Judy Miller Addresses Lowly Bloggers
Jeff Jarvis has a summary of Judith Miller’s remarks to the assembled guests at the Open Source Media (nee Pajamas Media) launch event.
She describes the scene in prison as Ã¢€œa bad c movie: bad girls in jail.Ã¢€
Except that the girls in the movies are more attractive. And didn’t volunteer to go to jail for no apparent reason.
She says that none of her other sources, whom she sought to protect from Ã¢€œfishing expeditionsÃ¢€ in the grand jury, did not discuss the Plame affair; I hadnÃ¢€™t heard that before and wonder why it was an issue.
Ditto on both counts.
She says Drudge, Salon, et al are becoming Ã¢€œvirtual MSMÃ¢€ facing the same challenges as big media, including Ã¢€œquestions about their reliability,Ã¢€ business, and government pressure.
Rather obvious but true. The same’s true of the bigger blogs.
She complains about some blogs: Ã¢€œThe most irresponsible of them conjuring up million-dollar book contracts that I did not have, unfortunately, and still do not have.Ã¢€ She said some bloggers were Ã¢€œvicious and irresponsible.Ã¢€
Certainly true. Bloggers are just people, after all.
She talks about the shield law in Congress and how it should cover more than msm journalists but canÃ¢€™t cover all. Then she suggests how bloggers should get covered: Ã¢€œBloggers who want to be part of the MSM clubÃ¢€¦ are going to have to start abiding more religiouslyÃ¢€¦ to certain rules of the roadÃ¢€¦ that would have prevented some of the stories that were circulated about me.Ã¢€ ItÃ¢€™s all about Judy.
Yep. And it’s silly. The First Amendment applies to all or none.
She then presents five rules:
1. Be honest about how you are and what your agenda is and whoÃ¢€™s funding you. She says we Ã¢€œdonÃ¢€™t have to look farÃ¢€ to find examples of bloggers who are now. Who, Judy? I hope someone presses that. If youÃ¢€™re going to throw out that accusation, back it up with facts. Good reporting, you know.
Yep. And why doesn’t that apply to those in the “club”? The big corporate media don’t disclose their conflicts–far more numerous than facing all but a handful of bloggers–each time they report a story.
2. Try to reach the subjects of stories for comment before publishing. Ã¢€œThis is journalism 101.Ã¢€ But hereÃ¢€™s web 102, Judy: those sources as often as not can and do respond on their own sites.
Both Jeff and Judy have valid points here.
3. If a subject denies what you say and has evidence, Ã¢€œsay so; it might actually be true.Ã¢€
Okay. Not sure why that would impact the shield law issue, though.
4. If you make a mistake admit it. Ohhhh, boy, isnÃ¢€™t that the juicy one. How come it took you so long to admit your mistakes? And have you yet fully? She said the Times does this through editorsÃ¢€™ notes and she doesnÃ¢€™t entirely approve of them.
I’d say the major bloggers are much better at that than the major mainline media outlets. Bloggers tend to publish corrections right on the spot, not three days later in a section of the paper no one reads.
5. If you are wrong, keep going until you get it right.
Okay. Again, though, it has no bearing on whether blogs should be covered under shield laws.
Update: Stephen Green was “impressed” by Miller’s speech.