THE MILLER CHRONICLES….Since Judith Miller and her prewar WMD “reporting” are Topic A at the moment, I suppose I’m obligated to link to Franklin Foer’s long article about Miller in New York magazine. So consider it linked.
The reason I didn’t link to it earlier is that I found it profoundly unsatisfying. It is, basically, a long gossip piece in which we learn that Miller is a fanatically hardworking reporter who lets nothing get in the way of a story, and that she’s also a superstar bitch who is roundly detested by practically everyone she’s ever worked with.
Which is all fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t really shed any light on how she got the WMD story so wrong. The Cliff Notes version is that she was too close to her neocon sources, especially Ahmed Chalabi, and regurgitated their agitprop too uncritically. But we already knew that, and the New York article doesn’t go very much further in explaining how it all happened. (Although there is a bit of interesting reporting about NYT editor Howell Raines’ role: he was soft on Miller because he was determined to run pro-Bush stories as a way of proving to his detractors “that he could cover a story straight.”)
If you want to learn more about Miller’s various temper tantrums ? and who doesn’t? ? click the link and read. But if you want to learn what really went wrong with the Times’ reporting, I think the story is still waiting to be told.
POSTSCRIPT: If you aren’t already up to speed on l’affaire Miller, John Emerson has a complete set of links to other stories about Miller and the Times’ prewar reporting over at Seeing the Forest.