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The Judy Chronicles

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 17, 2005; 12:33 PM

The Judy Miller story is so hot right now that I want to get right to the blogosphere reaction, and will make you scroll down to read my print column.

The reaction is, well, overwhelmingly negative. I would at least give the NYT credit for publishing a probing piece that raises difficult questions not just about Miller but about the paper's management--more so, in a way, than the famous takeout on Jayson Blair two years ago.

You can read my story here , and I'll just pull out one section that suggests why Miller isn't the most popular person among her colleagues--even after taking the difficult step of spending 85 days in the clink:

Craig Pyes, a former contract writer for the Times who teamed up with Miller for a series on al-Qaeda, complained about her in a December 2000 memo to Times editors and asked that his byline not appear on one piece.

"I'm not willing to work further on this project with Judy Miller," wrote Pyes, who now writes for the Los Angeles Times. He added: "I do not trust her work, her judgment, or her conduct. She is an advocate, and her actions threaten the integrity of the enterprise, and of everyone who works with her . . . She has turned in a draft of a story of a collective enterprise that is little more than dictation from government sources over several days, filled with unproven assertions and factual inaccuracies," and "tried to stampede it into the paper."

Pyes said yesterday he had no problem with the articles as published, which helped win one of two Pulitzer Prizes he shared at the paper.

On to the bloggers! David Corn captures the mood:

"The Times story . . . further undermines Miller's attempt to become the Joan of Arc for modern-day journalists."

James Wolcott is, I believe, engaging in a bit of sarcasm:

"Let us not be too harsh on Judith Miller herself, however. She was caught up in the hypnotic voodoo of highstakes journalism. We've all been there. All of us veteran reporters who risk our parking privileges in pursuit of a hot story know what it's like to have strange words leap into your notebook out of nowhere in the middle of an intense interrogation.

"You're sitting there having breakfast at the St. Regis with Scooter Aspen, buttering each other's toast, and somehow the name "Valerie Flame" pops up in your notebook without you knowing how it got there! It's your handwriting, sure enough, but rack your brain much as you will, you just can't remember which little birdie tweeted that name into your ear."

Arianna : "Now that I have spent a few hours absorbing this latest installment in the ongoing soap opera 'Desperate Editors,' I can safely say that not since Geraldo cracked open Al Capone's vault has there been a bigger anticlimax or a bigger sham. After all, the question everybody has been asking is: who was the source who leaked Valerie Plame's identity to Judy Miller?


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