10/14/2005

Huffington: Catch-22 at the New York Times

It's put up or shut up time at the paper of record.

Now that Judge Hogan has lifted Judy Miller's contempt citation, there is no reason for the Times to hold back on its promised full accounting of the Miller story.

Rarely has so much been riding on a single article.

Especially internally. The frustration I've been reporting on since July has now spilled into the MSM with "nearly a dozen Times staffers" venting to Howard Kurtz. The Times newsroom is a powder keg ready to blow.

But the Times finds itself facing a vexing Catch-22. In order to quell the rising newsroom rebellion -- not to mention fulfill its obligation to the Times' readers -- the Miller reporting team of Landman, Van Natta, Liptak, and Scott needs to produce an article that tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what Bill Keller called Miller's "entanglement with the White House leak investigation." But how can they do that without going against the paper's unwavering editorial line in support of Miller?

As I've said before, coming clean on Miller will mean focusing not just on "the drama" of Miller's time behind bars but on her discredited reporting on WMD in Iraq -- the issue that brought her to the Plame dance in the first place. It will require Landman and company to interview the editors and reporters who observed first-hand Miller's actions during the period in question (and who are speaking privately about her journalistically dubious methods) -- including her tirade against Joe Wilson. It will entail the paper applying the same journalistic standards to the Judy Miller story it would apply to any other subject.

But how do you do that when your bosses are still sticking by the Judy-as-hero routine?

The Blog | Arianna Huffington: Catch-22 at the New York Times | The Huffington Post

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