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July 18, 2005

Tip for NYT Reporter: Take Some Tums

I'm saddened by the report that NYT reporter Judith Miller is suffering tremendously as she enters her second week in jail:
As Judith Miller of The New York Times approaches the end of her second week in a Virginia jail, reports from behind bars reveal she is enduring stomach problems from jail food. She is also sharing a cell unit that had originally been designed to house just one person. Because of that, Miller had been forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor for a few days but now has her own bed.
What did she expect? A room similar to one she might stay in at a Courtyard Marriott? A buffet to rival that she would get at the Tavern on the Green? Serious charges merit serious consequences; something the folks at the Times seem to think they are above.

Surprisingly few stories about Miller's experience in jail have emerged, with just one such story in her own paper. "I don't want to cross over the line into using the newspaper as a promotional vehicle for her case," [NYT Executive Editor Bill]Keller explained. "The story she is caught up in is a big story -- to the extent she is news we will write about it. We aren't going to start writing a Judy story everyday just to drum up sympathy. That becomes advocacy instead of journalism."

Wow, that's a first. Mark it down for posterity...the NYT practices journalism, not advocacy. (I'll bet the Dems will be surprised to find out.)

Miller "hasn't had any difficulty with other women in the cell block," Keller said. "She seems to be on fairly genial terms with some of them. I think everyone in there knows what she's in for. She has a higher public profile than most."
While I am glad that she hasn't encountered any unpleasantness with the other prisoners (stories of prison violence are not light fare), I find it hard to believe that the prisoners who use the shared television to watch "hip hop and rap music videos" have much knowledge of who she is, much less care. Are we to believe she has the same cache of fellow jailbirds Martha Stewart and Lil' Kim (who is to report to prison by September 19)? Besides, the article mentions she is being housed in the "non-violent" section of the prison.

Give me a break already. Judith Miller is in prison not for some high-flying ideal, as many think her refusal do discuss her sources in the Valerie Plame "outing" is. Rather, she is there for contempt of court because she refused a court order to reveal said source.

In fact, those who are shouting for Karl Rove's head for allegedly breaking the law by breaking Plame's cover (which he didn't) seem to think it's fine for people like Miller to flout court orders in the name of "truth." And, if it's okay for Miller and her compatriots to go against court rulings for causes they believe in, what's to stop others from doing the same? Restraining orders against abusive spouses would be ignored because the abuser believes injuring his wife is a worthy cause. Abortion protesters would set off more bombs in clinics. PETA and ELF would destroy property in the name of their ideals.

Oh wait, all of those things happen already. But except for PETA and ELF, they are condemned, and rightly so. PETA and ELF are usually given a pass because their politically-motivated attacks are considered a worthy cause...even though they may break the law. It's good to be on the right (or shall I say left?) side of political correctness.

As long as a law is on the books, all citizens are required to follow it, no matter how inane it may seem. Don't like it? Challenge it in court. But don't expect pity from the rest of us when you believe yourself to be higher than the law.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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