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RedEarth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 08:59 AM
Original message
Juan Cole: Rupert Murdoch and Judith Miller
The extraordinary exchanges between New York Times editor Bill Keller and reporter Judith Miller over her role in the Plame scandal and reporting on non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have suggested to me a wider context of the entire matter.

The wider context is that Rupert Murdoch, and Richard Mellon Scaife, and other far rightwing billionaires have deeply corrupted our information environment. They are in part responsible for what happened at the NYT.

Miller attempts to excuse her shoddy reporting on Iraq's imaginary weapons of mass destruction by saying that "everyone" got that story wrong. But the State Department Intelligence and Research Division did not get it wrong. The Department of Energy analysts were correct that the aluminum tubes couldn't be used to construct centrifuges. Elbaradei of the International Atomic Energy Commission was not wrong. Imad Khadduri, former Iraqi nuclear scientist, was not wrong. "Everybody" got it wrong only in the sense that "everybody" had been brainwashed by Rupert Murdoch.

As Rightweb notes:
' His Fox News was singled out for criticism because of its blatantly one-sided coverage of the war in Iraq and for printing unsubstantiated stories about the conflict. When CNN reporter Christian Amanpour blamed Fox for creating "a climate of fear and self-censorship" regarding coverage of Iraq, a Fox spokeswoman shot back, "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda." Said Murdoch of the war, "The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country." '


Gee, we got $60 a barrel oil instead. You wonder how someone so stupid got to be so rich (hint: stabbing people in the back is more lucrative than canny market research).

http://www.juancole.com/
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TimeToGo Donating Member (656 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 09:09 AM
Response to Original message
1. Good read n/t
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
2. Why isn't this getting more attention? Recommended.
I didn't realize that Juan Cole was on our side.
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. He's not only on our side, but one of our greatest resources.
Another nomination.

From the article:

snip>

The NYT had no sources to speak of inside the Bush administration, a real drawback in covering Washington, because it was a left of center newspaper in a political environment dominated by the Right. Miller had sources among the Neoconservatives, with whom she shared some key concerns (biological weapons, the threat of Muslim radicalism, etc.) So she could get the Washington "scoops." And her perspective skewed Right in ways that could protect the NYT from charges that it was consistently biased against Bush. Of course, in retrospect, Bush's world was a dangerous fantasy, and giving it space on the front page of the NYT just sullied the Grey Lady with malicious prevarications.

I have been told that Miller was also important in hiring decisions, and she probably created her own base of clientelage among new hires over time. It has been alleged to me that senior neo-conservative-leaning reporters at the Times at one point blocked the hiring of an Arab-American reporter. I have this from a single source and cannot be sure it is true, and cannot be sure that Miller was part of it if it was. But that she could affect the careers of her colleagues at the paper does seem clear and helps explain why even those critical of her had to tread lightly.

snip>

In essence, Murdoch, Scaife and other far rightwing super-rich propagandists succeeded in maligning the NYT and in pushing it off its liberal perch even further to the Right. In trying to defend themselves from the charge of treason, Raines and Keller fell into the trap of using Miller's shoddy reporting as a rampart. In the end, it was revealed to be not a rampart but a Trojan Horse for the Right.

snip>
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. "Bush's world was a dangerous fantasy."
Wow, I like the way he writes.

Let me repeat the essential clip:

In essence, Murdoch, Scaife and other far rightwing super-rich propagandists succeeded in maligning the NYT and in pushing it off its liberal perch even further to the Right. In trying to defend themselves from the charge of treason, Raines and Keller fell into the trap of using Miller's shoddy reporting as a rampart. In the end, it was revealed to be not a rampart but a Trojan Horse for the Right.
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. That is an excellent paragraph. Juan Cole is one of the must-reads. nt
:dem:
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-05 04:28 AM
Response to Reply #4
17. "He is...one of our greatest resources" - I agree emphatically
His articles and insights never fail to add dimension, content and clarity to issues, especially those involving the Middle East.

He likes us too! See my post later in this thread on his comments on THIS thread.
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Neil Lisst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
3. Remember when the oil in Iraq was going to pay for the War?
Another prewar lie they told. I can remember Wolfy saying those words.

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pretzel4gore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. colin powell said '$20 billion a year
that was on one of the sunday morning bushworshipping talk shows (i believe russert show) just pre 'invasion'...at the time, the '$20 billion' figure seemed a red flag.....it sounded like alot of money stretched over a few years, but iraq is literally draining the national treasury, turning fort knox into fort fox-in-the-henhouse...
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400Years Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
8. can't blame it on Murdoch

Judy and the editors at NYT knew exactly what the were doing.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I think the point Cole is making is that the NYT's made some very
bad decisions when they were attacked by the right-wing media. Cole cites some very powerfully trajected barbs at the NYTs from FoxNews. They were getting hit on two sides. The NYTs was being shut-out from the White House and their patriotism was being questioned by the Fox whores. Like any paper, they live and breath by their commercial advertisements, and they were losing readership.

The response from the NYTs was to give reporters with contacts to the White House a prominent role. In other words, they allowed Judith Miller autonomy. It was a mistake, of course, and one that is leading to its demise.

But in retrospect, the NYT's largest vulnerability is that it is a privately owned company. It didn't have strong enough contacts in the White House to gather the information they needed to make a case against the Bush Administration when we needed an opposing voice. FoxNews was getting all the White House scoops and successfully painting the NYTs as an unpatriotic paper. Basically, they did the same to the NYTs that they did to the Liberal party.

That's my take on Juan Cole's article.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I'm not quite sure I follow your thinking. What has NYT being privately
owned to do with their limited access to the WH?

Also, we here at DU cover the WH perfectly well--and with a lot more accuracy--at a great distance from the WH and with zero "access." It isn't so difficult to figure out goddamned lies, blatant violations of laws and ethical standards, and massive looting of the federal treasury. NY is the bluest of blue towns in the bluest of states. You're saying that their readership wouldn't have eaten up honest reporting and loyal opposition to this rightwing junta? I don't believe it. I think they, like many Democratic Party leaders, WANTED this war--and don't mind the big tax cuts for the rich either--and sat back and let Bush do it for them. Same thing they've done on Diebold and ES&S (two far rightwing Bushite corporations) gaining control over the tabulation of our votes with SECRET, PROPRIETARY programming code. Total silence from these so-called liberals.

There should have been an editorial to the super-rich: "The patriotic thing to do is to send your tax cuts back to the government--we're starting with ours."

Or a foot-high headline in July 2003: "BUSH LAPDOG BLOWS CIA COVER--WHY?," subhead: "US covert agents could be dead--why?"

--------

"You don't need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan

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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I share your frustration and anger at the NYT.
Edited on Mon Oct-24-05 02:59 PM by The Backlash Cometh
But I also like to dig in and understand why things happened the way they did.

Let's dissect your post, because you brought up great points:

(1) What has NYT being privately owned to do with their limited access to the WH?

That's a great start. The first thing the Bush Administration did when it stepped in was to take away passes from several journalist. Maureen Dowd wrote about her experience after the Jeff Gannon scandal. There should be no argument on DU, that the White House was being very selective by who was allowed in the press room, where they were seated and who was picked to ask questions. One only needs to remember what they did to Helen Thomas to see that.

So, it wouldn't be difficult to conclude that Liberal journalist or Liberal newspapers, if they were allowed in the press room at all, were given limited opportunities to ask poignant, critical questions.

The NYT, being a private corporation, relies on readers as well as advertisement dollars to survive. And it was being out-scooped by the Gannons and the FoxNews whores, who did have direct access to the White House. We know now that it was disinformation, but the NYTs had already been bitten by that Jason Blair(?) incident so would think twice before printing anything that could be swiftboated. (Christ, look what the right-wingers did to Dan Rather!)

(2) FoxNews and other conservative media were attacking the NYT's credibility. This you cannot deny. Juan Cole brought up some compelling examples. So, the NYTs, without having an insider leftist in the White House, did a very foolish thing. It relied on a right-wing insider, Judith Miller, to gather the information they needed to out-scoop FoxNews and to prove that they were not unpatriotic nor left-winged biased, as FoxNews was portraying them.

Dumb, stupid and in the end, they will pay a high price for the mistake.

As for your comment that New York is a blue state that would have supported a blue paper, I have my doubts that New York is a bright Liberal blue. Most everyone I know that is from New York has very Centrist leanings. Those who are involved in business or work in Wall Street won't even read the NYTs, in favor of the Wall Street Journal. They say the NYTs is Liberal and because of that, they won't read it at all. My guess is that these are the readers that the NYTs was striving to attract Numbers tell you everything, and if the NYT's viewership is dropping, it means that maybe you don't have as many Liberals in New York as you think you do?
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I_like_chicken Donating Member (341 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. What does the blueness of New York matter?
I don't think most New Yorkers, or Americans, consider themselves to be liberal or conservative, rather they consider themselves independent whether or not they are registered Dem or Rep. People think that its important to do whats best for the country based on the facts of the situation, and not on ideology. In order for Bush to be able to go to war, he had to convince the general public of the "facts" that Saddam was a threat and had WMD. Ideology would not be enough to convince people to go to war.

The idea that the NYTimes used Judith Miller in order to show they were not biased to save and increase the number of readers seems laughable. People do not care about the ideology of a paper, rather they care about how well it reports the facts. An attack on the ideology of the paper is in fact an attack on the ablitity of the paper to report the facts. If the paper cared about the perception that they were unable to report the facts because of their supposed ideology, they could have countered by opening up its newsroom to the public to show that their fact gathering techniques were sound. Instead they used a far right reporter to change their "facts" to fit those of the rest of the mainstream media. I do not believe for a second that the NYTimes believed what Judy Miller was reporting was true. The only explantion for the use of Judy Miller is that the NYTimes were co-conspirtors to decieve the public of the "facts" in order to persuade public opinion in favor of the war.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Oh dear.
People do not care about the ideology of a paper? Rather they care about how well it reports the facts? Then how do you account for the popularity of Fox News?

But, let's get down to the germ of your argument: "I do not believe for a second that the NYTimes believed what Judy Miller was reporting was true. The only explantion for the use of Judy Miller is that the NYTimes were co-conspirtors to decieve the public of the "facts" in order to persuade public opinion in favor of the war."

I admit that I am giving the NYTs the benefit of the doubt. I see how badly the Liberal party got trounced by the conservatives when the latter used swiftboating tactics to damage their credibility and also blocked the liberals from obtaining access to important information; and I thought to myself, if they could do that to an entire political party, why not the NYT?

I'm just looking for answers, like everybody else. Atleast the NYT's scoop on Libby outing Cheney, may be a first step towards redemption for them.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Has Maureen Dowd gotten her White House pass yet?
It seems weird that Jeff Gannon has one and she doesn't...

Does David Brooks have one?

The Bush White House IS into petty retribution.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Yes. Thank you for pointing that out.
Edited on Mon Oct-24-05 11:07 PM by The Backlash Cometh
I think we need to look into what happened to the New York Times very closely. It's easy to say they were part of the neo-con conspiracy. But what if what happened to the NYTs is what has happened to America? Every agency or corporation's purpose is hobbled by the need to feed its bottomline. That bottomline becomes an Achilles Heel, especially for companies which serve a public good. So, sometimes the need to give priority to that bottomline, puts the public health, welfare and safety of this nation at risk?

If that's what we determine after a thorough investigation, then maybe we should start asking ourselves if pure capitalism, and its preference for free market forces, will keep the public safe from private malevolent designs?
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Jaybro37 Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-05 02:33 AM
Response to Reply #12
20. Ideology matters
Ideology isn't something that floats in the political ether; it's the filter through which events are evaluated. My politically conservative friends don't first assess the facts, they consult their belief structures to see how the "facts" should assessed. And none of this is calculating. Whatever it is that makes a German or a Frenchman in terms of outlook is simply the fog through which the German or Frenchman views the world. And liberals are no different.

I'd love to believe that Bush had to convince the public of anything before going to war. Americans are quite ready to give presidents the go ahead in matters of war. And look at the role of the Congress. My personal bias is to demand strong evidence that war is necessary. My representatives in government are not so wary because they always weigh the ramifications of their decisions against the extension of their tenure. Never forget the Gulf of Tonkin! How many in congress stood tall against that tsunami?

As far as conspiracy theory goes, incompetence and sloppiness go farther in explaining the general failure of the media generally in the run-up to the war.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-05 04:23 AM
Response to Original message
16. Here is the PERMALINK. BTW, Juan Cole saw this thread and LIKED IT!!!
Edited on Tue Oct-25-05 04:26 AM by Nothing Without Hope
Here is his update to the post in the OP; it links to this current thread:


I liked the discussion of this posting at the Democratic Underground, and thought several of the posters added importantly to my argument.



And here is the PERMALINK of Juan Cole's piece discussed in this thread (the link in the OP is the home page of his excellent blog):
http://www.juancole.com/2005/10/rupert-murdoch-and-judith-miller.html

Prof. Cole - if you are still reading this thread, welcome to DU! You have a lot of admiring fans here who greatly value your knowledge and insights and do what they can to share them more widely.
:hi: :applause: :patriot:
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Cooley Hurd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-05 05:30 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Hello Professor Cole!!!
I read your blog every morning (Informed Comment, TPM, and DU - my breakfast)! Thank you for the invaluable insight on the Middle East that you've provided over the years!!!

:patriot::hi:
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RedEarth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-05 08:14 AM
Response to Reply #16
19. Outstanding ....... I read his comments each day ... Informed Comment
certainly is an accurate description of his site. It's been the only place where I have found an honest opinion of what's going on not only in Iraq, but the entire hotbed of the Middle East. One story I found extremely informative was his article in Salon that dealt with the fact that Iran came out as the big winner in the US invasion of Iraq.
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-05 10:39 PM
Response to Original message
21. Chistianne should have shot
back..I'm a spokeswoman for the truth and you're a foot soldier for a pissy liar.
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