Chris's Rants

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Wazzup with that?

Jay Rosen writes Judith Miller and Her Times on his blog at at the The Huffington Post:
In the mystifying drama of Judith Miller and her Times, I am as clueless as the next person about what's really going down. But it seems to me we're watching just that-- Judy Miller's New York Times.

It's kind of staggering, the way she has hijacked the institution with an 'epic collision' between herself and the state.
I have to admit, I am baffled by this turn of events. When Matt Cooper caved in at the 11th hour after Rove's attourney made a fool of himself and Cooper's legal counsel advised that they should accept the waiver that Rove had given long ago, I thought to myself that it seemed that Cooper could have done that more than a year earlier. Now, it turns out that Miller, after 85 days in prison, has essentially come to the same conclusion after discussing with Libby and his legal counsel; something that they could have done long ago.

This case could have been wrapped up before the elections; possibly to a very different outcome.

Jay concludes:
The problem with Miller's stand on principle is that other Washington journalists who deal in secrets found a way to maintain their principles without sharing that stand. So there must be something else to it beyond being a woman of her word. "The law presented Judy with a choice, said Keller on the Newshour in July. "She could betray her source and go free or she could go to jail." This is the epic collision Shafer spoke of.

But now we know she had a third choice: to seek a negotiated end to the stand off, which is what her new lawyer, Robert Bennett, eventually did, and also what Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post, to name two, earlier did.

Keller continues: "I think the choice she made is an honorable, principled, brave choice, and one that has been honored down the centuries in America." He and Miller always saw the case as a classic instance of civil disobedience. "The right of civil disobedience is based on personal conscience," Miller said in a statement before she was led to jail. "It is fundamental to our system and it is honoured throughout our history."

Here, I believe, is the error the Times made. Civil disobedience succeeds when there is clarity in purpose, cogency in argument, and transparency in action. None of which has been apparent in Miller's decisons. As Keller himself said in July about the prosecution: "This has been a kind of series of black holes, and I-- I honestly don't know what is at the heart of this case any more."

I'm afraid the answer is: Judy Miller.


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