Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Elizabeth's question

Elizabeth writes wondering if Judith Miller wasn't given too much attention this morning?

It's a good question. She also wonders about the time devoted to Judith Miller on Democracy Now!

On her second point, Elizabeth is referring to "Protecting Whistleblowers or Shielding Government Wrongdoing? Supreme Court on Journalists and Anonymous Sources."

AMY GOODMAN: We are joined on the phone by Rick MacArthur, publisher of Harper's magazine, author of the book, Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War. In our New York studio, we are joined by Jim Naureckas, editor of Extra!, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting’s bi-monthly journal of media criticism, and co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error. He’s also editor of The FAIR Reader. We welcome you both to Democracy Now! First, Rick MacArthur, your response to the ruling on these journalists not giving up their anonymous sources?

My interpretation of the segment (and I could be wrong) was that they were discussing the ruling in terms of something other than Judith Miller. MacArthur makes that point during the interview. This was a debate (and a lively one, watch, read or listen). It's also true that Miller has earned her critics and then some.

Democracy Now! did an examination of the issues involved.

The New York Times front paged a story (and Brad e-mailed me the editorial in today's paper on MIller -- thank you, Brad, I hadn't seen that this morning).

I think Goodman & company handled the issue beautifully.

As for what I did here, I'm sure it wasn't beautiful. But my point was that the Times is pushing this as one of our most important stories. It's not. She was denied her day in Court. Well, so were a lot of people. What makes her so special?

Is this part of a larger story the Times has covered? No. But if they'd been all over the Valerie Plame case, this might be something they could front page and justify with "It's a new angle on what we already covered."

The Times avoids being self-referential in most cases, but when it's Judith Miller it's time to throw standards and good taste out of the window and provide this breathless update that's supposed to have us all up in arms.

I don't know if I conveyed that well. But that was the intent.

It's a great question, Elizabeth, and you'll have to decide for yourself.

As for a visitor who e-mailed, I didn't write, "Thank God she's going to jail." I didn't write those words. If you're boiling down my post to that (and you've got quotes around what you feel was the theme) then I'm sorry about that.

But I've noted here several times that I didn't feel she should go to jail. I don't feel she should.
I'm not going to shed tears. And while she does "grate" on me, it's also true that it's up here in various posts that I don't think she should go to jail for this.

But I'm not going to play into the Times' "Oh, poor Judy!"

She's a grown woman, she's responsible for her actions. And though the Times won't tell you this, there's a huge split among journalists. A number of them feel she's risking Freedom of the Press with her decisions and that, in the current climate, is putting all journalists at work.

I'm yawning. I'm going to try to take a nap and write more later.

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