Friday, December 16, 2005

The Miller effect

Good paragraph from the article in the New York Times on NSA domestic spying:

"The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted."

So what has happened in the past year to change the Time's view of what dark secrets it can let out? Answer: Judith Miller. This is a rather pathetic attempt to regain some credibility lost by publishing the Miller lies for so long, but the fact they hid the NSA scandal just reinforces the view that the Times is no place to find the truth. The double irony is that James Risen, the co-author of the NSA article, is the same guy that told the editors that his sources were telling him that the Miller stories were all crap. They published them all anyway, with nary a word that there might be any issue whatsoever about their credibility, and thus lied the U. S. into what is looking like a trillion dollar mistake.

Here's a hint on how to regain a shred of journalistic dignity. Have a bunch of reporters do a lifestyle audit - the same type of investigation that hero reporter Marcus Stern did on 'Duke' Cunningham - on every member of Congress. How many of these guys recently had big lifestyle upgrades? With the current rampant corruption, coupled with the perception, commonly held until very recently, that the Republicans were completely invulnerable, I'll bet that more than a few are living the high life and taking no pains to hide it. This wouldn't cost too much, and would have a big salutary effect on American politics. Of course, the Times would never rock the boat, so it'll never happen.