Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Burning Down The House...

Last week, CNN's Larry King scored a major 'get' -- the first major interview with Judith Miller after she departed The New York Times.

For some reason, the following
exchange struck me as somewhat odd:

KING: Want to be a columnist?

MILLER: Oh gosh. Well, I'd like to follow in the large feet of Tom Friedman and Bill Safire. The amazing Bill Safire, whose friendship and guidance and standards. The role he set, I think, has been a model for all columnists. Jim Hoagland of The Washington Post. People I read and admire. I just think they do amazing, provocative work. I might want to try that one day.

KING: He stood up for you through this whole thing, Bill Safire.

MILLER: He certainly did. And in all of the years, all of those great columnists at The New York Times, I can never remember that any one of them ever attacked a colleague. And I'm just so grateful for Bill's support and other columnists on the paper. Tom Friedman was very laudatory. And also at other papers, Bob Woodward was very supportive of me in jail. He's defended the importance of the reporter-source relationship. I've had a lot of support within my profession. I'm grateful for it.
It came as little surprise that Friedman and Safire would be supportive of Miller -- the former because of a common interest in similar areas of the world, the latter for reasons both ideological and philosphical. It also seemed likely that the left side of the blog world would happily lump Friedman, Safire and Miller as part of the same neo-con "cabal" (albeit, perhaps putting Friedman in the Democratic-leaning side of the neo-cons). Hoagland could also be seen in that same framework.

Woodward didn't seem to fit. Yeah, he had kept secret for more than three decades the
ultimate anonymous source. But, Watergate was also the quintessential "abuse of power" story that had influenced an entire generation of reporters. Miller seemed like a journalist more comfortable with "official" sources -- perhaps too close, given Bill Keller's use of the enigmatic word "entanglement" to describe Miller's relationship with I. Lewis Libby.

The heroic crusader whose coverage of a scandal in the heart of the White House brought down a Republican presidency is now happily commenting -- in arguably supportive language -- the current Republican White House scandal. He does this, all the while,
NEVER revealing to Post editors that he himself had been informed about Plame's identity by a "senior administration official" in the summer of 2003 -- before Libby spoke with Miller!


No wonder the left side of the blogosphere is
going nuts. Though some will undoubtedly say they won't be surprised.

Looking at what has suddenly become of Bob Woodward stuff, one can easily be reminded of a classic lyric by The Clash. The song is "
Death or Glory":

'N every gimmick hungry yob digging gold from rock 'n roll,
Grabs the mike to tell us he'll die before he's sold,
But I believe in this and it's been tested by research,
He, who f***ks nuns, will later join the church.


Gimmicks? Like "Deep Throat", perhaps? Or William Casey's mysterious death-bed, "interview"? And when one is well-traveled between competing "churches" such as the FBI and the CIA, to which one do you end up having the strongest allegiance? And what about

The (grand) jury is still out whether Patrick Fitzgerald will actually obtain a conviction of any White House official in connection with the Valerie Plame case. However, he has already drawn much blood. With The Post's Bob Woodward now following The Time's Judith Miller into the light of questionable ethical journalistic behavior, the twin liberal "papers of record" have come crashing down into a heap of damaged integrity.

If this is "Fitzmas," liberal bloggers might want to find a place in which to return their gifts.

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