Miller and the Times and Iraq
I'm not even going to try and keep track of the Judith Miller/Valerie Plame investigation story in real time. You've got people like Jay Rosen
to do that. But I thought I'd point out that Jack Shafer at Slate's Pressbox has a good summary
of what the real journalistic (as opposed to criminal-justice) story regarding Miller was and always will be---her incredible reporting about Weapons of Mass Destruction previous to the invasion of Iraq. Shafer has been a critic of this reporting for a long time--I remember snide comments being made about their feud when he spoke at Columbia a year and a half ago--but he states that, for the record, he was for the invasion. For the record, I was not. But I know plenty of people who were more ambivalently against it, or at least partially for it, in great measure because of Miller's original reporting. George Bush's base probably doesn't read the New York Times as gospel, but given the Times's reputation even then
(and remember, most of this was before Jayson Blair), and given that Bush did not
win the popular vote in 2000, I wouldn't be surprised if historians will find that her reporting had a tangible effect on the administration's ability to muster so much support and approval. Given the heavy price we are paying in money, lives, blowback, and depleted security resources, that is quite the object lesson in the importance of journalism. I, too, would like to know more about her sources, and more about her methods.