The good news is Judy Miller’s gone from the New York Times. The bad news is that Bill Keller had to eat a little crow to get rid of her. Why Keller should have to attenuate his criticisms of her in order to secure her separation from the paper is beyond me. It appears too much like a capitulation to her petty whims and hurt vanity:
As part of the settlement, Mr. Keller made public a personal letter that he wrote to Ms. Miller regarding a memo he sent to the staff on Oct. 21. In that memo, he spoke of his regrets in dealing slowly with problems surrounding Ms. Miller.
In his letter to her, Mr. Keller acknowledged that Ms. Miller had been upset with him over his use of the words “entanglement” and “engagement” in reference to her relationship with I. Lewis Libby Jr., her source and the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney.
“Those words were not intended to suggest an improper relationship,” Mr. Keller wrote.
Secondly, he noted that she took issue with his assertion that “Judy seems to have misled” Phil Taubman, the Washington bureau chief…
“I continue to be troubled by that episode,” Mr. Keller wrote. “But you are right that Phil himself does not contend that you misled him; and, of course, I was not a participant in the conversation between you and Phil.”
Ms. Miller wrote in her letter that she was gratified that Mr. Keller “has finally clarified remarks made by him that were unsupported by fact and personally distressing.”
She added, referring to Mr. Keller: “Some of his comments suggested insubordination on my part. I have always written the articles assigned to me, adhered to the paper’s sourcing and ethical guidelines and cooperated with editorial decisions, even those with which I disagreed.”
Everybody who has followed this episode understands that Miller did have an “improper relationship” with Libby (in a journalistic sense) and that she DID “mislead” Taubman in denying she had been the conduit for Libby’s leak. Keller and Miller can dress it up any way they want, but others will draw the proper conclusions.
Miller of course is her usual self-absorbed self. She’s leaving of course not because she did anything wrong (because, don’t you know, little Miss Judy never does wrong):
In [a] letter to be published in The New York Times on Thursday under the heading, “Judith Miller’s Farewell,” Ms. Miller said she was leaving partly because some of her colleagues disagreed with her decision to testify in the C.I.A. leak case.
“But mainly,” she wrote, “I have chosen to resign because over the last few months, I have become the news, something a New York Times reporter never wants to be.”
She noted that even before going to jail, she had “become a lightning rod for public fury over the intelligence failures that helped lead our country to war.” She said she regretted “that I was not permitted to pursue answers” to questions about those intelligence failures.
I’m not sure I’m reading that right: she claims she’s leaving because “colleagues disagreed with her decision to testify?” This lady is even more off her nut than I thought. No one at the Times disagrees with her decision TO testify. What they disagree with is her decision to REFUSE to testify (especially in light of the revelation that she bought her way out of jail with the same deal she was offered before she went in). And they disagree with her slovenly standards of journalism. In short, she has no credibility.
And you’re damn straight you weren’t permitted to pursue answers to questions about intelligence failures. Your idea of doing that was (according to you but also denied by Jill Abramson) to attempt to write a story smearing Joe Wilson because he dumped on your pal, Scoot. Why should Abramson have had any faith that you’d do any better or differently if you were pursuing broader answers to intelligence failures? Besides, part of the problem related to those failures was you yourself. You were the one who swallowed the intelligence hook line and sinker. You were the one who didn’t verify sources. You were the one who did no due diligence regarding information you learned from one of sloppiest, and most prevarication prone Administrations in memory. And you wrote the stories filled with falsehood and wishful thinking. Why should anyone at the Times have trusted you after that?
What I really dread is finding that some other national newspaper or periodical will be so star-struck by her Pulitzer and bedfellow contacts in the Administration that she’ll soon be working some other equally prestigious gigs to her former Times gig. That would be deeply unfortunate. The media should stay away with a ten foot pole. Let her write her books filled with defensive apologias. People will soon tire of her.