Meet Your Liberal Media: We Go To War With The Lies We Have, Not The Truth Our Readers Expect Edition
Speaking of journalists who expect others to do their work for them, ladies and gentleman, I give you Judith "F'ing" Miller:
Meanwhile, ever since the fall of Baghdad in 2002, Miller has faced bitter accusations from both her peers and the public: they charge that in the run-up to the Iraq war, she was tricked by -- or worse, colluded with -- other confidential sources and the Bush administration into writing articles that strongly indicated Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. No WMDs have been found, and critics have been baying for Miller's blood for the past two years.
Miller's position, as she repeated several times during the Berkeley event and during an interview earlier that day for KQED "Forum," is "You go with what you've got." She was referring both to her WMD sources and the questionable whistle-blowers she is protecting, but it's a statement her critics ought to keep in mind. Miller may be an imperfect martyr for the First Amendment cause, but with 15 other journalists battling a secrecy-loving government over their own confidential sources, you go with what you've got. [WTF? Miller's sources were the secrecy- and dishonesty-loving government - Roger.]
In May of last year the New York Times published what many considered a belated mea culpa for its Iraq coverage. Although the paper did not name Miller, it included references to several of her stories that relied on Chalabi or other Iraqi exiles and unnamed intelligence sources. (Slate journalist Jack Shafer undertook an excoriating look at Miller's articles in 2003 and has since dogged her in several additional pieces.)
Miller argues that if she was duped by her unnamed sources, so was the Bush administration -- and she's not apologizing for believing there were WMDs in Iraq until the president does....
Ultimately, Miller said, she "wrote the best assessment that I could based on the information that I had." She attempted to tie the controversy over her WMD reporting to her current struggle by saying that she had heard after the fact -- after she returned from being embedded with an infantry division in Iraq -- that there had been people who had reservations about the WMD intelligence she was receiving.
"I wish they had come forward at the time to express those reservations," she said. "To me, this case that I am now involved in emphasizes the importance of getting as many people as possible to come forward with a dissenting view, or allegations of wrongdoing."
So -- if we accept Miller's dubious premise that she was an innocent dupe -- when Miller's unnamed sources told her that WMDs existed, it was up to persons who knew the WMDs didn't exist to correct Miller's ignorance. Presumably these contrarians were supposed to know what she was going to write before she wrote it, track her down, and refute the assertions of sources whose identities she wouldn't disclose. It wasn't her job to corroborate the claims of her sources or seek out knowledgeable others who might contradict their claims, or to inform readers of her sources' possible motives for -- and history of -- lying.
Also note Miller's claim that "if she was duped by her unnamed sources, so was the Bush administration...." Is she claiming that that sources who duped her weren't in the Administration (though of course she often quoted unnamed Administration sources), and that the Bush Administration was also duped by her sources? Does the "if" signify that she believes WMD exist but still haven't been found?
Don't worry, Judy. We don't want your apology. The self-destruction of your credibility is thanks enough.