"I wholeHEARTEDLY disagree with you."
May 2, 2015 5:39 AM   Subscribe

Jon Stewart's April 29 interview with Judith Miller, formerly of the New York Times, was one of those serious, detailed, quietly angry interviews he does so well. You should watch it.
posted by Paul Slade (85 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
Soon on rawstory.com, Jon Stewart EVISCERATES Judith Miller!
posted by dis_integration at 5:41 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Honestly I think evisceration is a fairly accurate description.
posted by Skorgu at 6:02 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


How did he not just lose his shit?

At the end when he put the book down after Miller laughably tried to deflect blame about deflecting blame would be the point where most people would be taking off their shoes.

Amazing and heartbreaking at the same time.
posted by fullerine at 6:02 AM on May 2, 2015


Soon on rawstory.com, Jon Stewart EVISCERATES Judith Miller!

Not quite, but pretty close
posted by briank at 6:02 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fucking hell. Can I not see this outside the US?
posted by hal_c_on at 6:15 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Honestly I think evisceration is a fairly accurate description.

My wife was watching this on Hulu while I was down in the basement ironing a shirt, and although I couldn't distinguish what they were actually saying, when I came back up I said "It sounds like he was totally eviscerating her." "Yeah, he kinda did."
posted by LionIndex at 6:18 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of the criticisms of Stewart (from the Left anyway) is that he softballs a lot of interviews and doesn't really hold people's feet to the fire, even if most interview shows don't really do any better. I wonder if this interview is how things will go from now until he leaves, since it's not like he has to worry about getting new guests for the show without intimidating them.
posted by LionIndex at 6:24 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


For her sake I hope hell isn't as bad as its marketing; she worked very, very hard to earn her ticket and apparently isn't having buyers' remorse.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:33 AM on May 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Fucking hell. Can I not see this outside the US?

Er... yes... (torrent)
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:35 AM on May 2, 2015


A friend's husband suffering PTSD from several tours in Iraq just recently had "an accident" with his firearm at his house. They buried him yesterday. I hold this woman personally responsible along with the administration that sent him to be grist for their money mill.
posted by dozo at 6:38 AM on May 2, 2015 [38 favorites]


Whoa.. I watched the torrent and it was edited down to about a 7 minute interview. This is 22 minutes and well worth it.
posted by johnpowell at 6:41 AM on May 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


JS: I mean I appreciate you coming on the program. These discussions always make me incredibly sad because I feel like they -- they point to institutional failure at the highest levels, and no one will take responsibility for it.

JM: I think they point to --

JS: And they pass the buck to every individual, other than themselves, and it's sad.

JM: I think they point to intelligence failures that I still worry about every day, because we're still relying on the same intelligence communities to give us information about Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and the other countries that we have to deal with.

JS: Well hopefully, given the same effort, we'll get to invade all of them soon.


GET'EM JONNY-BOY, GET'EM.
posted by johnnydummkopf at 6:43 AM on May 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am utterly amazed that people like Miller even go on to speak with Stewart. Yeah, I know she has a book to push. But, still, she has to be aware of John's feelings toward her and her reporting, and she has to be familiar with how Stewart's interviews often go with people he disagrees with. (And, if she doesn't, she needs a new publicist.)

I'm sure gonna miss John when he's gone. I doubt anyone will be filling that particular void any time soon.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:48 AM on May 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


So wait, which one of them is the journalist now?
posted by klarck at 6:58 AM on May 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


There's no such thing as bad publicity? I mean, in the Internet Age that does seem to be more true than it was 50 years ago.
posted by sneebler at 7:00 AM on May 2, 2015


I'm sure she'll sell plenty of copies.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:01 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Among the many rationalizations she's offering one line that goes: "Sure, I was manipulated but that happens. And besides, it was for the public good, because Bush & Cheney had the country's best interest at heart."
posted by mark k at 7:23 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


She probably gambled that she was going to get the mellow, bored, shoulder-shrugging, ass-kissing Jon Stewart of the last year or two, especially since the return from the Rosewater hiatus. Stewart's staff habitually invites people with books and movies to peddle, and then (by his own admission) Stewart barely pays any attention at all to the "interviews" he's doing, because -- well, for all the reasons, stated and unstated, that he's hanging it up. As he put it, “Have you seen the show? Mostly, I’m not even listening. But I can bullshit anyone for six minutes.”
posted by blucevalo at 7:34 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Remember the Judith Miller.
posted by Sphinx at 7:36 AM on May 2, 2015


One. She went from the New York Times to Fox News. Maybe it's more money but it must have been a step down in status.

Two. I don't understand how people can say that they didn't know the WMD stuff was a lie. I'm not an intelligence analyst and I knew they were lying. The fact that the reason for invading Iraq kept changing every few months was the indicator.
posted by rdr at 7:59 AM on May 2, 2015 [32 favorites]


As he put it, “Have you seen the show? Mostly, I’m not even listening. But I can bullshit anyone for six minutes.”

You do realize he was joking when he said that, right?
posted by yoink at 8:04 AM on May 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Fucking hell. Can I not see this outside the US?

Well I was able to see it here in the UK because I subscribe to Sky's basic cable package, which includes Comedy Central UK as one of the channels it bundles in. Somehow though, I sense that's not the solution you're looking for...
posted by Paul Slade at 8:25 AM on May 2, 2015


Fucking hell. Can I not see this outside the US?

Hola probably is the solution you're looking for.
posted by PJMcPrettypants at 8:33 AM on May 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


On the bright side, the policies Judith Miller enabled were also not available in my country.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:40 AM on May 2, 2015 [52 favorites]


This is brutal, but I'm not convinced that any of Stewart's points even sunk in with Miller. She came off in this interview as though she's convinced herself so thoroughly over the past decade that none of this is her fault that she actually believes it.
posted by KGMoney at 8:45 AM on May 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


I tried it, but I can't stand that denial of responsibility she claims in the first bit. I couldn't bare to listen to more of that bullshit, no matter how much he eviscerates her. I mean, I want to get my grrr on as much as the next person, but this is grrr'ing at a wall, ya know?
posted by symbioid at 9:02 AM on May 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Sorry, but this video is unavailable from your location".

Quietly angry? Indeed.
posted by Mezentian at 9:05 AM on May 2, 2015


I assume The Daily Show is the only talk show in the US where an author can go on and expect a bump in sales, so Miller's publisher was probably eager to get her on. And Miller perhaps though Stewart would be more receptive to her explanation of how many people going back to the Clinton admin were involved in the Iraq WMD debacle. It's a perfectly OK argument...unless you were one of those involved in the debacle. Which is why Stewart quickly agreed with her on that and steered to interview to her culpability.
posted by riruro at 9:05 AM on May 2, 2015


It would be nice to put the audio from this on soundcloud. I'll try to figure it out.
posted by mecran01 at 9:07 AM on May 2, 2015


I am sure this is a kickass interview, but .to whom must I pay to see it?.


I am not subtle.
posted by Mezentian at 9:09 AM on May 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


I personally didn't think Stewart got in any really good counters, and it didn't seem like an "evisceration" at all. I thought Miller was able to push a couple things through the door, like repeating how so many agencies all agreed, just the basic idea that the intelligence seemed credible. It seemed like one person dancing around while an older, tireder person took some swipes but felt there wasn't anything to prove because they'd already won this fight a hundred times. It would be interesting to see Daily Show segments back from the runup to the war.
posted by nom de poop at 9:11 AM on May 2, 2015 [5 favorites]




Judith Miller is the OJ Simpson of reporters that believe it wasn't their fault.

She's clearly one of those dreadfully earnest people that has never, ever experienced anyone standing up to them and saying, "No, you're wrong, your work is unimpressive, you do not win this contest." In her mind, she has never failed at anything.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:40 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


in that vein, I wonder if we'll ever get a Judith Miller "If I did it" book in the future.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 9:43 AM on May 2, 2015


"Evisceration" feels like the wrong word to me, because it suggests a wild, uncontrolled, lashing out - and that's not what Stewart does here at all. For me, his power in interviews like this one springs precisely from the fact that he's so calm, controlled and forensic in his approach. He's a principled grown-up, never less than courteous, but persistent and well-informed enough to ensure his subject never wriggles off the hook. I'm gong to miss him a lot when he quits the show.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:46 AM on May 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am utterly amazed that people like Miller even go on to speak with Stewart. Yeah, I know she has a book to push. But, still, she has to be aware of John's feelings toward her and her reporting, and she has to be familiar with how Stewart's interviews often go with people he disagrees with. (And, if she doesn't, she needs a new publicist.)

I'm pretty sure the conservative authors go on the show hoping for liberal Hate purchasing.
posted by srboisvert at 9:54 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've blissfully forgotten a lot of the details. Refreshing my memory I found a 2004 piece from the NYRB, which is worth reading, at least if you have the stomach for it.
Now They Tell Us

Covers a lot of the elements discussed in the interview in much more detail. Some obvservations:

- That 2nd piece that "covered" the doubts--the one Miller highlights as proof of her chops--is hardly that. Six paragraphs into it before the first mention of any dispute in the intelligence community and far more time spent on the certainty by "more senior" officials. Despite the fact that her source was one of those people who was always right . . .
- That source, Albright, was frustrated by the article and went to the Washington Post. The article there included the point that the Bush administration was trying to silence dissenting voices in the intelligence community.
- Although Miller harps on how the reader could "evaluate" evidence since she named Chalabi as a source, the Times wouldn't report how full of shit everyone knew Chalabi was for another year.

You could go on and on but what's the point? Miller had ample opportunity to do real reporting but she didn't uncover or didn't report on the big stories, and instead just ended up laundering the administration sales pitch for the public.
posted by mark k at 10:18 AM on May 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Remember that letter that Scooter Libby wrote to ol' Judy when she was in jail about the aspens and their roots connecting, etc? I wanted Jon to ask her about that. What was THAT about? Certainly that didn't pass the smell test.

Daily Kos, from the time.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:24 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


So her argument is that yes, the administration did emphasize weapons of mass destruction, because it was the most frightening narrative that would garner public support, but there were other, less frightening, substantive reasons that were also in place that justified the war. Huh.

Here is a dropbox link to an mp3 of the interview.
posted by mecran01 at 10:42 AM on May 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wish that despicable creature nothing but ill.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:15 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


The (fictional) movie The Green Zone, with Matt Damon, includes a thinly veiled Judith Miller character, played by Amy Ryan.

Miller: At least tell me how it happened. How does this happ... how does someone like you write something that's not true? Tell me.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:21 AM on May 2, 2015


I wish there was a simple skin test or cheek swab that would determine that you were incapable of shame. You could be barred from employment above a certain level of responsibility, in much the same way that the blind are barred from driving school buses.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:30 AM on May 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just watched the whole interview, and I agree with Jon Stewart's closing words, "these discussions always make me sad." I am saddened that Jon Stewart has such weak criticism for the one journalist that was most influential in spreading the Bush administration's lies, the one person speaking with the support and full authority of the most important media organization in the so-called Liberal Media, the one voice that could most easily drown out the Administration's liberal critics.

But more than sadness, I feel disgust. Remember this is Judith Miller, who got fired from the NYTimes for journalistic malpractice in her reporting about Iraq. This is Judith Miller, who went to jail rather than testify about her role in blowing the cover of CIA agents that knew the truth about the Bush Administration's lies.

No, I take it all back. I feel rage. I am enraged at Jon Stewart for giving Judith Miller airtime to push her propaganda one more time. Judith Miller has given the entire world incontestable evidence that she should never be taken seriously as a journalist, and that it would be a grievous error to put her on TV or to publish one single word of her scribblings. Judith Miller has disqualified herself from public discussion, everything she does is intended to advance the agenda of Judith Miller. The fact that she must prove the righteousness of the Bush Administration, in order to prove her own righteousness, only shows how hard people will cling to their beliefs, despite convincing evidence that they were wrong, have always been wrong, always will be wrong, and will always lie about it.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:58 AM on May 2, 2015 [7 favorites]




I assume The Daily Show is the only talk show in the US where an author can go on and expect a bump in sales,

Pretty much any non-disastrous television appearance will result in an increase of book sales. In the case of The Daily Show, many authors like to go on because it's a longer interview than standard news shows. Also, because it's cooler than being interviewed by say, Savannah Guthrie. Also, most guests simply expect interviews to be easy, not antagonistic.
posted by zarq at 12:16 PM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am saddened that Jon Stewart has such weak criticism for the one journalist that was most influential in spreading the Bush administration's lies, the one person speaking with the support and full authority of the most important media organization in the so-called Liberal Media, the one voice that could most easily drown out the Administration's liberal critics.

De gustibus, I suppose. To my mind, he carefully picked apart a particular key article and her own systematic failure to follow what good journalistic practices - with particularly bad consequences known to all. It was the kind of interview that provides an object lesson for the watcher in how not to be a journalist.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:33 PM on May 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


(The whole thing smacked with shades of The Unknown Known, which could have been subtitled "how to not be introspective".)
posted by Going To Maine at 12:35 PM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


JM: I think they point to intelligence failures that I still worry about every day, because we're still relying on the same intelligence communities to give us information about Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and the other countries that we have to deal with.

This was the bit that got me, and I wish Stewart had hit it home here, because it's not just the intelligence failures that are concerning; it's the journalism failures that I still worry about far more. I can't judge whether the intelligence community is doing better. I can tell you that journalists are still repeating whatever narrative a moderately competent PR campaign is spreading this week.
posted by zachlipton at 1:01 PM on May 2, 2015


Here's a mirror of the video that should work in any country.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:09 PM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


He's joking about invading Iran. But you know there are massive plans sitting there ready to go and updated every few weeks.

There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare. - Sun Tzu

The part where she had good sources she trusted who had never been wrong and never deceived her? I do not believe that for a microsecond. It is almost, if not quite, logically false. Definitely qualifies as too good to be true.
posted by bukvich at 2:12 PM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


So wait, which one of them is the journalist now?

The funny one.

Or, (as always is the case) the one who doesn't work at Fox.
posted by el io at 3:36 PM on May 2, 2015


This is Judith Miller, who went to jail rather than testify about her role in blowing the cover of CIA agents that knew the truth about the Bush Administration's lies.

Whoa there... Lets not attack the one (?) virtuous thing she did in her career. Forcing reporters to reveal their sources is an awful thing... Look, the intelligence community could figure it out without her giving away her sources. Forcing her to reveal her sources is something the executive branch has been really gung-ho about as of late (in both parties), and all journalists should try to prevent this from occurring.

That being said, we should all be very wary of self-serving 'high ranking intelligence figures' that are anonymous and say things that serve the powers-that-be. And the NYTimes (among others) should start enforcing their own policies regarding anonymous sources (ie: anonymous sourcing should not protect the government, it should be used to protect those that would blow the whistle on government).

Wow, now I just defended something Judith Miller did. Thanks a lot.

I need a shower.
posted by el io at 3:40 PM on May 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ooooh, a powerful male berates an old woman for her lapse in judgment; take that, military industrial media complex!

/Is it just me, or did Stewart scrape and bow when some of the actual [male] architects of the Iraq war came on his show?
posted by Renoroc at 4:55 PM on May 2, 2015


I am utterly amazed that people like Miller even go on to speak with Stewart. Yeah, I know she has a book to push. But, still, she has to be aware of John's feelings toward her and her reporting, and she has to be familiar with how Stewart's interviews often go with people he disagrees with.

The intelligence community was unanimous in telling her it was okay to appear on the show. UNANIMOUS.
posted by uosuaq at 5:09 PM on May 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


This was the bit that got me, and I wish Stewart had hit it home here, because it's not just the intelligence failures that are concerning; it's the journalism failures that I still worry about far more.

Yea, John missed the hit line there, that we're still relying on the same media failures as well.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:11 PM on May 2, 2015


Renoroc: Was he supposed to treat her with kid gloves because she was a woman?

He has been confrontational with guests occasionally, but he is often deferential towards controversial guests (although he certainly calls O'reilly on his shit in a frenemy sort of way).

Also, in my mind she isn't old yet (she's 67, 70 is old - a personal definition of mine), and she's still actively working (for Fox News).

While she might not be at the height of her power, I'd say when she was (advocating for the Iraq war) she held more sway and power than Stewart.
posted by el io at 5:12 PM on May 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ooooh, a powerful male berates an old woman for her lapse in judgment; take that, military industrial media complex!

So one of the biggest unrepentant cheerleaders for the war, a journalist who repeatedly and unquestioningly passed off anonymous tips from the Bush Administration as ironclad evidence for war, and someone who inexplicably failed to detect an agenda from Ahmed Chalabi should, what, get a pass because she's a 67-year-old woman and Jon Stewart is male?

Miller was not some sort of powerless weakling. She wrote numerous page 1 stories for the New York Times, traveled extensively to war zones, and continues to work as a journalist for Fox News.

In any case, she just wrote a book about her lapses in judgement, which she continues to insist were just swell and she bears no responsibility for anything whatsoever. She was on the show voluntarily to promote that book, like you do. Stewart asked critical questions about her narrative and her sources, a practice Miller was seemingly unfamiliar with, as she never bothered to do it in the lead-up to the Iraq War.

You make it sound like Stewart somehow hauled an 86-year-old CIA janitor and grandmother of 28 on national television against her and personally blamed her for not stopping the war.
posted by zachlipton at 5:17 PM on May 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


Ooooh, a powerful male berates an old woman for her lapse in judgment; take that, military industrial media complex!

Great, my eyes rolled so hard that they're stuck in the up position and I look like a jackass trying to type this. I hope you're happy.
posted by indubitable at 5:36 PM on May 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


Ooooh, a healthy, athletic young man in the prime of life attacks an old handicapped guy on life support!

#RenorocFilmReviews #StarWars
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:46 PM on May 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


Wow, now I just defended something Judith Miller did. Thanks a lot.

Well if it makes you feel any better, she didn't do it for any ethical reasons you are supporting. She did it to cover her ass.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:53 PM on May 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


I don't mean to yell but WHY DIDN'T HE DO THIS TO DONALD RUMSFELD? He (DR) had a lot more power in this game than Judith Miller.......
posted by bluesky43 at 6:21 PM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


At the time, I think lots of people thought they had WMD. I figured they probably did. But it was clear to me there was a rush to war and that they kept changing the justification for war. Something didn't smell right. Plus, even if they had WMD, that wasn't a sufficient justification for war. That was what I thought then.

If I had my current level of cynicism (thanks, Bushies) I'd have seen through all of it. But I simply wasn't prepared for and didn't expect, the Nietzschean nihilism of the GWB administration.
posted by persona au gratin at 6:26 PM on May 2, 2015


I don't mean to yell but WHY DIDN'T HE DO THIS TO DONALD RUMSFELD?

You're right, of course, although Rumsfeld was far more contrite and open to the possibility that "mistakes were made" than Miller, who apparently regrets nothing. Stewart, for his part, regrets not hitting harder on the Rumsfeld interview and has said much the same about his interview with John Yoo.

Perhaps he saw this interview with Miller as trying to make up for that a little bit in his last couple months with the show. Yes, the bulk of the blame has to go to the officials who sold the war, but journalists like Miller not only failed to do their jobs, they allowed themselves to be used as salesmen themselves. With a screwup this big, there's plenty of blame to go around.
posted by zachlipton at 6:46 PM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


That NYRB piece is devastating.
posted by persona au gratin at 7:00 PM on May 2, 2015


I don't mean to yell but WHY DIDN'T HE DO THIS TO DONALD RUMSFELD? He (DR) had a lot more power in this game than Judith Miller.......

I see him warm up the audience before the show every night. Any and every time anyone asks him about interviews he regrets not doing a better job on, he answers Rumsfeld. I've heard it countless times.
posted by nevercalm at 7:02 PM on May 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


At the time, I think lots of people thought they had WMD.

Look, he was a monster... But...

I specifically remember him practically begging the UN team to go anywhere they wanted and look at anything they wanted. He was begging the world not to invade him.

Yes, lots of people thought he had WMD, but that's largely because they were treated to a drumbeat of lies and propaganda from the press (and government).

While I'm sure I've been successfully lied to and duped by the press on many occasions, but I personally was quite skeptical about those lies. So were hundreds of thousands of people marching in the streets before the invasion, protesting the invasion before it began.
posted by el io at 7:07 PM on May 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Comment vanished. Anyway, I said that it was clear to me at the time the nuke stuff was bullshit, and that was what they used to lie us in to war.
posted by persona au gratin at 7:32 PM on May 2, 2015


Miller had ample opportunity to do real reporting

One of the headlines of the piece she holds up as "real reporting" was something like: "White House Says Iraq Is Significant Threat," which, when I heard it, reminded me that Miller was doing the exact job I expect from a journalist: listen to what powerful people have to say, transcribe it, and spread it to the masses.

Not all of the intelligence services agreed about the evidence for Iraq's nuclear program. Iraq was picked as target for American regime-change to, in my opinion, remake a friendly nation in the MidEast, with 9/11 and any other justifications thrown in.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:48 PM on May 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Iraq was step 1 in the neoconservative reverse domino theory that was going to "reboot" the statist economies of the middle east and make them into libertarian American clients. Everything else was some degree of bullshit.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:11 AM on May 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ooooh, a powerful male berates an old woman for her lapse in judgment; take that, military industrial media complex!

/Is it just me, or did Stewart scrape and bow when some of the actual [male] architects of the Iraq war came on his show?


This is actually some really vile misogyny. Miller is an adult capable of making decisions and should be held responsible for them.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:15 AM on May 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


el io: " Lets not attack the one (?) virtuous thing she did in her career."

I've always assumed that if she hadn't gone to jail and had given up her sources, she would not be alive today, and she knew that.
posted by rhizome at 10:15 AM on May 3, 2015


I've always assumed that if she hadn't gone to jail and had given up her sources, she would not be alive today, and she knew that.

Meh... CIA isn't too keen on assassinating US citizens that are in the spotlight. Why else do you think Snowden is alive today?
posted by el io at 12:44 PM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love how she kept repeating that it was known that Iraq had WMD, but failed to explain why this was known. It was known that Iraq had WMD because the USA sold those weapons to Iraq in non-secret deals.

So yes, Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction", provided that we stretch that deliberately ambiguous term to cover the chemical weapons the USA allowed him to purchase.

What he didn't have, never had, and never had the slightest chance of obtaining, were nukes. But Judith Miller stoked fears of Saddam Hussein getting/having nukes to justify the war, and she had to know that was total bullshit.
posted by sotonohito at 7:08 PM on May 3, 2015


el io I disagree that it was virtuous for her to have agreed to be the agent for a deliberate, partisan, hit job designed specifically to endanger a secret agent in the field in retaliation for that agent's husband telling the truth, and then to refuse to disclose who had contracted her for that hit job.
posted by sotonohito at 7:12 PM on May 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


sontonhito: It might be a hairsplitting distinction, but I don't respect her at all for running those stories; she shouldn't have used those sources. But after she used them, she was obligated to protect them.
posted by el io at 7:44 PM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not to defend Miller, but my understanding is she never published Valerie Plame's identity or anything on the topic. She did learn about it from Libby, and would go to jail for 12 weeks until Libby released her from her pledge to keep her source confidential, but she never printed it. The whole saga doesn't do much to save her reputation as an unquestioning tool of the Bush Administration, but at least she and her editors had the sense not to ruin Plame's career for little purpose other than retaliating against Wilson.
posted by zachlipton at 8:48 PM on May 3, 2015


el io: "CIA isn't too keen on assassinating US citizens that are in the spotlight."

The FBI, on the other hand, and there's been several years that she wasn't in the spotlight, to whatever degree she really was in the public consciousness.
posted by rhizome at 9:47 PM on May 3, 2015


Just to be clear - she was/is a propagandist, a tool of a cadre of powerful men of dubious intent. That she continues to be listened to as anything other than a repugnant grosteque is a bracing condemnation of her publishers - that they would be willing to get her stink all over themselves.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:39 PM on May 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Calling Judith Miller an "old woman" to diminish her significance as a subject of critique is not only wrong, it's misogyny and ageism disguised as concern for the poor dear. Or it's disingenuous support for the war crimes she legitimized. She's hella younger than Hillary Clinton. Should we give HRC a pass on voting for the Iraq war because she was an old woman (even then older than Miller is now, I believe) at the time? Never mind her aiding and abetting war criminality as a level of professional misconduct that deserves no excuse making.

Fuck Judith Miller. And thank goodness for Stewart. I'll miss his epic takedowns of the worst of the worst, as few and far between as they were.

Also:
On the bright side, the policies Judith Miller enabled were also not available in my country.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow


You're Canadian, right? Last I checked you guys paid a pretty price for the pointless Iraq war as well, and your policies were certainly influenced by the consensus Miller helped conjure.
posted by spitbull at 4:48 AM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Calling Judith Miller an "old woman" to diminish her significance as a subject of critique is not only wrong, it's misogyny and ageism disguised as concern for the poor dear

And it wholly unnecessary. What I was taken aback was that a NYT 'Reporter' didn't ever think that her job was to find out and report The TRUTH, as opposed to her reporting, paraphrasing, "The information that the White House was using to develop policy..." or some hogwash...

I believe "Hack" is wholly adequate.
posted by mikelieman at 5:38 AM on May 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


el io, I disagree because I don't think any reasonable interpretation of the concept of journalist/source applies there.

The whole idea that Miller was protecting a source buys into the insidious poison of the modern approach to the government releasing information by "leaking" it. But, of course, when the government authorizes the anonymous release of information it isn't really a leak, it's just the government releasing the information without owning that it's releasing the information.

Protecting a source applies and is meaningful if the source has released information that their employer or some other agency wanted to keep secret, not if the source releases information with the permission, and indeed on the order (implicit or explicit) of their employer. Who, exactly, was going to harm Libby for following Bush administration orders and releasing Plame's identity in revenge for her husband crossing the Bush administration?

It's like the Obama administration's obscene fan dance around drone strikes. They "leak" information that drone strikes are the best thing since sliced bread, that drone strikes have (yet again) killed the "number two man" in [insert the Foreign Brown Menace of the week], or otherwise been essential in protecting mom, freedom, and apple pie. But then if anyone wants to actually ask about the drone program, the Obama administration claims the whole thing is super duper double secret classified and that to even acknowledge that it exists, much less discuss anything about it, would be horribly harmful to America and endanger your children while they are sleeping in bed.

So no, I don't think source/journalist ethics and protection even remotely apply to Libby and Miller. Libby was doing his job, providing information the White House wanted the press to have to the press, the only trick is that the White House wanted to pretend that it didn't release that information and Miller was willing to play along in their game.
posted by sotonohito at 7:58 AM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


you guys paid a pretty price for the pointless Iraq war as well, and your policies were certainly influenced by the consensus Miller helped conjure.

Spitbull, you are correct, but it's more because our prime minister is a US Republican in all but name.
posted by sneebler at 12:11 PM on May 4, 2015


Should we give HRC a pass on voting for the Iraq war because she was an old woman (even then older than Miller is now, I believe) at the time?

Yes, only because she is still a billion times preferable to what the GOP is going to try to foist upon America.
posted by Renoroc at 7:07 PM on May 4, 2015


Should we give HRC a pass on voting for the Iraq war because she was an old woman (even then older than Miller is now, I believe) at the time?

The real question is, and always has been:

Is there probable cause to believe that [Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, et. al.] used deceit, craft, trickery, dishonest means -- including lies, false pretenses, misrepresentations, deliberate omissions, half-truths, false promises, and statements made with reckless indifference to their truth -- to obstruct, impede, or interfere with Congress' lawful government function of overseeing foreign affairs, relating to the invasion of Iraq?


That's 18 USC 371, btw. If the answer to this is "Yes", then no-one in congress could possibly be held accountable for a vote predicted on this fraud.
posted by mikelieman at 7:18 PM on May 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't actually watch this because I just ate lunch and it's Judith Milller talking with James O'Keefe.
posted by rdr at 2:12 PM on May 15, 2015


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