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.

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