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October 17, 2005

Judith Miller and UN-Bashing
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

ouch.  Barbara Crossette, the longtime New York Times UN diplomatic correspondent and bureau chief (now retired ) has this little post over at the Poynter Institute, recalling Miller's authorship of some of the nastiest -- and Crossette says, unsubstantiated -- Times reporting on the oil-for-food scandal.  I'll leave it to our resident UN expert to comment on the guts of the stories, but all of you progressives who've decided the UN is hopeless (the ones I complained about last week), here's another reason to re-think. 

As for me, I'm sadly wondering whether I need to reassess my fondness for Miller's God Has Ninety-Nine Names.


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The question is how to make the UN a place that inspires hope again.

Not by giving Mugabe, an expert in mass starvation in the most gruesome sense of the word, the microphone at the FAO.

Not by bashing UN-basher Judith Miller either.

The level of the discussion and the facts on the ground have reached a very uninspiring level.

It is truly amazing to me that the Times has not thrown Judy and her belongings onto the street for clearly abusing every standard of journalistic integrity, including sleeping with sources, which people are unfortunately too polite to comment on, but which everyone in DC knows about. Anyone with a high degree of knowledge about the Iraqi opposition in the years after the Gulf War (and certainly by time the Iraq Liberation Act was passed), especially the dealings of the INC, knows that Judy Miller was unabashedly pimping for Chalabi and his neocon supporters. That her editors at the Times ignored this places an enormous amount of blame squarely upon them. The mea culpa published last Sunday by the Times only raises more questions about the competence of editors and journalistic integrity. The close ties of Miller and her neocon associates with the Govt. of Israel and its proxies in DC are studiously overlooked when it is so blatantly obvious where her loyalties lie on all things Middle Eastern. Bottom line is that her agenda has always been so transparent, whether reporting on WMD or the UN, that it is truly stupifying that she continues on the Gray Lady's dime and has not been thoroughly trashed by a reputable journalist who isn't cowed into ignoring the obvious so as not to be considered un-p.c. and tabloidy. I just hope she's convicted of a felony so she can't profit from her book sales.

Miller's misconduct is an extreme example of the lack of professionalism found in so much of the corporate media. Miller certainly deserves to be fired for propagandizing instead of reporting, but she certainly is not alone in that regard.

More important is that readers demand that the corporate media stop propagandizing for the GOP. The Times' readers are being ripped off big time and have every right to demand a better product.

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