Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Punchin' Judy

This picture reminds me of a snippet of pretentious art rock from my younger days:

The face that launched a thousand ships
Is sinking fast,
that happens you know,
The water gets below.

Genesis, Ripples, from "A Trick of the Tail," 1976


Editor & Publisher has put Miller's response to the NYT Public Editor Byron Calame's Sunday smackdown up on its website here.

What is perhaps most important about this (from Miller's standpoint, at least) is that she has clearly lost her big soapbox. The fact that the only way she can hit back is through Inside Baseball trade mags like E&P tells us that her excommunication from the Times is fait accompli even if Pinch can't bring himself to pull the trigger.

... Now on to the specifics. In scratching back at her (former) enablers, Judy makes three arguments. First:

You chose to believe Jill Abramson when she asserted that I had never asked her to pursue the tip I had gotten about Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger and his wife’s employment at the C.I.A. Now I ask you: Why would I – the supposedly pushiest, most competitive reporter on the planet -- not have pushed to pursue a tantalizing tip like this? Soon after my breakfast meeting with Libby in July, I did so. I remember asking the editor to let me explore whether what my source had said was true, or whether it was a potential smear of a whistleblower.

In other words, Saint Judy, patron saint of the First Church of the Chalabi Hobby,
expects us to believe that (a) she is telling the truth while her editor is lying, and (b) that she was willing to seriously entertain the possibility that she would turn on her neocon buddies. Suuuure. Perhaps you could point us to a few of your previous examples of such searing exposes tearing Scooter et al new ones. No? Thought so. (Oh, and "the supposedly pushiest..."? Some of the goodest writing I ever seen.)

Judy dearest, your credibility is a bit suspect. You have already asked us to believe that you "forgot" how the name "Valerie Flame" ended up in your notebook, and and that you don't remember who your original source was on the story you claim to have brought to your editor. So credibility here goes hand in hand with the concession that you are one sorry-ass reporter. You might want to let this one drop.

Judy continues:

My second journalistic sin in your eyes was agreeing to Libby’s request to be considered a “former Hill staffer” in his discussion about Wilson. As you acknowledged, I agreed to that attribution only to hear the information. As I also stressed, Scooter Libby has never been identified in any of my stories as anything other than a “senior Administration official.”
Oh, now I get it. You told Scooter-pie you were willing to tank your nano-scale integrity in order to help him mislead hoi polloi -- but "only to hear the information." So what does that mean, exactly? Does it mean that despite promising him his requested attribution, you would have run with "Senior Administration official" -- that is, that you were willing to lie to him to get your story? How do we square that with your claim that you went to jail for him? How does telling us you lied to a source help rehabilitate you? Or does it mean you never intended to use the information, which proves your previous argument false?

And finally:
The third “troubling” ethical issue you raised – my access to secret information during my embed in Iraq – had been fully clarified by the time you published.

"Clarified?" I must have missed something here. You strongly implied that you had a security clearance in your mea non culpa swan song in the Times. Does the fact that the DOD disavowed any knowledge of you having such a clearance -- that is, marking you as a grandiose serial fibber -- count as clarification?

The normal metaphorical tool of the reporter is a pen. Judy's is the shovel -- both before and after her release from jail, it was her instrument of shit stacking. Now she has found a second use -- digging herself into a hole.


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