The Times Gets Letters

Judith Miller and The Times: Pieces of a Puzzle (7 Letters) - New York Times Published: October 17, 2005

To the Editor:Re “The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal” (front page, Oct. 16):So a new day has dawned in the world of American journalism.

A free press used to mean that journalists were at least relatively autonomous from the government that they covered. When journalists sought to protect the identities of their sources, it used to imply that those sources, whether from government or private enterprises, were offering crucial information that would otherwise be kept from the public.After reading The Times's coverage of Judith Miller's testimony and Ms. Miller's own account, I can only conclude that “freedom of the press” and “protecting sources” have entered into the lexicon of Orwellian Newspeak.The press is apparently free to work in cahoots with government officials to take the country to war on false premises; and the sources a journalist is willing to go to jail to protect include government officials apparently engaged in disinformation campaigns.If these are the principles that The Times stood behind, it is a sad day for the newspaper. But perhaps it is saddest of all for those of us who still think that the old ideas about the place of the press in an open society were pretty good ones.

Sara Murphy

New York, Oct. 16, 2005

and I liked especially this one:

To the Editor:
If Judith Miller investigated Judith Miller's story, even she would agree that it was full of holes and made no sense. 

Barbara Davilman

Burbank, Calif., Oct. 16, 2005

I agree with this point as well:

To the Editor:
Nevertheless, it was disheartening to learn, from Ms. Miller's own account, how severely compromised her independence as a reporter had become through her reliance on access to I. Lewis Libby and other White House sources who were using her to manipulate how The Times covered the United States' war against Iraq.

The real betrayal, however, was that The Times “limited its own ability to cover aspects of one of the biggest scandals of the day” to protect both Ms. Miller and her sources.

In my view, The Times's first responsibility in covering the news should be not to itself and its reporters, but to its readers.

Rona Shamoon

Scarsdale, N.Y., Oct. 16, 2005


I read the NYT daily, because even though there is a lot to critique about the Times obvious deference to power (in Washington, on Wall Street, etc.), there still is plenty of information to be gleaned from the paper. However, in the Judith Miller matter, the Times disgraced itself, and still hasn't explained its actions to my satisfaction.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on October 17, 2005 10:07 AM.

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