My First Post - What's Up with Lou and Judy?
It seems appropriate that my first blog post on media issues start with the last time I wanted to throw a brick at my TV screen -- CNN business icon Lou Dobbs' interview Tuesday with New York Times reporter Judith Miller.
On its face, it was the get of the moment: a sit-down with the reporter who had walked free, days earlier, after nearly three months in jail to protect a source in the ongoing federal investigation into who leaked the name of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Since it turned out Miller had gone to jail to protect a source -- I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff -- who had already allowed other reporters to reveal his name a year earlier, there were lots of questions for Miller (some of which I posed in my own story here.)
So why was Dobbs making like a one-man cheering section for Miller, serving up softball statements like: "I prefer that, as the Bush White House refers to them, I prefer evil doers be punished. And hopefully that we'll see the free press in this country certainly supported and enhanced by your sacrifice. We, again, respect you very much." If you can take much more of his baldfaced obsequiousness, check out the transcript here.
This, as my many cranky letter-writers assure me, is why many average readers/viewers hate bigshot journalists -- their hypocrisy. Since leaving prison, Miller has held a press conference, appeared on at least two TV shows, and revealed little about the substantive questions regarding her involvement in this entire issue -- all the while claiming she was making a strong stand for independent journalism. Even the explanation that she may not be commenting in full because she's still speaking with prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald came from her newspaper's executive editor, Bill Keller.
Well, on this one, I've got to agree with Village Voice critic Sydney Schanberg; Judy, it's time to stop with the fireside chats and tell us what you know, when you knew it and who told you. Because you're not just hurting Lou Dobbs' credibility with your empty public appearances; you're making journalism ethics look like just another politician's crafty dodge.
What do you think, dear reader? Has the Judy Miller saga reaffirmed your faith in crusading journalists, or just convinced you we're all too busy commiserating with our sources to tell real truths?