For the most part, I’ve stayed out of the fray with Judy Miller and the New York Times and their part in outing CIA agent Valerie Plame, wife of Joe Wilson…and no, I won’t get into the entire background because I’m sure anyone who may be reading this knows it by now (if not, Arianna Huffington, Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher Online, and also Kos and Atrios of course, among others, have covered it thoroughly).
However, after reading the latest chapter in this saga today, I absolutely have to comment on it. As you can read from this link, Miller said she doesn’t know where the name of “Valerie Flame (sic)” came from in her notes. Also, apparently, Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor trying to get to the bottom of this mess, asked Miller if Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, had given her classified information, and Miller replied, “I believe so, but I couldn’t be sure.”
(Good luck to Fitzgerald…as this has unraveled, I can see the wisdom in his approach a bit more, though I still think Novak has gotten off pathetically easy, at least up to now.)
Miller’s latest testimony reveals at least three things: 1) She is one of the stupidest individuals on the planet if she doesn’t know who provided her the name of an active CIA agent in her own notes which is not supposed to be revealed; 2) If this isn’t the case, then she’s an incredibly brazen liar; and 3) She is doing everything humanly possible to protect Libby.
Now that I have that out there, I’d like to give you a bit of background information on me. Way back when I was an undergraduate journalism major at Temple University, I and the rest of my class had an exercise to perform for one of our news writing classes where we had the length of the class (2 hours) to go out onto the campus, come up with a news story, come back and type it up (only punch cards were used on the mainframe computers…we’re going WAY back here, I know), edit it, and turn it in by the end of the class.
I tried to come up with something or someone to interview (which, knowing what I know now, probably would have been easy), but the only story I could come up with at the time was something that amounted to a literary essay on the pigeons that flocked to the benches near the grass cutout areas on campus and the sweet-smelling food trucks, concocting their egg, bacon, and cheese bagel sandwiches and other greasy and sugary delicacies that provided an ambrosia that is difficult to capture in mere words.
The pigeons were fearless; at the scent of food, they would climb the benches and come trotting over next to your shoulder to get a whiff or a bite of whatever it was you were trying to consume. Even the spew of bus exhaust (I think the “C” still drops students off at 12th and Norris sts. then as now) and a steady stream of human traffic and bicyclers did not deter them. So I made them the subject of my “story.”
I’m pretty sure that I got a C minus for my trouble. Oh well.
I thought of the pigeons when I read about Judy Miller’s testimony today, and I believe that, if she really wants to be a serious journalist again after this entire episode, she should start all over again and enroll in a news writing class at Temple University, and her first assignment should be to write about the urban pigeons.
She may actually improve on my earlier attempt many years ago, since she already has experience effectively interacting with moochers and opportunists of the human variety as opposed to the avian type.