Following Up: Judith Miller

Friday, July 20, 2007

When former New York Times reporter Judith Miller came on the show to discuss her City Journal article about Ray Kelly, many listeners protested that her credibility as a reporter had been irretrievably damaged. We ask Geneva Overholser, chair in public affairs reporting for the University of Missouri School of Journalism, former ombudsman for The Washington Post and a contributor to the book, What Good Is Journalism?: How Reporters and Editors Are Saving America's Way of Life (University of Missouri Press, 2007) and Daniel Okrent, writer, editor, (inventor of Rotisserie League Baseball), and the first public editor at The New York Times (October 2003 – May 2005). His columns are collected in Public Editor Number One: The Collected Columns (with Reflections, Reconsiderations, and Even a Few Retractions) of the First Ombudsman of The New York Times (PublicAffairs, 2006).


Daniel Okrent and Geneva Overholser

Comments [10]

david kleinman

Why should anyone take anything Judith Miller says with something other than a boulder of salt? If you're going to have her on, Mr. Lehrer, be a skeptic not an admirer.

As someone wrote on the Huffington Post, Ms. Miller ought to have been named "stenographer in chief" for the denier-in-chief's war in Iraq. Her reporting helped cheerlead us into the misguided war of the century.

So Mr. Lehrer, can you explain to your listeners why you gave her a free pass? Surely you know the disastrous consequences of such supine obeisance?

Jul. 25 2007 01:29 PM
Ken Collins from Brooklyn

I was really disappointed by the follow-up and by the fact that BL put Miller on in the first place. It seems from the show that pundits are the only people in NYC that don't understand how fully discredited she is. BL should have just opened the phones for people to give her the smackdown she deserves, since the press isn't capable of doing it to one of their own.

I suppose when the Manhattan Institute starts pimping Ferdinand Nahimana, we'll hear him on BL, too.

Jul. 24 2007 03:53 PM

I agree with most assessments of Miller. But folks we have a problem with the New York Times right now vis-a-vie Iran. They are at it again but with another reporter.

Check out this article from Editor and Publisher

Consider the Source: 'NYT' Reporter Targets Iran
As if he hadn't already done enough damage, helping to promote the American invasion of Iraq with deeply flawed articles in The New York Times, Michael R. Gordon is now writing scare stories that offer ammunition for the growing chorus of neo-cons calling for a U.S. strike against Iran.

By Greg Mitchell

Jul. 21 2007 12:41 AM
Joe E from Brooklyn

I second the criticism of Brian whose level headedness is what I love about him. However, Miller such a sycophant it makes me sick. Why not take her to task. Is she really sooooo disarming??? Please.

And norman... self censorship is the hight art of the left. why should wnyc be any different?

Jul. 20 2007 01:11 PM
Norman from New York

The interesting revelation in this program was that the Manhattan Institute is shopping Judy Miller around to radio programs and the rest of the media.

I like to hear right-wing nuts on WNYC occasionally, but I'm concerned about the balance overall.

I get the impression that Brian's show tends to have more people on the right, like Miller, than people on the left.

Furthermore, the show frequently has people on the right, like Miller, as sole guests, whereas whereas when he has someone on the left, he balances it with *another* guest, usually from the Manhattan Institute, on the right.

For example, when you had your program on Sicko, you had Oliver Fein of Physicians for a National Health Program, balanced with David Gratzer from the Manhattan Institute.

I think the politics of most WNYC listeners is closer to Fein rather than Gratzer. I like to hear both sides, but don't listeners deserve a few programs in which they can hear Fein explain single payer without having to debate it point by point with somebody who doesn't tell you that his salary is paid by GlaxoSmithKlein?

But don't take my word for it. Try this experiment: Go to the archives page,<
and see how many programs back you have to go through before you find a guest on the left who isn't balanced by someone from the right, usually from the Manhattan Institute. And see how many guests are conservatives.

Jul. 20 2007 12:11 PM
gail Orr from nyc

Re: current discussion of the Judith Miller interview. One of your guests made the comment that "you wouldn't have Dennis Kucinich on because of his 'leftist' views..." therefore justifying the Miller interview. However, Kucinich is a public figure. Miller is a reporter whose private views are of no concern to me. Its her public disgrace that makes her a public figure. For the two journalistic "experts" to conflate the two people is an example of the confused thinking that is around today.

Jul. 20 2007 12:02 PM
John Kelsey from Ridgefield CT

The NY Times helped the administration with its WMD lies in the runup to the Iraq war, they did the exact same thing in misreporting the Gulf of Tonkin incident that was the pretext for the Vietnam war, and now they seem to be doing the same thing now regarding Iran and its nuclear ambitions.

What astonishes me is how the rest of the media -including this morning's guests - retain their faith in the integrity of the NYTimes. It is like Charlie Brown trusting Lucy to hold the football... The evidence is that in every run-up to war they will do the same thing, then apologize afterward, then expect us to swallow the apology and continue to trust them. Bah.

Jul. 20 2007 11:28 AM
a from NYC


Though I think that the real issue of the objection most people had in having Judith Miller on was more to do with the fact that you handled her with kid-gloves and I don't agree with the assesment of your guests (personally I think if you are a journalist caught doing sloppy irresponsible work, especially one that had such an impact on public policy that led to people DYING, you basically should not get the time of day from anyone thereafter-irregardless of the "30 years" of work before that) I do appreciate the fact that you acknowledged the objection of some of your listeners to the piece. There is no other show where that would happen.

Jul. 20 2007 11:28 AM
BC from Flushing

Mr. Lehrer, the problem wasn't your having brought Miller on the show, the problem was your kid gloves treatment of her. She came across like a buddy of yours that you were loathe to question closely, and you let her make long speeches.

Jul. 20 2007 11:18 AM
chris from brooklyn

just to "follow up" on what I said about her the other day: Judy Miller has a screw loose. please let her go back into the hole from whence she came. denial ain't just a river in egypt!

Jul. 20 2007 11:16 AM

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