New York City Diary

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Time's Up

I think Time magazine chickened out by agreeing to surrender Matthew Cooper's notes to the government, presumably identifying their sources who leaked the identity of undercover agent Valerie Plame.

That leaves Judith Miller of The New York Times all alone in facing a prison term for sticking to her guns and not revealing her sources. And she didn't even write a story about it.

The man who "heroically" identified Plame as a CIA operative for the first time was Robert Novak, who appears not to be in any jeopardy at all. Not coincidentally, Novak is symathetic to conservative positions in his reporting and commentary.

Somebody in the government, only three civilians and their editors know who, leaked Plame's identity as payback for a critical editorial that Joseph Wilson IV (Plame's husband) wrote about Bush's claims in his State of the Union address that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Africa.

Those Yellowcake claims have since proven to be nonsense, and evidence indicates that the government knew they were nonsense at the time as well. It was just another example of Bush's fear-mongering to get people to support his war: support me, or you will be nuked.

Why did Time cave? Nobody knows for sure. I guess they wanted to avoid having to pay huge fines to the government, which would hurt their company's bottom line. That wouldn't be in the best interests of the shareholders.

But damaging the credibility of your news magazine also isn't in the interest of shareholders. I wonder if that was any consideration.

Perhaps they think by wimping out in this situation they'll be rewarded with better access to the administration. In Latin it's called *quid pro quo.*

The saddest irony is that, for being a member of the "liberal media," Judith Miller may have helped the Bush administration more than anyone else. As the Bushes kept beating the drums about WMDs in the runup to the war (remember WMDs, and the imminent threat to the United States?) she reported uncritically about them, adding credence to the assertions. And now she's facing prison.

When Deep Throat came forward and revealed his identity a couple of weeks ago, it reinforced the need for anonymous sources, especially when dealing with a mendacious government. Did you see Bush's speech on Tuesday night? He continues to push the lie that the Iraq war is payback to Saddam for 9/11.

I guess that since Bush abandoned the truth so long ago he now has to target the people in charge of pursuing it.

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