Jay Rosen adds to his first take on the New York Times’ package on Judith Miller. It’s on his blog, but he was also kind enough to post it to Media Nation. Click here. I’m particularly troubled by his spot-on observation that Miller had – and may have to this day – government security clearances unavailable to others at the Times.
Rosen to M.N.: “I want your considered take too.” M.N. to Rosen: I’m thinking, Jay, I’m thinking!
And I’m thinking that Mickey Kaus’ post is, along with Rosen’s, especially worth reading. Among other things, Kaus writes:
KAUS: It’s now clear confinement wasn’t pointless. It worked for the prosecutor exactly as intended. After a couple of months of sleeping on “two thin mats on a concrete slab,” Miller decided, in her words, “I owed it to myself” to check and see if just maybe Libby really meant to release her from her promise of confidentiality. And sure enough – you know what? – it turns out he did! The message sent to every prosecutor in the country is “Don’t believe journalists who say they will never testify. A bit of hard time and they just might find a reason to change their minds. Judy Miller did.” This is the victory for the press the Times has achieved. More journalists will now go to jail, quite possibly, than if Miller had just cut a deal right away, before taking her stand on “principle.”
Once Miller got herself into this bind, it’s hard to know how she could have handled it differently. If she had stuck to principle – or “principle,” as Kaus would have it – she could have been looking at another 18 months in jail.
Still, there’s no question that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald sent a message to prosecutors across the country: Squeeze a journalist hard enough, and you’ll get what you want.