Author of AYN RAND NATION (St. Martin's Press) Follow on Twitter: @gary_weiss
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Monday, July 11, 2005
MORE ON MILLER: Sorry. I know that a lot of people are coming to this blog from my website, and want to read about the Mafia or Wall Street. Problem is, this Miller case bugs me.
I liked an exchange in Romenesko between the Los Angeles Times' op-ed page editor, Nick Goldberg, and Bill Keller of the NY Times. Goldberg offered Judy Miller the opportunity to respond to a column in his paper. Keller responded: "Sadly, Judy is not on a fellowship at some writers' colony. She is in JAIL. She is sleeping on a foam mattress on the floor, and her communications are, shall we say, constrained."
That's for sure. Anyone who has ever had to communicate with a federal prisoner can attest to that. There's something about being in a prison that is, shall we say, confining.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
THE FITZGERALD BRIEF: I just read the brief filed by Patrick Fitzgerald in Judith Miller's unsuccessful bid to remain free, and I found something in it that is particularly unfortunate.
Journalists are a vexacious group, and we rarely agree on much of anything. Unfortunately, that has come back to haunt Miller. Fitzgerald contends that "a number of journalists, First Amendment scholars and opinion leaders flatly disagree with the position Miller is taking at the behest of the New York Times." He goes on to cite Norman Pearlstine's controversial decision to hand over Matt Cooper's notes.
Fitzgerald highlights the following from Columbia Journalism Review:
Though reluctant to come out and say so publicly, it is clear that many reporters and press advocates are upset that the Times has allowed the Plame case to develop into a potential seminal test of the reporter’s privilege.The author of this article, Doug McCollam, objects to the way his article was used by Fitzgerald. He explains that "most journalists I spoke with didn't so much disagree with Miller's privilege claim as thought that the facts in the Plame case were unfavorable and unlikely to result in a legal victory for journalism (this proved correct). Given the unfavorable terrain, they thought it wiser for Miller and the Times to try and work something out with Fitzgerald rather than risk establishing a bad precedent on reporter's privilege."
He's right. It was not a great case for a number of reasons, and it's a shame the Times couldn't have figured out a way of resolving it. Fitzgerald has my permission to stick the preceding sentence into one of his briefs, but only if he includes the following sentence, which I used on my website: "The special prosecutor who is handling this case, Patrick Fitzgerald, has acted like a damn fool."
Saturday, July 09, 2005
MY TAKE ON JUDITH MILLER: I posted a letter on Romenesko's web site concerning the politically motivated attacks that have been launched against Miller. I've duplicated it below:
I'm disgusted by the politically motivated attacks on Judith Miller. One of the worst was the Los Angeles Times column by Rosa Brooks ("The Judith Miller Hug-Fest"), posted on [the Romenesko] website. Miller's alleged journalistic shortcomings have absolutely no bearing on her current predicament.
Brooks distorts the journalistic issue here. She says: "If a source with a clear political motivation passes along classified information that has no value for public debate but would endanger the career, and possibly the life, of a covert agent, is a journalist ethically permitted to 'out' the no-good sneak? You bet."
That is not what happened. A source (possibly Miller's source, possibly not) -- passed along information to a third party (Robert Novak). Miller was not "used" by anybody, because she did not write an article. Miller thus has every right to resist becoming an arm of law enforcement.
There can be no investigative journalism if sources were to believe that journalists can be hauled before a grand jury at any moment, and forced to reveal their identity.Brooks says, "there should be no obligation to go to jail to cover for a sleazeball."
Maybe in Brooks' world every source is a member of the Polo Club or the College of Cardinals. Not in mine.If reporters were to decide that the confidentiality of "sleazeballs" is not worth protecting, a lot of good sources are not going to come forward and a lot of good stories are not going to be written.
How's that for an unoriginal name for a blog? There's a reason for that. This blog should really be appearing on my website, www.gary-weiss.com. Unfortunately, my web publisher hasn't quite gotten the blogging machinery in gear just yet. So here I am, temporarily.
Why a blog?
Well, I'm hoping to use this to communicate with people who've read my book and my articles over the years, and give them an opportunity to sound off. Also I'd like to sound off a bit myself.
I'm at work on a second book but--sorry, I can't talk about that. Premature.
I just joined a consortium of investigative reporters who have come together to investigate the murder of Paul Klebnikov in Moscow a year.
But I can't talk about that either.
So what can I talk about? Well, pretty much anything else that comes into my mind. You won't find articles here, but rather musings, ramblings, and general nonsense. This is, after all, a blog.