Daily Kos: The New York Times on the Brink

The New York Times on the Brink
by Armando
Sun Oct 9th, 2005 at 13:04:07 CDT

The protection of confidential sources has been an important tool for investigative journalism for decades. Too many important stories have been broken through the use of confidential sources over the years to lightly dismiss it. But the abuse of this important tool by journalists has discredited it - which is based on the idea that a journalist is bound to respect the promise of confidentiality, to the point of going to jail.

Judith Miller invoked the reporters' privilege as the basis for her refusal to testify before the Rovegate Grand Jury. I believed, and believe, that if this was Miller's true motivation for her refusal to testify, then her actions were proper. But the evidence that this in fact was her true motivation is crumbling. This development is simply not believable:


Last Friday, after spending 85 days in jail, Miller testified before the grand jury about two conversations she had with Libby in July 2003 and turned over redacted notes. She testified about a meeting with Libby on July 8, 2003 at the St. Regis Hotel and a later conversation by telephone on July 12, 2003, sources said.

But after she testified, Miller discovered that she had additional notes from the June 2003 conversation with Libby. That was well before Wilson on July 6, 2003 published an opinion piece in The New York Times accusing the White House of twisting intelligence on Iraq, but after reports of his mission had begun to surface.

A column by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times on May 6, 2003 may have been the trigger for the interest by Cheney's office, the sources said.

This explanation of Miller's is simply not credible. Just discovered the notes? Are you kidding me? I believe David Corn is right that the Miller matter has discredited th New York Times in a way that the Blair fiasco never could.

As an aside, it has long been my belief that it was the Kristof column that triggered the Rove attack on Wilson:

For those who can add 2 plus 2, the conclusion is obvious -- the classified information improperly, (and probably illegally) leaked by Rove and Libby, came from the June 2003 State Dep't memo. All Rovegate roads lead there. Not a new story, we have said this for quite a while. But Pincus' story reminds of this central fact. But it does lead me to one piece of speculation - Judith Miller may have been given the memo for her review by Lewis Libby. And that is why her testimony is critical to the investigation.

It is in that context that the newly found notes of a June 2003 meeting between Miller and Libby become potentially critical. What appears to be Miller's initial attempt to cover up the existence of the June meeting demolishes any presumption, at least for me, that Miller's motivation was in fact the protection of her source. It simply is not credible. At this point, the credibility of the New York Times itself is at stake.

It is NOT unfair now to speculate that a New York Times reporter conspired with members of the Bush Administration in a scheme to discredit a critic of the Bush regime. It is NOT unfair now to speculate that the managment of the New York Times is engaged in obfuscation and stonewalling in order to cover up its complicity in Ms. Miller's actions.

The New York Times is now suspect on this story. They owe their readers and the nation a full explanation of what Ms. Miller was doing, why, what they knew, when they knew it, and what they did in reacton to it.

David Corn is right. This is much more serious for the New York Times than was the inanities written by Jayson Blair.

Daily Kos: The New York Times on the Brink


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