. Taubman said, but Ms. Miller said "she had not been at the receiving end of a concerted effort, a deliberate organized effort to put out information."


In all, the story paints Miller as imperious, dishonest, and more committed to the welfare of the personal friends she covered than to her paper or her readers.

Read it here if you haven't already.



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