Tuesday, October 25, 2005

You want me to pay what?

Let’s face it, Judith Miller sucks! There is no kind or professional way to say it. She is a hack, she has a history of being a hack and I think her future prospects for being a hack look rather grim. Maureen Dowd wrote her recent column entitled “Woman of Mass Destruction” on her personal experiences with and impressions of Judith Miller. She does not paint a kind picture, though she rarely does.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with the people that write for the New York Times, but if Miller’s editor told her that she was barred from writing any more pieces on Weapons of Mass Destruction, then how on Earth was she able to weasel her way back onto that beat? Say what you want about Miller and all the recent brouhaha over the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity, in my opinion she made to two inexcusable mistakes.

The first mistake was the way she cozied up to some of the worst of the worst political operatives (not that they are not policy staff) in the Bush administration to get inside information during the lead up to the Iraq War. She wrote many, and I do mean many, articles about the case for WMD in Iraq based on the opinions of I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff and Ahmed Chalabi the former Iraqi exile with a score to settle with Saddam Hussein. All of the information was printed as fact without corroboration of other evidentiary sources. She basically swallowed the Bush gang’s line and then vomited it back onto the pages of the New York Times. This was partially her fault, for being a total hack, and partially the editors fault, for not bothering to do their jobs (like EDITING!).

Miller’s second mistake was her handling of confidential sources. At one point during the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity, Miller agreed to attribute information leaked to her by Scooter Libby as having come from a “former Hill staffer”. While this is technically true, Scoots was a Hill staffer, it is disingenuous because he is, in fact, now a White House insider. This mistake was totally Miller’s fault and should get her fired by the New York Times for gross incompetence. She should not be given the opportunity to resign; she should be fired for cause.

The New York Times has had a rough go of it in the last several years. First Jayson Blair, now Judith Miller. The common theme is a lazy editorial staff that failed to scrutinize the news that they are publishing. If it is not possible to thoroughly research and confirm information by press time, perhaps they should publish less news. I am of the belief that less, more accurate news is better then unconfirmed, regurgitated press releases.

The most galling aspect of this whole charade is the new Times Select scheme which the New York Times has come up with for their online news portal. They expect me to pay $49/year to read the Times online. For $49/year I expect the news to be right damn it! Get your heads out of your collective asses!

1 comment:

gracie said...

whether based wholly on fact or not, stories sell and our society is one that so easily takes whatever is printed for fact. it concerns me that there is such a huge grouping of individuals who lack the common sense to question the validity of an issue - that is how these people stay employed.