David Corn today raising a good question about what Miller’s questionable behavior is doing to the NY Times credibility.
Unlike certain folks who hang around this blog–and I’m not saying who–I am not big on New York Times-bashing. It’s hard to put out on a daily basis what is essentially a book. (It takes most publishers nine months to do that.) But the paper does seem more and more to deserve the wallop it’s been taking on the Judy Miller front, and I’m beginning to wonder if Miller has, in a way, done more to diminish the credibility and reputation of the nation’s leading paper than did fabulist Jayson Blair.
After all, Blair merely bamboozled his editors–and the paper’s readers. Miller is forcing the paper’s editors to engage in gyrations that make them appear to be news spinners not journalists. When the news broke that Miller had cut a deal with Patrick Fitzgerald, the Times account was so convoluted it was practically unreadable. (The lawyers must have gotten to the article, one Times person told me.)
Karl Rove or other top Bush officials may be staring down the barrel of an indictment. This all could become the Big Story of the day. Yet the Times seems to have tied itself up in a straitjacket. Why? To protect Judy Miller? To protect itself from Judy Miller? I don’t know. Prior to the Plame/CIA leak scandal (a.k.a. the Rove scandal), Miller had already tainted the paper’s reputation in a more significant manner than had Blair with her war-greasing stories on WMDs in Iraq that–whaddayaknow–didn’t exist. These days she appears to be causing the Times to screw up its coverage of the most significant scandal yet to strike the Bush administration. Now this, we can say, is a journalist who has an impact.
I have to say that her behavior recently has been quite suspect. I took it on face value that Scooter Libby hadn’t given her permission to talk about their conversations, but then I find out that he had done so a year beforehand, but she simply hadn’t gotten a written “okay.” Huh? Personally, it felt like she was holding out for somebody else’s okay and simply used Libby as a fall guy. I could be wrong about this, but that situation seemed extremely weird.
Then you add this latest story that she just happened to find some new notes of conversations she had with Libby, and something certainly smells rotten in Manhattan.