The Infuriating Judy Miller

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What to do with former NY Times reporter Judy Miller? In a speech to Kansas State students, Miller made several commonsense points about secrecy in government. From the Topeka Capital-Journal:

[Miller] said the balance between national security and civil liberties has been tipped, allowing the Bush administration to become secretive about its decisions, intrusive into public lives and reluctant to share information the public has a right to know…”We are less free and less safe,” she said.

Right on. But then there’s this gem, which comes during a fret about weakening standards of journalism:

“I’m worried about bloggers,” she said. “(A post) starts as a rumor and within 24 hours it’s repeated as fact.”

Let’s talk about standards of journalism, shall we? Judy Miller repeatedly pushed questionable intelligence — most of which turned out to be false — on the front pages of the New York Times, influencing public debate on the question of whether or not to go to war. Because Miller was at best a careerist blinded by phenomenal access who simply didn’t ask enough questions and at worst the knowing crony of a dishonest administration, the influences exerted on that debate were exactly the ones the Bush Administration, trying to make a case for an unsupportable war to an unconvinced public, wanted. Miller then went to jail, supposedly to protect the first amendment rights of journalists, while actually protecting the reputation and career of a crook of a source (but reliable for high-level leaks!) bent on destroying the reputation and career of a husband-wife team opposed to the administration’s policies.

So, yeah, keeping fighting the good fight, Judy.

From the Mother Jones Iraq War Timeline, an example of Judy Miller’s role in leading a nation to war.

December 20, 2001: New York Times reporter Judith Miller writes a front-page story for the paper titled “AN IRAQI DEFECTOR TELLS OF WORK ON AT LEAST 20 HIDDEN WEAPONS SITES.” The source is a man delivered to Miller by Ahmed Chalabi. The man failed a CIA polygraph test before the article came out, and his claims were discredited by informed intelligence experts. The polygraph is not mentioned in Miller’s story. “Government experts” call his information “reliable and significant.”

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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