Judith Miller's First Amendment Conflict

There are differences and obvious conflicts between Judith Miller, the New York Times and the First Amendment principles involved. Judith Miller's "explanation" in the Times papers all that over.

The First Amendment Principle is, of course, of great importance. The need for journalists to write and think freely and to have and rely on sources is essential. The highest price must be paid for its protection. Journalists have been jailed for upholding this principle.

Judith Miller's article in the Times confirms the conflict between her and the Times and the conflict between her and significant First Amendment principles. By failing to answer questions she certainly has been asked, her version of the events in the Sunday Times strains credulity. Her version is both incomplete and misleading.

Finding essential information after she left the grand jury is like a student's explanation that the dog ate his homework.

The Times lawyers told her of Libby's waiver, and discussed its implications. A year between conversations between her and Libby (hard to believe) shows a determination for both martyrdom and a commitment to protect Libby, who said he did not need her protection. Her inability to remember who gave her the name "Valerie Flame" is also hard to believe. Her testimony, as she tells it, makes it nearly impossible (unless there is other information) to indict Libby.

At the end of the day, it seems she did exactly what she knew she was going to do all along -- try and exculpate Libby.

As time went on, it must have become clearer and clearer to the Times that they had to legally distance themselves from Miller. It is very difficult to believe there was no conversation about her changing lawyers until she "accidentally" bumped into Bennett. When she was exchanging grand jury information, it is difficult to believe, as she claims that she believed, she was not violating the law -- of course, it was exchanged with a view to influencing testimony, which makes it a crime. Otherwise it seems to have no purpose.

Her false mea culpa -- I relied on experts and sources on the WMDs -- ignores that there were other experts, including Hans Blix, and confirms her role as a shill for the Administration and not the martyr she then sought to portray herself as. If she is not misleading the public, or a shill, then she certainly is incompetent.

Unfortunately, she badly damages the entire press, television and print, and of course the New York Times. The Times had a reporter who never told them the accurate story and seems now unable to tell it. She calls into question the bona fides of the next journalist, print or television, who claims the privilege. It aids the general feeling that the press, especially, the Times, is not to be trusted. It also partially obscures the real story -- the Bush/Cheney/Libby connections.

The Times, put into a very difficult position, tried as best it could to deal with reality. The First Amendment test deals with realty -- the need for information to uncover and prosecute a crime against the need to protect journalist sources.

Judith Miller seems unable to understand reality -- a bad trait for a journalist.