NYT staff break ranks (updated)

Just as with Jayson Blair, when the Times' brightest lights finally come down on the side of principle, it's a damning sign that business as usual is about to be rudely interrupted over at the newspaper.

First the Public Editor Byron Calame:


The Times needs to review Ms. Miller's journalistic practices as soon as possible, especially because she disputes some accounts of her conduct that have come to light since the leak investigation began. Since Ms. Miller did the Plame-leak reporting, the paper has made a significant effort to be as upfront as possible with readers about anonymous sources. An update of the rules for the granting of anonymity in The Times's ethics guidelines by Allan M. Siegal, the standards editor, may also be a good idea.
The apparent deference to Ms. Miller by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, and top editors of The Times, going back several years, needs to be addressed more openly, especially in view of the ethics issues that have come to light. ...
What does the future hold for Ms. Miller? She told me Thursday that she hopes to return to the paper after taking some time off. Mr. Sulzberger offered this measured response: "She and I have acknowledged that there are new limits on what she can do next." It seems to me that whatever the limits put on her, the problems facing her inside and outside the newsroom will make it difficult for her to return to the paper as a reporter. [LINK]
Well, public editors will be public editors, but whatever happened to the sisterhood, Maureen?
In a column headlined Woman of Mass Destruction, columnist Maureen Dowd argued: "Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, [Miller] was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet Miss Run Amok." [LINK to a Guardian article since I ain't paying to play]
And finally, et tu Bill Keller. Here's a leaked memo to the Times' staff sent out last week:
I wish that when I learned Judy Miller had been subpoenaed as a witness in the leak investigation, I had sat her down for a thorough debriefing, and followed up with some reporting of my own. It is a natural and proper instinct to defend reporters when the government seeks to interfere in our work. And under other circumstances it might have been fine to entrust the details -- the substance of the confidential interviews, the notes -- to lawyers who would be handling the case. But in this case I missed what should have been significant alarm bells. Until Fitzgerald came after her, I didn't know that Judy had been one of the reporters on the receiving end of the anti-Wilson whisper campaign. I should have wondered why I was learning this from the special counsel, a year after the fact. (In November of 2003 Phil Taubman tried to ascertain whether any of our correspondents had been offered similar leaks. As we reported last Sunday, Judy seems to have misled Phil Taubman about the extent of her involvement.) This alone should have been enough to make me probe deeper. [LINK]
Yes, he does spend much of the memo protecting his backside and that of the Times -- the reason why they pay him a generous salary, I'm sure. But the letter is pretty much the Upper East side version of throwing this Rosemary's baby to the wolves.

In sum, Judy Miller is sure to bite the dust, but sadly all the deposed wicked witches in the world won't bring back the dead.

UPDATE: Miller responds with an "et tu, Barney" to Calame's column. And yes, Bill Keller is definitely off her Christmas list: "While you posted Bill Keller’s sanitized, post-lawyered version of the ugly, inaccurate memo to the staff he circulated Friday, which accused me of 'misleading' an editor and being 'entangled' with I. Lewis Libby, you declined to post the answers I sent you to six questions that we touched on during our interview Thursday."

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