Judith Miller Goes With What She's Got
Perhaps nearing jail, the New York Times reporter, in public appearances, refuses to apologize for her WMD reporting. Meanwhile, she imperils her newspaper by rejecting out of hand the idea of a negotiated compromise with the prosecutor in the Plame case.
By William E. Jackson Jr.
(March 27, 2005) -- The latest appeal to keep The New York Times’ Judith Miller and Time magazine’s Matthew Cooper from being sent to jail for refusing to reveal sources in the case of Valerie Plame’s exposure as a CIA operative was filed amid pessimism that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will overturn their sentences for contempt of court. Nevertheless, on March 23, a friend-of-the-court brief was submitted by 36 news organizations arguing that there is substantial evidence “to doubt that a crime has been committed” by the leaker.
Meanwhile, over a period of weeks, Miller has published only one story in the Times on her current beat, the Iraqi oil-for-food program. But a very active life has continued for her on the lecture circuit in the role of principled reporter prepared to go to jail to protect confidential sources.
At a March 17 event at the University of California at Berkeley, billed as ”The Consequences of Confidential Sources: Jail?,” Miller was interviewed by a very protective friend, Lowell Bergman. A longtime producer for CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Bergman currently works on investigative reporting projects for Miller's paper.
Bonnie Powell of the university’s news center reported that Miller acidly proclaimed journalists “are not perfect. We’re not saints. But try running a functioning democracy without a free press.” And who better to make the case regarding non-sainthood, following her dangerously wrong 2002-2003 reporting on WMD in Iraq, which at times was based on outright collusion with confidential sources in and out of government who had wanted the United States to invade Iraq? Miller, in fact, praised Ahmad Chalabi for "never lying about his motives," and noted his political comeback in Baghdad.
Long - Reast here: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp ... 1000856144