Et tu, fellow Times minion

News & Politics

Seems like some of Judy Miller's former colleagues aren't all that convinced of her much-vaunted integrity:


One of the most interesting remarks on Miller in recent days came from an ex-Timesman. On NPR's "Morning Edition" of August 3, her former boss for investigations at The Times, Steve Engleberg, who was known for being a restraining influence on her, told David Folkenflik that Miller builds trust with sources because she shares "their obsessions and passions." But he cautioned that once a reporter "fishes in the waters that the intelligence services fish in" that water can include "charlatans and fabricators" (he did not mention Miller's friend Ahmad Chalabi by name).
Then he added that, after he left the Times for The Oregonian, he had been "appalled" by some of her reporting from the field in Iraq in the spring of 2003. "That was just so patently below the standards that I thought The Times had for such things," he said. However, he put primary blame on Times editors for printing her stories on WMD. While not a commentary on the Plame case, it was another public relations blow for Miller. [LINK]
How very refreshing. Here's my far more cynical take on the relative lack of peer criticism of Miller. The determining factor is not ideological bias but journalism's own version of the thin blue line -- a code of silence that is harder to break and more so because it is never ever acknowledged. Journalists never turn on their own unless you're way too stupid to deserve that kind of loyalty, as in say Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair. And it's no accident that much of the coverage of both scandals was directed at preserving the reputations of both the editors and the publications that enabled their rise.

Both Miller and Novak will likely be quietly sidelined -- until they're revived a year or so later on some ghastly cable news show. In a world where Nixon can be recurrected as a misunderstood hero of the right, neither should have cause for worry.

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