The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Judith Miller heading Club Fed-wards?

For the Plamegate TV movie, we simply must reincarnate Gloria Swanson for the Miller role: a definite Sunset Boulevard quality about her latest contribution (on Newsnight yesterday):
The central issue for me as a reporter is still the public's right to know.

Just as Norma Desmond contrives to ignore twenty years of talkies (not to mention personal deterioration towards decrepitude) in the famous exchange (It's the pictures that got small), so Miller somehow forgets her fat fraudulent friend, the kinda-sorta traitor [1] Ahmed Chalabi and the eagerness with which she shoved the queer [2] he supplied on behalf of USG.

Her mouthpiece may be putting the gyves on her: on Newsnight, Floyd Abrams was asked whether a blogger should be entitled to a reporter's privilege not to reveal sources:
I was asked that today [at the DC Circuit Court hearing], and I said as I say here, I think a blogger ought to be protected also. It seems to me that the purpose of this privilege is to protect the people who play a function in American life.

It's not to protect reporters as such. It's to protect people who gather information and disseminate it on a widespread basis to the public. So I think eventually if there is a privilege, and that's one of the things the court's going to deal with, but if there is a privilege here, whether it's rooted in the First Amendment or what's called federal common law, I think it should apply to bloggers as well.

My guess is that this went down like a ham sandwich at a barmitzvah - neither the NYT report of the hearing nor the Post's version uses the B-word.

(My piece on December 6 suggested the dangers for regular journos of making common cause with the francs-tireurs of the blogosphere - and links back to a load of material on the subject.)

  1. To be a traitor, one has to belong to a country. I suspect his criminal activities and associated globe-trotting may have left him stateless - like Annabella Smith in Hitchcock's 39 Steps.

  2. It's slang for passing counterfeit money. A keeper, I think.

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