Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bill Keller Confused About What To Do

The Times is still obsessed over WMD.

In a memo to staff, leaked to the AP, Bill Keller reveals a problem and a scapegoat.

I wish we had dealt with the controversy over our coverage of
WMD as soon as I became executive editor.
And along came Wilson. He was their hero. Wilson claimed he had debunked the Niger uranium claim and that the administration had ignored his report. He further claimed that Bush had hyped the intelligence and
misled us into war. While quietly blaming Judith Miller, who had done most of the WMD reporting, the paper could worship Wilson. See! This is how the Times could have printed all those WMD articles that turned out to be wrong. It's Bush's fault!

"Oh, you're the one who saved our paper!". Remember that?

The Times was so concerned with criticism over WMD reporting, that they ignored criticism from the other direction (Look at Wilson! Explain Kristoff!) and it seems to have fubarred their judgment.

Wilson's right! The Administration is being vindictive! Judy betrayed us by not sticking it to Libby!

And this blame of Judy boils over and out into the open after her testimony in the Plame affair. The staff begin to sound like little Dowd clones. Both Maureen in her piece (firewall), and the Times reporters who dissed Judy a week ago, insinuate that Judy wasn't forthcoming and was too vague with her testimony.

But what is alarming from our newspaper of record, and to First Amendment proponents, is this quote from Keller's memo:
But if I had known the details of Judy's entanglement with Libby, I'd have been more careful in how the paper articulated its defense, and perhaps more willing than I had been to support efforts aimed at exploring compromises.
Is he willing to entertain the possibility of throwing a source to the dogs if he learns that a reporter actually, you know, had a source?

That a source was government friendly, that he didn't know Judy was talking with him, that his reporter is more of an independent cat than an obedient dog, means that this particular source need not be protected?

He's perfectly willing to assume as fact that Judy was in essence lying to Taubman when she told him she was not on the receiving end of what he calls "an anti-Wilson whispering campaign."

Mr. Keller, if there was no whispering campaign, Judy couldn't have been on the receiving end.

Oh, you're relying on her notes too?

The first 'lesson' you should learn from this is: train your reporters to take better notes.

The second is that your anger is directed at the wrong person. Are you afraid of taking a critical look at what Wilson told Kristoff and wrote in his op-ed? Are you willing to examine the SSCI report and take some notes on your own? The New York Times is happy to list the bi-partisan report in timelines, but are they willing to actually, you know, read it?

The Washington Post did.

But not a word from the Times.

Wilson was just too perfect as a savior and the paper is still using him as their template.


MnMnM said...

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the Times should be a-changin'.

Good Bye Sulzberger, Keller, and Miller!

Fitzgerald's response:

Come politician's, journalists
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the indictments they are a-comin'.

--Bob Dylan

Judy plans to write a book.
Now that's a novel idea.
It certainly won't be based on facts

David Thomson said...

“But what is alarming from our newspaper of record, and to First Amendment proponents..”

My faith in the First Amendment is not even slightly shaken. The New York Times is indeed a leftist rag that is undeserving of our respect. It is becoming widely known---even by center-left readers---that its contents must be taken with a huge grain of salt. This guarantees future financial setbacks. The new media are increasing in importance. Keller’s New York Times is becoming less relevant. I predict that by the time of the 2008 elections---it will be barely little more than a modest player.

terrye said...

This whole thing is just so stupid.

Where were all these doubting Thomases when Clinton bombed Iraq in 1998?

I don't think the Bushies sold them a line of goods, I think it was the other way around.

Syl said...

I love M'n'M's.

Thanks for the poetics!


vnjagvet said...

Just One Minute linked you!!!! On the Keller thing!!!! Great!!!!

Anonymous said...

Abramson is denying that Miller tried to write about Plame?

This is crazy...first she is a puppet of the Administration, but when Libby supposedly provides actual news about Joe Wilson, she doesn't pursue it? How effective a puppet was she?

The Miller quote about Abramson saying there was 'no public interest' rings truer than anything the Times has said so far about this whole matter.

Jack said...

I am still a subscriber but only because I like to sit in my rattan chair on the terrace overlooking the blue Atlantic and do the Sunday crossword puzzle and acrostic. If I could find a local paper that published that, I would be ex-NYT. Its all it has going for it unfortunately. Everything else is just pendantic, gratuitous, condensending, pithy propaganda (and that is just the style section).