Writing in The Ethics Corner of Editor and Publisher Online, Allan Wolper says:
New York Times reporter Judith Miller lost the ethical high ground, and my support, when she changed her mind and decided that Scooter Libby, somehow free of any coercion, truly wanted her to testify. Then she committed a journalistic mortal sin--turning over notes to a prosecutor.Wolper claims to have had the utmost respect for Judith Miller's and the Time's stances on turning over a confidential source. In fact, Wolper goes so far as to call Miller, " . . . she is also a terrific reporter." Now, Wolper says, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of the newspaper, was celebrating the surrender of one of its reporters to a prosecutor.
It's embarrassing.Wolper maintains that Scooter Libby's waiver of his confidentiality agreement with Miller is just as coerced today as it was when he gave it initially in 2003. One of those, "Sign this if you want to keep your job," type of deals. It reminded me of William Munney's words of advice to a barroom full of townsfolk after they had witnessed Munney gun down Skinny, the bar owner, Little Bill Daggett, the sheriff, as well as 5 armed deputies. Munney wasn't asking for anyone's opinion or the voluntary evacuation of the saloon. Either leave or I'll kill all y'all, too. That would be considered coercion, I should think.
"There was no question the White House waivers were coerced," George Freeman, an assistant general counsel for The Times, told me at the time, referring to all the waivers at the White House, including the one signed by Libby. Floyd Abrams, an attorney for Miller, says that Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate, admitted as much to him as recently as this past summer.Hey, Scooter, you better git on out the back.
Now Freeman tells me Miller feels Libby is no longer being coerced. How does he know? Miller told him so, referring to a telephone conversation she had with Libby from her Virginia cell while his lawyers listened in, according to Newsweek.
It requires total brain lock to think that Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney -- and a promoter of the fiction that Iraq was filled with Weapons of Mass Destruction (I said relatively neutral) -- is in any way free from the influence of the White House.
TAGS: Judith Miller, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, New York Times, Valerie Plame, Joseph Wilson