Friday, April 15, 2005

Judith Miller returns to the New York Times front page, America left skeptical

Judith Miller's on the front page of the New York Times. Does anyone want to read that?

Me neither. When Judy goes scoop, nothing goes right.*

So let's instead note the Washington Post story (same topic) entitled "American Indicted In Iraq Oil Probe" by Colum Lynch and Michelle Garcia:

A Texas oil executive, his two companies and two foreign associates were indicted Thursday on charges that they illegally paid millions of dollars to Iraqi officials in exchange for lucrative deals to buy discounted oil from the government of Saddam Hussein.
A separate criminal complaint charged Tongsun Park, a South Korean businessman who was at the center of a congressional influence-peddling scandal in the 1970s, with acting as an "unregistered agent" of Hussein's government and with trying to bribe a U.N. official for relief from economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
[. . .]
A federal grand jury in Manhattan charged that David B. Chalmers Jr., founder of Houston-based Bayoil USA Inc. and Bayoil Supply & Trading Limited; Ludmil Dionissiev, a Bulgarian citizen who lives in Houston; and John Irving, a British oil trader, funneled millions of dollars in kickbacks through a foreign front company to an Iraqi-controlled bank account in the United Arab Emirates. If convicted, the three men could each be sentenced to as long as 62 years in prison, $1 million in fines, and the seizure of at least $100 million in personal and corporate assets.

Just wondering, is there a reason that John Irving is named in the fifth paragraph of the Post story (and it's noted that three are involved in the headline) but Miller's reporting (with Julia Preston) doesn't mention Irving (or that there's a third person charged) until paragraph eighteen? Is this a friend of Judith Miller's? She can go strangely silent about her friends.

Not just Chalabi. Take David Kelly -- the notice on his death she wrote is still one of the strangest things she's ever turned in -- no easy trick. In that article, she failed to inform readers of her daily contact with Kelly and seemed to suggest that there were questions about what elsewhere in the Times was supposed to be a suicide. (She also spoke of people weighing in on his affect and mood, considering her contact with him, it was strange she didn't include a "this reporter . . .")

For whatever reason, John Irving (not the well known author) doesn't get mentioned until paragraph eighteen and the opening paragraph refers to only two. The Post tells you, in the opening paragraph, that the American was indicted as well as "two foreign associates." The Times waits for paragraph eighteen. (After speculation about Jack Kemp and Jimmy Carter.) (Read the Times article if you're curious.) It's sad that Miller's credibility is so low that we have to wonder why the British John Irving isn't mentioned (by name or even implication) until paragraph eighteen? But she's set herself up for those questions.

Kara notes David D. Kirkpatrick's "Frist Set to Use Religious Stage on Judicial Issue:"

As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.
Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day "Justice Sunday" and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading "the filibuster against people of faith," it reads: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."
Organizers say they hope to reach more than a million people by distributing the telecast to churches around the country, over the Internet and over Christian television and radio networks and stations.

Having trashed his medical reputation in recent weeks by implying that AIDS could be passed on by means other than those supported by medical science and by diagnosing Terry Schiavo via videotape, Frist now appears determined to make questions about his spiritual committment. Religious showboating will lead to that.

Brad notes Jonathan Fuerbringer's "Stocks Plunge to New Lows for the Year:"

The major stock market gauges fell yesterday to their lowest levels this year, as investors worried about slower growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 1.2 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 1 percent, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index closed down 1.4 percent, despite a strong earnings report from
Apple Computer.
After the market closed,
I.B.M. said that its first-quarter earnings fell short of estimates. The surprising announcement may lead stocks lower today. Shares of I.B.M. fell 5 percent in after-hours trading.
The Nasdaq, down 10.5 percent for the year, has given up all the gains from last year's postelection rally, which turned 2004 to a pretty good year from a bad year. The Dow, off 4.7 percent on the year, and S.& P. 500, down 4.1 percent in 2005, have given up most of their postelection gains.

Brad: It's the Bully Boy's economy but no doubt he'll yet again find someone else to blame. Maybe he'll try something along the lines of "I've only been in office for five years!" Maybe he'll insist it's a sign to cut taxes. Tom DeLay's already blaming the 'liberal media,' so if worse comes to worse, I'm guessing Bully Boy will trot out Bill Clinton to pin this on. Remember, it's never the Bully Boy's fault.

So true, Brad.

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*"When Judy goes scoop, nothing goes right." If you've seen Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, hum the Harold Adamson and Hoagy Carmichael song "When Loves Goes Wrong" that Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell sing in that film. Just substitute "Judy" for "love" and "scoop" for "wrong:"

The sun don't beam
The moon don't shine
The tide don't ebb and flow
A clock won't strike
A match won't light
When Judy goes scoop
Nothing goes right