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 “a bad c movie: bad girls in jail.â€

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 “fishing expeditions†in the grand jury, did not discuss the Plame affair; I hadn’t heard that before and wonder why it was an issue.

Ditto on both counts.

She says Drudge, Salon, et al are becoming “virtual MSM†facing the same challenges as big media, including “questions about their reliability,†business, and government pressure.

Rather obvious but true. The same’s true of the bigger blogs.

She complains about some blogs: “The most irresponsible of them conjuring up million-dollar book contracts that I did not have, unfortunately, and still do not have.†She said some bloggers were “vicious and irresponsible.â€

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 can’t cover all. Then she suggests how bloggers should get covered: “Bloggers who want to be part of the MSM club… are going to have to start abiding more religiously… to certain rules of the road… that would have prevented some of the stories that were circulated about me.†It’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 who’s funding you. She says we “don’t have to look far†to find examples of bloggers who are now. Who, Judy? I hope someone presses that. If you’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. “This is journalism 101.†But here’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, “say so; it might actually be true.â€

Okay. Not sure why that would impact the shield law issue, though.

4. If you make a mistake admit it. Ohhhh, boy, isn̢۪t 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 editors̢۪ notes and she doesn̢۪t 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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DL says:

    She wants bloggers to be honest about who they are and what their agenda is? As soon as the MSM admits it is the voice of the commiecrat party, bought and paid for by like minded anti-American lestists – the agenda is to take over America through using its own freedoms through conversion and without firing a shot. (Till they get the power that is.)