October 15, 2005
Times Report on Judith Miller: Key Moments, My Comments, and What the Blogs Say
Here are my initial annotations of the big report. Key passages and brief comments. (Do add your own.) Plus my eight paragraph summary of the case and its press think.
I give credit to the Times for running the story a few days after they felt the legal clearances were had, for giving readers a look inside at decision-making normally hidden, for airing uncomfortable facts—including internal tensions—and for explaining what happened as well as the editors felt they could. This was a very difficult piece of journalism to do. As language in conveyance of fact, it is superbly edited.
I have a small bit of news to break if you skip down to “After Matter.” My eight-graph view of the case and its mangled press think:
Maybe the biggest mistake the New York Times made was to turn decision-making for the newspaper over to Judith Miller and her “case.” This happened via the magic medium of a First Amendment struggle, the thing that makes the newspaper business more than just a business to the people prominent in it.
Miller’s defiance played to their images of Times greatness, and to their understanding of First Amendment virtue. She always described her case in the language of their principles. They heard their principles talking in the facts of the case. She could shape those facts, and so on.
But her second attorney saw it more clearly. “I don’t want to represent a principle,” Robert Bennett told her. “I want to represent Judy Miller.” He did that. The Times was the one left holding the principles.
Mostly they didn’t apply to a case that was bad on the facts, a loser on the law, quite likely to result in victory for the prosecutor, and quite possibly an ethical swamp or political sewer, since it was about using the press to discredit people without being named. All this would warn a prudent person away. It’s why other news organizations settled.
It never seems to have registered with Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.—Miller’s biggest supporter and the publisher of the newspaper—how different it is to fight for the right to keep things secret, as against the right to publish what had improperly been kept from us. By taking Miller’s secret-keeping “into” itself the Times took on more and more responsibilities not to speak, not to publish, not to report, not to inquire. All this is deadly for a newspaper, and the staff knew it. At the end the readers knew it and they were crying out. Even the armchair critics knew a thing or two.
So did Bill Keller, so did Jill Abramson. But there was nothing they could do. By the time they realized what Miller’s secrets had done to their people and their journalism, Judith Miller—by staging a First Amendment showdown she escaped from—had effectively hijacked the newspaper. Her principles were in the saddle, and rode the Times to disaster, while people of the Times watched. The newspaper never got its Robert Bennett.
And in the end her secret-keeping extended to stiffing the Times on its own story. The newspaper’s international First Amendment hero wouldn’t talk, share notes, or answer any tough questions. Her copy was late for the big weekend package; so late the report didn’t run in 100,000 papers run off for the bulldog edition.
The spookiest thing to me about her first person account was the suggestion that Judy Miller may have—today—security clearances that her bosses (and colleagues) do not have. This could be the reason her treatment is so singular. She said the prosecutor asked her if she still had special clearances when she met with Lewis Libby. She said she didn’t know. Does that sound good?
On to some key moments in the report, The Miller Case: From a Name on a Pad to Jail, and Back. My eye fell on these passages. I explain a little about why.
And when the prosecutor in the case asked her to explain how “Valerie Flame” appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she “didn’t think” she heard it from him. “I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall,” she wrote on Friday, recounting her testimony for an article that appears today….
Miller cannot recall where the name at the center of the case came from? Wowzer. Sure to be the center of controversy over the next week. Claiming memory loss about the most important fact in the story is weak. Very.
Miller actually subtracts from public knowledge in this part, a feat. She introduces into the narrative a new “source” who must have been around to plant the name on her, and then promptly tells us she cannot remember anything about him. So we know less if we believe her.
Mr. Sulzberger and the paper’s executive editor, Bill Keller, knew few details about Ms. Miller’s conversations with her confidential source other than his name. They did not review Ms. Miller’s notes. Mr. Keller said he learned about the “Valerie Flame” notation only this month. Mr. Sulzberger was told about it by Times reporters on Thursday.
Interviews show that the paper’s leadership, in taking what they considered to be a principled stand, ultimately left the major decisions in the case up to Ms. Miller, an intrepid reporter whom editors found hard to control.
“This car had her hand on the wheel because she was the one at risk,” Mr. Sulzberger said.
Like I said, it became Judy Miller’s newspaper. Her decision-making, I said on CNN, was driving the newspaper’s. Mr. Sulzberger is the publisher; the Times is a public company. Isn’t his hand supposed to be on the wheel for the newspaper as a public trust?
This car had her hand on the wheel… I know what he meant. It was her call on whether to “end” the case by testifying. But it was his call when the Times declared her case a First Amendment struggle and matter of high journalistic principle. Because the particular high principle invoked by Miller—protecting a reporter’s sources—in this case tied their hands for later stages of the fight their strategy brought on. They turned over the wheel to Judy Miller; her games of telepathy with Libby became the case “logic.”
Just ask yourself when you re-read the Times report, who was actually in charge of these events?
“We have everything to be proud of and nothing to apologize for,” Ms. Miller said in the interview Friday.
Ms. Miller seems incapable of self-doubt. Is this the person you want driving the car in a game of chicken with a federal prosecutor?
Asked what she regretted about The Times’s handling of the matter, Jill Abramson, a managing editor, said: “The entire thing.”…
In two interviews, Ms. Miller generally would not discuss her interactions with editors, elaborate on the written account of her grand jury testimony or allow reporters to review her notes
I called this The Hypothesis: “Judy Miller would not, in any material way, cooperate with the team of Times reporters.” (See Armchair Critic Speculates, Oct. 12.) Seems like she didn’t. What principle of confidentiality extends to “interactions with editors?” I am not aware of one the Times would uphold.
And how’s this for corporate candor? The Washington Post reported today: “Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said yesterday that Miller is now cooperating with fellow reporters on the story.” Odd definition of cooperating. (See “After Matter” for an update on it.)
This, I think, is what will finally sever Judy Miller from the Times: Ms. Miller generally would not discuss… Not forgivable in the newsroom’s moral code. Your colleagues are trying to finally tell the truth and get it right— and you won’t help? (Editor & Publisher’s Greg Mitchell agrees and calls for Miller to be fired.)
Ms. Miller said in an interview that she “made a strong recommendation to my editor” that a story 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.
So she won’t even identify the editor, and Jill Abramson says no way, it never happened? Second wowzer.
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…
Was she lying? Times reporters will have vivid opinions on that. Lying to an editor is an immediate firing offense. It has to be, if the newsroom is going to function. One of many reasons Miller will not be returning to the newsroom.
The Times said it believes that attempts by prosecutors to force reporters to reveal confidential information must be resisted. Otherwise, it argues, the public would be deprived of important information about the government and other powerful institutions.
The fact that Ms. Miller’s judgment had been questioned in the past did not affect its stance. “The default position in a case like that is you support the reporter,” Mr. Keller said.
It was in these early days that Mr. Keller and Mr. Sulzberger learned Mr. Libby’s identity. Neither man asked Ms. Miller detailed questions about her conversations with Mr. Libby
A striking feature of the entire story: the men in charge didn’t know some of the key facts because they didn’t ask. Normally this would be bad. But it was okay not to know because Judy was making the calls. She knew.
Mr. Abrams told Ms. Miller and the group that Mr. Tate said she was free to testify. Mr. Abrams said Mr. Tate also passed along some information about Mr. Libby’s grand jury testimony: that he had not told Ms. Miller the name or undercover status of Mr. Wilson’s wife.
The most confusing part of the article is this. From what it says, I can see no reason Abrams or the Times had for not accepting Tate’s “she was free to testify,” except Miller’s subjective feeling about it, and the fact that she didn’t get the call she felt she would get.
“Judy believed Libby was afraid of her testimony,” Mr. Keller said, noting that he did not know the basis for the fear. “She thought Libby had reason to be afraid of her testimony.”
Ms. Miller and the paper decided at that point not to pursue additional negotiations with Mr. Tate.
The two sides did not talk for a year.
Amazing, especially: he did not know the basis for the fear. This is what the Times staff was afraid of. Had the paper—and the newsroom bosses—taken too great a risk? Maybe Keller didn’t know things he would have to know to guard against it.
Asked in the interview whether he had any regrets about the editorials, given the outcome of the case, Mr. Sulzberger said no.
“I felt strongly that, one, Judy deserved the support of the paper in this cause - and the editorial page is the right place for such support, not the news pages,” Mr. Sulzberger said. “And secondly, that this issue of a federal shield law is really important to the nation.”
As I have written, it is sad to me that this stance is repeated, and occupied as some kind of high ground, when it has been admitted by Keller that Miller’s case would not have been covered by a national shield law. How can she be a symbol of it?
And when Sulzberger says “the editorial page is the right place for such support, not the news pages…” I must say I draw a blank. The news pages weren’t supporting Miller? Where did he get that? The news pages of the New York Times were edited for many months under the principle: don’t report anything that would anger the prosecutor or affect Miller’s case. That’s “support.” And the Times report documents this, including the stories that weren’t published and the reporters who did them, and the discouraging “message” the Washington bureau took from it, and so on. If Sulzberger believes the news pages didn’t support Miller, that’s alarming.
A few weeks later on Capitol Hill, in November 2004, Ms. Miller bumped into Robert S. Bennett, the prominent Washington criminal lawyer who represented President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and who is known for his blunt style and deal-making skills.
Ms. Miller recalled Mr. Bennett saying while he signed on to her case: “I don’t want to represent a principle. I want to represent Judy Miller.”
- With his “Judy you need someone to represent you,” Bennett had a clear-eyed view of the case, easier because he was coming to it later.
- Who on the Times side said, “I’m not representing a principle, I have to represent the New York Times?”
- The Times story never explains why Miller switched lawyers or added a criminal defense attorney. (See Mark Schmitt on this.)
Every day, she checked outdated copies of The Times for a news article about her case. Most days she was disappointed.
She didn’t know why there weren’t any news articles about her case? By their own account, the editors were holding back in deference to her.
Finally, it says so much about this case, about the information underworld of confidential sources, how little the Times own rules mattered to her, and how far gone Miller herself is when, in her account accompanying the Times article, she says:
Mr. Fitzgerald asked about a notation I made on the first page of my notes about this July 8 meeting, “Former Hill staffer.”
My recollection, I told him, was that Mr. Libby wanted to modify our prior understanding that I would attribute information from him to a “senior administration official.” When the subject turned to Mr. Wilson, Mr. Libby requested that he be identified only as a “former Hill staffer.” I agreed to the new ground rules because I knew that Mr. Libby had once worked on Capitol Hill.
Telling. (Let Josh Marshall explain why.) The new description for Libby is wholly misleading to readers—amounting to a lie, a misdirection play—but Miller is fine with it because it’s technically true.
After Matter: Notes, reactions & links…
My bit of news is
TIMES STANDS BY CLAIM: MILLER COOPERATED.
Meaning I e-mailed New York Times spokesperson Catherine J. Mathis with a question:
The Washington Post said you told them Judith Miller was cooperating with reporters. The Times report says: “In two interviews, Ms. Miller generally would not discuss her interactions with editors, elaborate on the written account of her grand jury testimony or allow reporters to review her notes.” That says she didn’t really cooperate.
So my question is: did you want to elaborate or revise your statement? Or is the Times statement [still]: “Judy Miller cooperated with this report?”
Her reply: “While Judy put limits on what she would discuss, the fact that she did sit for interviews and wrote her own account of her testimony certainly represents cooperation.”
Represents to whom? I guarantee you Times journalists did not see her “limits” as reasonable or as cooperation. Susie Madrak, a journalist who blogs as Suburban Guerilla: “Well, the Times spokeswoman ‘misspoke,’ since Judy wouldn’t answer questions nor show her fellow reporters her notes.”
Bill Keller is quoted in the Wall Street Journal’s story on the report (Oct. 17): “Knowing everything I know today about this case, I might have done some things differently, but I don’t feel the least bit apologetic about standing up for a reporter’s right to do the job.”
See Keller’s note to staff from Asia, where he’s visiting bureaus.
Best post I have read on Miller, post-report, is Next Time, Try Monster.com by Jane Hamsher at firedoglake. She thinks Miller wants to land at the Wall Street Journal, and gave a “pitch” interview to their reporters. Read why it didn’t work.
Tom Rosenstiel in Howard Kurtz’s “reactions” story, Oct. 17: “It is still not clear entirely what principle Miller felt she was protecting that also allowed her to testify.” Agreed.
Kurtz’s Media Notes column is better for your range-of-reactions needs. Listen to how how he starts:
The Judy Miller story is so hot right now that I want to get right to the blogosphere reaction, and will make you scroll down to read my print column…
Farhad Manjpoo in Salon: Judy Miller and the damage done. Cogent and it answers questions instead of just posing them. I recommend it, and warn you I am in it.
Ditto for FishbowlNY’s wrap-up. Also see Fishbowl DC’s Miller post. (Both Oct. 17)
Kathy Gill, a “guide” at About.com for US Politics, has a nicely thorough round up of bloggers reactions. About is owned by the Times.
Mickey Kaus is asking good questions. Jeff Jarvis has a good round-up of reactions. He’d have more to say but he’s a consultant to the Times. Also see Joe Gandelman, as you always should when these things break.
It’s one thing to be gamed by a punk like Jayson Blair who lied so outrageously that you’d have to be as nuts as him to think he was making it all up. It’s another to be gamed by a senior Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter. That requires a systemic flaw.
And that requires David—a philosopher—to think about it, and tell us what the flaw might be.
Halley Suitt, keeping it real: “And as for metaphors of who was running the show, the Times publisher suggests Judy Miller was in the driver’s seat at the paper, but c’mon guys, can’t we call it what it was … she seemed to have the boys by the balls.”
James Wolcott: “You’re sitting there having breakfast at the St. Regis with Scooter Aspen, buttering each other’s toast, and somehow the name ‘Valerie Flame’ pops up in your notebook without you knowing how it got there! It’s your handwriting, sure enough, but rack your brain much as you will, you just can’t remember which little birdie tweeted that name into your ear.”
Dan Gillmor: “This is a sad day for the Times and for journalism.”
Mark Jurkowitz, Boston Phoenix: “Plenty to suggest that the Times has paid a major price for again failing in its oversight of a strong-willed reporter who had generated internal skepticism about work habits and work product. And that sounds all too familiar.”
Steve Lovelady at CJR Daily: “The Times Gives Us a Modified, Limited Hangout.”
Historian David Kaiser: “the Times seems to have forgotten not only the purpose of protecting confidential sources, but also the reason we have a free press at all.”
“Then she starts to get a little crazy and reckless,” writes Jane Hamsher. “She sticks it to her lawyer, which is not really the best idea when he’s the only thing standing between you and a ten year stretch in chick prison…”
Mickey Kaus explains why Sulzberger’s stand on “principle” has actually made it harder for journalists.
KAUS: It’s now clear confinement wasn’t pointless. It worked for the prosecutor exactly as intended. After a couple of months of sleeping on “two thin mats on a concrete slab,” Miller decided, in her words, “I owed it to myself” to check and see if just maybe Libby really meant to release her from her promise of confidentiality. And sure enough - you know what? - it turns out he did! The message sent to every prosecutor in the country is “Don’t believe journalists who say they will never testify. A bit of hard time and they just might find a reason to change their minds. Judy Miller did.”
SPECIAL SECTION: Judy Miller And Her Security Status
Q. Does Judy Miller have security clearances enabling her to deal in classified information, preventing her editors from knowing what she knows, even if they knew to ask?
A. From Judith Miller’s My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room come these passages suggesting she may:
… Mr. Fitzgerald repeatedly turned to the subject of how Mr. Libby handled classified information with me. He asked, for example, whether I had discussed my security status with Mr. Libby. During the Iraq war, the Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as part of my assignment “embedded” with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons.
Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I had discussed classified information with Mr. Libby. I said I believed so, but could not be sure. He asked how Mr. Libby treated classified information. I said, Very carefully.
Mr. Fitzgerald asked whether Mr. Libby had shown any of the documents to me. I said no, I didn’t think so. I thought I remembered him at one point reading from a piece of paper he pulled from his pocket.
I told Mr. Fitzgerald that Mr. Libby might have thought I still had security clearance, given my special embedded status in Iraq. At the same time, I told the grand jury I thought that at our July 8 meeting I might have expressed frustration to Mr. Libby that I was not permitted to discuss with editors some of the more sensitive information about Iraq.
Mr. Fitzgerald asked me if I knew whether I was cleared to discuss classified information at the time of my meetings with Mr. Libby. I said I did not know.
She did not know? I wrote this at PressThink on Oct. 13:
Jack Shafer in a column on the risk of criminalizing relations with sources writes: “National-security reporters—none of whom have clearances—receive classified information for a living.” How does he know that there aren’t any reporters with security clearences? It would be a good way of favoring a favorite, says I. Surely such arrangements would be secret if they existed. In fact, I could see a journalist fighting pretty hard to keep that kind of secret.
Military and media blogger Sisyphus (Tim Schmoyer) has some good background on Miller’s “security clearance” during the hunt for WMD’s. Interesting portrait of Miller in the field. TPM Cafe is asking questions about this too.
I say it’s either 1.) a big nothing—Miller’s exagerrated description of clearances other embedded reporters had during the war, a kind of puffing up—or 2.) a very big deal if she had “special” clearances post-embed that came into play during her talks with Libby. Reporters I have talked to said that would be shocking and troubling, if true. 1) seems more likely, 2.) would explain a lot.
Read William Jackson’s September 2003 column (just put back online by E & P) about Judith Miller… “It appeared that she was, once again, the ‘drop’ of choice for a politically-motivated leaker.” It has a portrait of Judy Miller operating in Iraq, where she claimed to have “secret” clearence to see things other reporters could not. (Judy calls this kind of behavior “having sharp elbows.”)
An e-mail message to me from her PAO sergeant escort regarding a three-week trip with META in April stated: “She did not have a SECRET clearance.” She was “high maintenance and came to the field badly prepared. The problem I had with her was that whenever other members of the press showed up, which they did as embeds from other units or as unilaterals, she would insist that I get rid of them and that the 75th’s story was her story, exclusively. She didn’t seem to have any idea that the Army needed as much coverage of the 75th’s mission as possible and that excluding everyone else was detrimental to the credibility of what the 75th was trying to accomplish.
Bill Lynch, retired CBS News correspondent, in a letter to Romenesko:
There is one enormous journalism scandal hidden in Judith Miller’s Oct. 16th first person article about the (perhaps lesser) CIA leak scandal. And that is Ms. Miller’s revelation that she was granted a DoD security clearance while embedded with the WMD search team in Iraq in 2003.
Read the rest; it’s interesting.
Franklin Foer’s New York magazine profile of Miller also has background on this. The Source of the Trouble, it’s called.
About.com has good background on military security clearances.
NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski checked it out (Oct. 17):
WASHINGTON — Officials from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon say they have no idea what New York Times reporter Judith Miller was talking about when she claimed to have been given a “security clearance” while she was embedded with a U.S. Army unit in Iraq in 2003.
There’s more if you are interested. Also see historian Bob Bateman’s letter to Romenesko.
This is a very good compendium of facts and links to articles about Judith Miller. And here’s an index of everything that’s appeared at Romenesko about Miller, Libby, Plame, Fitzgerald, Cooper, Novak, etc.
Posted by Jay Rosen at October 15, 2005 7:00 PM
The article says, "And when the prosecutor in the case asked her to explain how "Valerie Flame" appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she "didn't think" she heard it from him. "I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall," she wrote on Friday, recounting her testimony for an article that appears today."
1. If she did not believe Mr. Libby gave her Valerie Plame's name, what was she protecting him from?
"Once Ms. Miller was jailed, her lawyers were in open conflict about whether she should stay there. She had refused to reopen communications with Mr. Libby for a year, saying she did not want to pressure a source into waiving confidentiality. But in the end, saying "I owed it to myself" after two months of jail, she had her lawyer reach out to Mr. Libby. This time, hearing directly from her source, she accepted his permission and was set free.
"We have everything to be proud of and nothing to apologize for," Ms. Miller said in an interview Friday."
2. Ms. Miller talked herself into believing Mr. Libby's original release, was not. In the end, what she owed to herself was to get out of what she hoped was a martyr role, but had not turned out that way. For a year or more she chose not to clarify Mr. Libby's position?! Sounds completely self-serving to me.
"On Tuesday, Ms. Miller is to receive a First Amendment award from the Society of Professional Journalists. She said she thought she would write a book about her experiences in the leak case, although she added that she did not yet have a book deal. She also plans on taking some time off but says she hopes to return to the newsroom."
3. I for one will not buy her book, unless or until she earns my respect.
Man, I didn't think my opinion of Judith Miller, especially after my blistering attack of her earlier, could get lower.
But to quote what I assume must be a journalism term: wowza.
I hear the phrase "I don't remember" in regards to testimony and I think back to Reagan using that to justify his lack of recall regarding Iran Contra.
Now we know maybe that was alzheimers.
Did Miller have an explanation for how she can conveniently forget such inforamtion?
Let's try for a second to take her story at face value:
- It's coincidence that the name of Valerie Flame (she even got that wrong!) is on the notepad.
- She has another source but she can't recall who it is.
So what if she had a follow-up question she wanted to write or - call me crazy - she wanted to actually write an article. How would she go about that if she didn't even know the source?
Either she knew the source and forgot the name - pretty hard to imagine in a profession whose currency is knowledge, memory and connections - or she's lying, which is perjury.
I'm starting to wonder she did with her time in jail in between entertaining visting sources (another major no no in my book).
If I was in jail over a story I'd be stewing over what I did right, what I did wrong, what could have gone differently, etc.
What I don't think I would do is avoid determining or "remembering" the identity of such an important source.
Earlier I compared Miller to Jayson Blair in terms of the magnitude of her errors, the Times handling of this and how both need to re-learn their profession.
Reading over this article and the PressThink comments on it I have to wonder two questions:
1) How do we - or even her editors - know that another source exists and that she's not pulling a Jayson Blair and making it up?
2) Didn't the Times put into place safeguards post-Blair to try to avoid reporters playing fast and loose with the truth?
So where were these safeguards in stopping someone like Miller? If her editors and colleagues had concerns about how she was operating why did it take all of this to bring matters to a head?
3) If she goes ahead with a rumored book deal will she give some of the proceeds to the people dying in the war that she helped promote?
It was about discrediting information supplied by Wilson...information shown to be demonstrably untrue by a Senate committee that looked at the issue.
Well, it looks like the discrediting of Wilson has worked....at least among the tin-foil-hat crowd.
Here's a clue. You discredit information by showing that the information is wrong. That is what Wilson was doing when he went to Niger. He didn't come back and say "The Italian Security Services are unreliable because of X, Y and Z. Never trust them, they are liars with bad motives." He came back with information that discredited what was being alleged.
That isn't what the White House did --- they tried (and failed, except about the wingnut crowd) to discredit Wilson, just as they have attempted to discredit every other critic. (see, Clarke, O'Neill, etc....)
There was a reason why Wilson was targeted rather than his information being "discredited"; the minor details that Wilson got wrong were irrelevant to the larger story, and the explanation of why those details were wrong (i.e. because on the same day that Wilson returned from Niger, the CIA briefed Cheney, telling him that there was no way that the sale had happened) made the administration look worse than Wilson's story did.
Wilson isn't a liar. He may have gotten a few minor facts wrong for understandable reasons, but openly acknowledges those errors. (For instance, it was perfectly rational for Wilson to assume that Cheney was briefed on his trip. Cheney had asked the CIA for more info, and Wilson was acting in response to that request, and when a high government official asks for more information and steps are taken to provide that information, normal procedure is to brief the official when the information requested is received.)
The fact that the wingnuts who denigrate Wilson don't hold the White House accountable for far more serious, consistent, deliberate, and consequential "errors" demonstrates their lack of intellectual honesty and good faith. There is no point in engaging them further.
Yes, indeed, that "security clearance" is 'very interesting', as Sgt. Schultz used to say.
Back in 1977, Bernstein wrote a groundbreaking article entitled, "The CIA and the Media", about the relationship between the CIA and the media, as summarized by Sam Smith of the Progressive Review:
"Carl Bernstein, in a contemporary article in Rolling Stone, estimated that 400 American journalists had been tied to the CIA at one point or another, including such well known media figures as the Alsop brothers, C.L. Sulzberger of the New York Times, and Philip Graham of the Washington Post. Later the New York Times reported that the CIA had owned or subsidized more than 50 newspapers, news services, radio stations, and periodicals, mostly overseas. And, says NameBase Newslines, at least 22 American news organizations employed CIA assets, and "nearly a dozen American publishing houses printed some of the more than 1,000 books that had been produced or subsidized by the CIA. When asked in a 1976 interview whether the CIA had ever told its media agents what to write, William Colby replied, 'Oh, sure, all the time.'""
here, things get a little complicated (in this instance, the CIA, or at least some agents and managers, were in conflict with the administration), but, it is possible that Bill Keller was treating Judith Miller gingerly because she was an intelligence operative run through WHIG, Lewis Libby and Sulzberger?
did WHIG and the Office of the Vice President have its own list of media operatives, created by their allies within the intelligence community?
oh, that must be silly, but . . . oh wait, I forgot the Bush White House was paying people like Armstrong Williams to propagandize for their programs, and if they were willing to do it for something so relatively trivial as "education reform", why not here, except that, on this level, as I said before, people do it for love, not money
paranoid musings, of course, until you realize that she was so accomodating in writing all those stories about WMDs (as Colby said, "Oh, sure, all the time"), and her description of her conversations with Libby, as well as Libby's letter to her in jail, sound like someone talking to their case officer, atmospherically supported by her story about her chance encounter with him out West in sunglasses
does anyone at the NYT realize how terrible this all looks? the NYT comes across as a media outlet at the direction of WHIG
apparently not, if Keller's pathetic comments are any reflection of what is happening there
Jay: For an academic 'press critic,' you're a bit too credulous. For your proofs, you far too often note without requisite skepticism evidence that is sourced anonymously; for example, you write:
"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…
Was she lying?"
Since much of your investigative argument is pegged around acceptance of the WaPo thesis, shouldn't you question the veracity (and even the motives) of the WaPo's writer who has this 'exclusive' that seems to move the story to a very predictable and convenient political (i.e. anti-Bush) exegesis. You appear to accept as fact that there were indeed two credible sources. Who are these sources? Shouldn't we demand to know this, if in fact we demand the same of 'administration supporter' Miller?
The Miller/Plame affair proves nothing save the fact that reporters are American's unelected, unappointed and unapologetic mullahs--protectors of a 'progessive' media meme and orthodoxy. .
But the hypocrisy of the MSM is amazing. If Bush had a WH inner circle comprised of aggressive and media-threatening defenders, as did the Clintons (see: Lanny Davis, Sandy Berger, Podesta, Emmanuel, Blumenthal, Begala et al) we wouldn't even be discussing this ridiculous non-story. I cannot recall a single instance where the slightest accusation against Clinton(s) wasn't matched by a hostile and intimidating attack on the poor journalist who dared expose or challenge POTUS. (Vide: the full court press on Freeh's revelations on '60 Minutes' last week.) Really. Wilson and Plame--as we've seen--are publicity hounds, glory hogs who think they're celebrities. The both belong to the party in opposition to the present administration. Geez. Clinton appointees and surrogates attack Bush. Quelle surprise.
Actually, we should be exploring whether Wilson lied--and if he lied, treasonously (I know, a rather quaint notion in our present culture) to destroy a president.
BTW, it should come as no surprise to readers of 'The Nation' that in the years leading up to 9/11 and the second Gulf War, that is, during the Clinton administration, Saddam's acquisition of nuclear technology was seen as fact, not fiction. A major problem, not a myth. During the midst of the Clinton's rule, prominent 'Nation' writer Eric Nadler, together with Columbia University's Jon Friedman, a documentary was initiated--"Stealing the Fire." Here's Human Rights Watch on the film:
"Filmed over five years on four continents, Stealing the Fire focuses on Karl-Heinz Schaab, a German technician convicted of treason in 1999 for selling top secret nuclear weapons plans to Iraq. The film unflinchingly exposes a web of government and corporate intrigue and lays bare an unbroken chain of events and people that connects today's nuclear weapons underground with the atomic bomb program of Nazi Germany. Stealing the Fire investigates the 60-year history of a German multi-national corporation that directly profited from the Holocaust and in recent decades became a leading supplier of nuclear weapons technology to developing nations, including Iraq and Pakistan."
Case closed? It is all about WMD after all, isn't it?
Sent this morning to both Arthurs, Keller, Calame and others: An Open Letter to the Times' Management
I am one of an informal group of more than 100 national and international journalists and media professionals who take their profession seriously, and who are angered at the decay of the press. We come from all walks and companies of the profession from McGraw-Hill and Dow-Jones to trade magazines you have never heard of. And we are angry.
The Times was our ideal, and you failed us.
The Judith Miller affair, and the Times’ handling of that issue has confused many and angered others. As a result of recent events, we no longer trust the Times to tell the whole truth, or even part of it, least of all about itself. And we are journalists – in theory, your comrades.
Given the hobbled stories in the October 16th Times and earlier issues, we no longer trust the Times to report honestly or fully on itself. Van Natta, Liptak, and Levy have our sympathy.
It is obvious that your investigative reporters were handcuffed, that they were forced to accept no answers, or partial answers to important questions, that the cooperation of Judy Miller was partial at best, and that Miller’s notebooks are a poor excuse for those of an earnest reporter. By our standards, Miller could easily be a writer of fiction. Certainly her period of martyrdom in jail appears—at worst—self inflicted.
For decades, we in the journalistic community and the rest of America, have looked to the Times for, if not the whole story, at least an honest review of the facts at hand.
Now, we see yet another case where not only are the facts questionable, but one in which the paper appears to have spun the story to protect its image.
Or did you do so to protect access to sources? If so that compounds the crime.
For years now, as all this has unfolded, the Times’ image as a source of bona-fide information has decayed. I omit Jason Blair and the other failings of recent years; you know the list better than I.
The point is this. For a century the Times fulfilled a key role in American discourse. It was thought to be the honest broker of information, regardless of party. Today, with the Miller affair, Iraq, missing weapons of mass destruction, Iraqi politics, and the recent grand jury inquiry, the Times has shown that it cannot be trusted to cover an incumbent administration honestly. Nor can it honestly cover issues in which its staff is involved. And for that reason, it can no longer be considered America’s premier newspaper.
Bluntly, we don’t trust you any more, and we are journalists ourselves. Your co-religionists no longer believe in you.
The journalists in this group, and there are many – some work in your own city room – no longer trust the Times. I wish it were otherwise, but you have failed. By protecting yourselves and the Times brand, you have injured all of us and made the prospect of a national shield law unlikely.
Given the importance of an informed electorate, the Constitutional protection provided to the press, and the responsibility that goes with it, many of us writers and reporters are preparing to get to the root of the Times’ failure. “Woodstein” will probably be ahead of us, but we will dig and contribute. We have sources, too.
I hope you notice that there is no partisan aspect to this note. We are Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives. What we share is respect for journalism, the truth, and the First Amendment. Rather more than the Times, it would appear.
We take the role of the Fourth Estate in a democracy seriously. And unless the Times visibly renews its commitment to this, the consequences for the nation will be serious. And for the Times, dire.
The state of Miller's clearanceness may be important--or maybe not.
However, there are a couple of things that might futz things up even further.
If Libby thought she had a clearance, who told him? She? Is taking somebody's word for it acceptable?
I recall having a secret clearance, as an Infantry 2LT. I don't think it was confidential. I believe all commissioned officers had it. If you didn't qualify, you didn't get a commission. One of my OCS (1969)buddies was temporarily in limbo due to a trip he'd made to the USSR with a college choir (hell of a second tenor). After deciding he'd been too well-chaperoned to be set up in case he went into the Army a couple or three years later, they let him continue.
When my father was at Benning in 43, they almost stopped him. His grandfather's hometown in upstate New York had gone out of business and there were no birth records. RED FLAG! RED FLAG!, so a couple of FBI guys--this was during WW II, a big deal--visited him. He told them to check the county, it turned out his grandfather had in fact been born as advertised, and off he went to Europe.
I served in a branch for a while which was considerably more technical than the Infantry, and it was not uncommon for a couple of officers to stop in mid-sentence, look around the room, and then continue.
While it is true that a secret clearance does not get you into any place you want, it gets you into any place your commander wants. If the commander needs a lieutenant with too much time on his hands, said butterbar may end up as custodian of classified documents, reams of stuff he has absolutely no need to know. Or somebody may say you need to know this, and there you are.
So having a clearance isn't like being restricted to a soda-straw view of the situation, although your additional information you will acquire down the road is unpredictable.
So, as a matter of practice, if somebody thought Miller was cleared, they may well have told her stuff, for one reason or another, that was not envisioned when she was first cleared. Chances are she would get less by directly asking than by hanging around looking bewildered.
I have no doubt that even a temporary, limited clearance could have brought her a good deal of information that is classfied, even if she didn't work the clearance. This would answer the question of why she wanted her latest questioning to be so limited. She might have had half a dozen opportunities for self-incrimination if she'd slipped.
One possible reason she didn't recall the source of "Flame" is that it was such common knowledge that it wasn't a big deal. It could have been Bill, or maybe Fred. Or, no, wait. Maybe it was Sally. Or at the meeting about the .... who was there?
A few comments on security clearances.
First, if what Miller was granted was a standard SECRET clearance that is not particularly a high one. It is, of course, to be taken seriously, but it is not anywhere near some of the compartmented info clearances that are typical in intel agencies, which require very extensive and timeconsuming background checks before they are awarded.
Second, a clearance expires but, as noted above, the legal requirement to protect information learned during the time the clearance was active does not. Whatever else Miller may be guilty of, neither her reticence about potentially disclosing classified information nor her lack of clarity about whether her clearance was active at the time of her conversation with Libby doesn't surprise me ... a lot of people don't keep track of when a clearance expires, if they don't view themselves as actively using it anymore.
Of course, if she didn't think she was cleared, that raises a question about what she DID think about the information discussed with Libby. Did she think it was classified? And if so, was she relying - as apparently many journalists do - on some informal precedent that allows journalists without clearances to learn classified info?
To me, THAT is a huge story here and one that deserves much more discussion. While I understand Jay's discomfort about clearances for reporters, I must say I'm rather unhappy at what appears to be selectively applied concern on the part of journalists for protection of classified data that has surfaced as a result of Miller's actions.
If journalists are not to be cleared, then they cannot be embedded with some units - that is pretty obvious. If they are not to be embedded, it may enhance their independence but it also restricts their access to information on the battlefield -- and it raises very large issues about their safety. The tradeoffs are very real and are not, I suspect, susceptible to easy reconciliation.
Jay, typically clearances are awarded for a set period of time rather than being tied to a job or an event.
Unless that was modified for embedded reporters in Iraq, the distinction you're drawing between a clearance for Miller in Iraq and a clearance for Miller as part of the press corps is probably misleading. It depends entirely on when the clearance was awarded and whether it fit the usual guidelines or was tailored in a more restrictive fashion.
That said, Miller does not come across, in stories about her behavior in Iraq or at home, as a very likeable or modest person - or one reticient to use her status and connections to elbow her way to the front of the line for info. I can well imagine that the troops in country detested her after a while.
There is an ego inflation that people with a small amount of knowledge often fall prey to, especially when they are able to stand next to big events unfolding. Dan Rather in his safari jacket opining portentiously from Baghdad comes to mind as one egregious example, but he is far from alone. If Miller had a SECRET-level base clearance but additionally had some very limited compartmentalized clearance just for the WMD search in Iraq, it might explain her reputed sense of greater access than that afforded other embeds. It might also explain confusion about the boundaries of her clearance once back home.
But all that is speculation. Do we even know for sure that the base clearance was at the SECRET level?
At any rate, the phrase "discuss classified information" is rather vague. There is, as others have noted, information classified at various levels. There are also compartments of special information for which both access and discussion are very tightly controlled - and generally speaking, one does not discussion the fact that one holds a clearance for compartmentalized info, or which one.
Access to information at the higher level clearances, certainly at the Top Secret clearance and then compartments, is on a "need to know" basis and the fact that someone else has a clearance at that level does not automatically encourage discussions of such information between the parties. Information classified at the SECRET level is less tightly held among clearance holders.
So a great deal depends on exactly what clearance(s) Miller was granted and whether she understood them and interpreted them correctly.
" 'In two interviews, Ms. Miller generally would not discuss her interactions with editors, elaborate on the written account of her grand jury testimony or allow reporters to review her notes '
I called this The Hypothesis: “Judy Miller would not, in any material way, cooperate with the team of Times reporters.” (See Armchair Critic Speculates, Oct. 12.) Seems like she didn’t. What principle of confidentiality extends to “interactions with editors?” I am not aware of one the Times would uphold."
Speaking as someone with two decades plus of practice as a lawyer (though non-criminal, now retired), these are precisely the instructions I would give my client, were that client's name Miller.
From Miller's perspective the considerations are very clear: if there is a trial of any person(s) indicted by this grand jury, Miller is highly likely to be a witness, if not herself a defendant. Her testimony may have been limited by agreement before the grand jury, but the prosecutor would not be subject to any such limitations -- other than relevance -- at trial. If Miller were to share other details in print beyond the limitations of her grand jury testimony, those details might only provide Fitzgerald with a roadmap to other witnesses or subject her to recall before the grand jury or cross-examination at trial.
As to sharing her notes with other reporters and her editors, remember that Miller shared only a highly redacted version with the prosecutors. If she were to share an unredacted version with them and Fitzgerald were to learn that, he could possibly subpoena the Times for her notes, as he subpoenaed Time for Matt Cooper's. If I were Sulzberger's or Keller's attorney, I'd say leave those notes alone at this point.
I realize there are sometimes more important considerations than the legal ramifications, but I think a consideration of those is part of what's missing from this discussion. BTW, long-time reader, first-time poster, I've found the discussions here quite intelligent and interesting. My thanks to Jay and the regulars.
Presumably if it's secret, asking would be futile since the reporter would be obligated to deny it, right?
The three main classifications of clearance -- Confidential (C), Secret (S), and Top Secret (TS) -- are not themselves classified. It's not illegal for someone to tell you they have a clearance.
Higher levels are actually subdivisions of the three main ones, principally S and TS because the requirements for C are relatively low. I'm not at all sure whether or not I can tell you anything about the one I had, though it was thirty years ago; but I can tell you that I had a clearance, and that it was the result of a background check.
The background check is the key. What the levels of clearance really mean is the intensity of the background check -- for C they check for obvious problems; for TS they dig deep. Granting a clearance is expensive because, especially in the top levels, the background check is extremely labor intensive. It also takes a long time. (One of the reasons Government contractors favor ex-military for employees is that military people generally have clearances, meaning that the company doesn't have to up-front the cash for the background check, which can exceed a year's salary in some cases.)
All of which is a long-winded way of saying: If a reporter, or anyone, actually has a formal clearance they can tell you it exists (or existed) though they may not be able to tell you details. They will also know, because the background check is fairly intrusive on acquaintances, former employers, etc., and not least because issuance of the clearance comes with a very memorable lecture.
I'm not familiar with the current situation in any detail, but I do know how the procedures used to work. Based on that, I would expect that an embedded reporter would get a background check more or less equivalent to a Confidential clearance, but would not receive a formal clearance complete with lecture -- it isn't worth the trouble. The result would be a temporary clearance that would enable the reporter to do the job but wouldn't be permanent, and would in any case correspond with the lowest level.
Based on recent experience that paradigm may no longer hold. That's a great hole you guys have got going. Need another shovel?
Yet another never-to-be-published Op-Ed
Op-Ed: The Times and Judith Miller
The New York Times's tell-some story on reporter Judith Miller's role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame kicked up a cloud of suspicion. It is, for instance, hard to swallow Miller's claim that she forgot how she found out that Plame is the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, and it is also a stretch to accept her assertion that she has no idea why a variant of Plame's name appeared in the notebook she used during a conversation with "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. Miller's account of another reference to Plame in her notes, specifically, that she wrote "Valerie Wilson" and drew a box around the name because she might have been trying to get Libby to confirm Plame's identity, is similarly fishy. Miller was, after all, supposedly so unconcerned about this information that she never took note of its source.
But the central question begged by the Times' incomplete coverage of this drama was not raised by its own reporters. In fact, it's a question that none apparently dared to ask: Since it seems that Libby did not leak Plame's identity to Miller, was it Miller who first mentioned Wilson's wife to Libby? Although nobody at the Times seems willing or able to examine this angle, it's a tack that turns an improbable mess into a plausible story.
If it was Miller who first brought up Plame to Libby, it explains why Libby insisted that Miller's grand jury testimony would help him, since her recollections would show that he had not leaked classified information to the press. Likewise, if the source that Miller is protecting is Miller, it would explain why she so long rejected Libby's waiver of confidentiality, why she sought to limit her testimony, why she initially failed to disclose all of her talks with Libby, why she still refuses to elucidate her pursuit of an article on Wilson, and why she still won't say when or where she first learned about Plame.
The Miller-as-source scenario also provides a more plausible reading of her motivations than the First Amendment flag that she has waved since her legal troubles began. As her editors regretfully acknowledged, Miller's silence did not protect any vulnerable whistleblowers, and it certainly did not advance the cause that she claimed to be promoting, which was, in her words, "an independent press that works every day to keep government accountable by publishing what the government might not want the public to know." Instead, as echoed everywhere in the blogosphere, it seems much more likely that Miller tried to bolster her voluminous misreporting on weapons of mass destruction by helping her anonymous and inaccurate government sources bury a damaging critic in a nasty smear campaign.
If this theory pans out, the Times will have settled one question: Did the paper recommit itself to journalistic integrity in the aftermath of Jayson Blair? Editors and reporters gave us partial answers as the Miller debacle unfolded. For example, after Miller's prize-winning but truth-losing reports on WMD's in Iraq became too glaringly flawed to defend, her editors admitted that many of her articles were riddled with unwarranted conclusions. In their note to readers, however, they elected not to identify her by name. Readers can judge for themselves whether this granting of anonymity conformed to the paper's current Guidelines on Integrity: "There can be no prescribed formula for [anonymous] attribution, but it should be literally truthful, and not coy."
The Times' decision to make a hero out of Miller despite her misreporting on WMD's also obscured the conflict of interest inherent in her simultaneous hawking of Germs, her best-selling book on bio-terrorism. Again, readers can draw their own conclusions about whether the paper's decision to beatify Miller while ignoring complaints about her self-serving yarns about unconventional weapons contradicted the Times' admonition to itself to be "vigilant in avoiding any activity that might pose an actual or apparent conflict of interest and thus threaten the newspaper’s ethical standing."
If Frank Rich's October 16 column, "It's Bush-Cheney, Not Rove-Libby," is any indication, the Times has chosen to ward off threats to its ethical standing by deflecting blame for Miller's disinformation to the people who set her in motion. After blasting Dick Cheney's fear-mongering tidings about Iraq’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, Rich notes, in passing, "The vice president cited as evidence a front-page article, later debunked, about supposedly nefarious aluminum tubes co-written by Judy Miller in that morning's Times." But Rich, in a now familiar move, never took Miller to task. Instead, he castigated the White House officials who had apparently managed Miller into spouting distortions designed to rush us into war.
Of course, from reading between the lines of Rich's column, one could surmise that he meant to fold Miller into the insulating "layer of operatives" who carried out the Bush administration's PR push for pre-emptive invasion. But if all we can do is speculate about what Rich might have meant or Miller might have done, which is all we can do at this point, then we are left with one certainty: The Times has failed to live up to its pledge to “do nothing that might erode readers' faith and confidence in our news columns.” In choosing to leave readers guessing at the facts of this significant story, the Times may have paved the way for more prizes for Miller, but it gave up its claim to our trust.
Susan E. Gallagher, Associate Professor
Political Science Department
University of Massachusetts at Lowell
"Media corporations are arguably the most important yet least examined centers of power in our society. The owners of the Fourth Estate have a unique ability to direct the searchlight of inquiry upon others while remaining powerfully positioned to deflect it from themselves." - Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times Syndicated columnist, October 18, 2005.
Ahh, Robet Scheer, my favorite wingnut of them all. (No right-wing conspiracy theorist -- not Power Line, not Hewitt, not Limbaugh, not Little Green Footballs, not FreeRepublic -- can match Scheer in his paranoia, though, God knows, they all certainly give it their best shot.)
Scheer has cleverly located hiimself at the precise point on the circle where left-wing delusion meets right-wing delusion. (And, don't kid yourself, it is a circle.)
" ... most important yet least examined centers of power in our society. Oh, really ? Please. Press criticism is one of the few growth industries in the country. (Good thing, too -- otherwise there would be no Press Think, and I would be out of a job myself.) How many blogs, or newspaper commentators, or cable bloviators, or radio talk show hosts, do you know of that are devoted solely to critiquing the Supreme Court ?
The White House ?
The CIA ?
Homeland Security ?
The IRS ?
General Electric ?
Thank you. I thought so. Now ... how many blogs, or newspaper commentators, or cable bloviators, or radio talk show hosts, do you know of that are devoted solely to critiquing the press ?
Hell, if it weren't for press criticism, the blogosphere would shrink to the diaries of 11 million 14-year-old girls.
It's time for someone to introduce Mr. Scheer to the Internet.
From Today's NYTimes story "Journalists Testify in Favor of Shield Law":
"I told Mr. Fitzgerald that Mr. Libby might have thought I still had security clearance, given my special embedded status in Iraq," Ms. Miller wrote, referring to Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor leading the C.I.A. leak investigation.
Some Pentagon officials and journalists questioned whether her arrangement was actually what many journalists covering the Iraq war had: a written agreement to see and hear classified information but treat it as off the record unless an ad hoc arrangement was reached with military hosts.
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Ms. Miller said this so-called nondisclosure form was precisely what she had signed, with some modifications, adding that what she had meant to say in her published account was that she had had temporary access to classified information under rules set by her unit.
Ms. Miller said that under the conditions set by the commander of the unit, Col. Richard R. McPhee, she had been allowed to discuss her most secret reporting with only the senior-most editors of The Times, who at the time were Howell Raines, the executive editor, and Gerald M. Boyd, the managing editor.
When asked if she had ever left the impression with sources, including Mr. Libby, that she had access to classified information after leaving her assignment in Iraq, Ms. Miller said she could not recall. "I don't remember if I ever told him I was disembedded," she said. "I might not have." But she added, "I never misled anybody." >>
Here is a copy of e-mail correspondence that I have had with the Society of Professional Journalists regarding the award that they gave to Judy Miller this past weekend:
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 19:05:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Barbara Karol"
Subject: Award to Judith Miller
I am trying to ascertain which of the journalistic ethical criteria enumerated on your website (http://www.spj.org/ethics_code.asp) that you feel Judith Miller most satisfied in light of the award that you recently bestowed upon her. I have eliminated the few that you list that are not applicable to her genre of reporting. Of the ones that remain (i.e. the majority), I see little reason and a great deal of absurdity in your choosing to elevate Ms. Miller's self-serving, hypocritical, arrogant and, yes, unethical, behavior to the level of journalism, let alone entitlement for praise and reward. I would appreciate your explaining to me how you feel Ms. Miller's reporting on WMD in the lead-up to the Iraqi war and her involvement in the Valerie Plame case (especially in light of her recent admissions in Sunday's NY Times piece) have met the following criteria:
Seek Truth and Report It
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
· Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
· Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.
· Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
· Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context
· Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story
· Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
· Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
· Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
· Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
· Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public's business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.
Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.
· Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.
· Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
· Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
· Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
· Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
· Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
· Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
· Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.
Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.
· Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
· Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
· Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
· Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
· Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.
1 rue de la muse
Subject: Out of Office AutoReply: Award to Judith Miller
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 21:08:34 -0500
From: "Terry Harper"
To: "Barbara Karol"
Terry Harper wrote:
Thank you for your e-mail.
I will be out of the office until Monday, October 31.
From Thursday, October 13 - Thursday, October 20, I will be at SPJ's Convention and National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas. If your matter is urgent, you can reach me on my mobile phone at (317) 513-8121.
Following the convention, I will be on vacation until Monday, October 31 when I will return to the office rested, refreshed and ready to respond to your E-mail.
All the best,
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2005 02:44:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Barbara Karol"
Subject: Re: Out of Office AutoReply: Award to Judith Miller
To: "Terry Harper"
Dear Mr. Harper,
I'm certain you will need to be rested and refreshed after listening to the multitude of criticisms I imagine you and your organization are receiving concerning the absurdity of the award that you have bestowed upon the emminently-undeservable Judith Miller. For a journalism organization that purports to set ethical standards for its members to reward the single most person of our generation to have intentionally and arrogantly disregarded the majority of these standards is a tragic blow to all journalists everywhere. Judith Miller's articles and actions have dealt a deathblow not only to the New York Times, but also to the proper and necessary rights of journalists under the First Amendment when it is being used appropriately to protect sources rather than hypocritically to cloak criminals. You and your organization should be ashamed of supporting and rewarding Ms Miller for her unethical bordering on potentially criminal behavior.