Judy Miller’s Editor Calls on Journalists to Expose False Journalism

Tim F made this point implicitly, but it deserves to be made explicitly. Do you really think Howell Raines, the editor who oversaw Judy Miller’s Iraq War propaganda, is really the one to exhort journalists to call out Fox for its false journalism?

One question has tugged at my professional conscience throughout the year-long congressional debate over health-care reform, and it has nothing to do with the public option, portability or medical malpractice. It is this: Why haven’t America’s old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration — a campaign without precedent in our modern political history?


Why has our profession, through its general silence — or only spasmodic protest — helped Fox legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt?


Why can’t American journalists steeped in the traditional values of their profession be loud and candid about the fact that Murdoch does not belong to our team?


As for Fox News, lots of people who know better are keeping quiet about what to call it. Its news operation can, in fact, be called many things, but reporters of my generation, with memories and keyboards, dare not call it journalism.

I’ll admit that when I first suggested that Judy Miller was not engaging in journalism when Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby outed Valerie Plame to her, I wished that other journalists would have the courage to acknowledge that what she was doing was not journalism. It would have been nice, then, to have a column like this, calling on journalists to expose disinformation in the guise of journalism.

But really. Does Howell Raines have no sense of irony?

After all, it’d be a pity if Raines missed the irony of the fact that Judy Miller now works for Fox News.

32 replies
  1. BoxTurtle says:

    Paging Mr. Kettle!!! Paging Mr. Kettle!!!

    Msg from Mr. Pot: You’re black!

    Boxturtle (Still, the fact that Fox is being called out is good thing)

    • emptywheel says:

      Aw cmon. You bitch and bitch and bitch about men with two first names (a la Greg Craig). And now you’re not happy about a guy with no first name?

        • freepatriot says:

          I am a professional crankpot

          that’s strange

          you don’t look like a meth cooker

          (duckin & runnin)

          and in order to get a jump start on my defense of the HubCap, I am offically declaring that my pick to win the 2011 superbowl

          ladles and jellyspoons, I give you your next champion


      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Holy namesakes, I chuckle, each time I see the name Ronald Rotunda..

        Peter Pantheon
        Donald Dome
        Chris Capitol
        Charlie Colonnade

  2. Leen says:

    Rove calling out the Dems,…flipping the script.

    Raines calling out truth in journalism. Just too much to take.

    Judy “I was fucking right” Miller. Rove, Raines, Miller partially responsible for the massive amounts of deaths and suffering in Iraq

  3. JohnLopresti says:

    There was a lady on the radio saying yesterday her portrayal deliberately was made generic, but she knew enough to mention they had prescinded deliberately from making her have short brown hair, bangs. I think she called the movie genre *action*.

  4. MickSteers says:

    Leaving aside Howell’s own butchery of “journalism”, he’s wrong here too. To fight back and call out Fox as bad journalists is to legitimize them as journalists at all. That’s the problem. Ailes has boastfully admitted that they are in the ratings business, full stop. They just happen to call their product “news”, as opposed to wrestling or comedy.

    Howell whines: “Why can’t American journalists steeped in the traditional values of their profession be loud and candid about the fact that Murdoch does not belong to our team?”

    News Flash: Ailes/Murdoch are not now, and never has been part of your “team”. Figure it out. We don’t need to fight Fox, simply ignore it.

    If “real” journalists, politicians and others in the public sphere stopped paying attention to Fox, I mean really ignore it(no references, no corrections or breathless outrage) within a year their influence would evaporate beyond their tiny base. Their own audience would remain entertained and active, but would be restored to their real status as fringe outsiders in political debate.

    It is only through the tacit acceptance from the “serious” participants in the public discourse that Fox is viewed as anything but a quirky TV talk radio outlet with an audience of 2 million in a country of 320 million. Soon even Republicans would find little use for Fox, except as their dog whistle. You can’t win elections with only 2 million ardent fans.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      We could convict them under any number of laws, including that one. It wouldn’t really be that difficult, IF there was interest in charging them.

      Boxturtle (Even the crickets in DOJ are silent on that one)

  5. BearOnACliff says:



    The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves.

    In its six-page written decision, the Court of Appeals held that the Federal Communications Commission position against news distortion is only a “policy,” not a promulgated law, rule, or regulation. Fox aired a report after the ruling saying it was “totally vindicated” by the verdict.


  6. Sara says:

    Early in the Obama Administration, their Press Office made a decision to exclude Faux from certain types of Press Pools using the argument that they were not a News Network. I can’t remember exactly what criteria they used for this exclusion, but they were clear as to their rational.

    So where was Howells with the needed praise for such a decision to discriminate between News and Propaganda?

  7. Mary says:

    Why can’t American journalists steeped in the traditional values of their profession be loud and candid about the fact that Murdoch does not belong to our team?

    Umm, bc they’ve all joined his team?

    When you support a Miller, ditch a Brown for a Cooper, and never challenge anything that comes out of Karl Rove’s mouth, whether he’s acting as a Bushie or a Murdochian and when you still can’t quite manage to say we were lied into war and torture is torture – you can’t really throw many stones at Murdoch’s feckless fellows.

  8. TarheelDem says:

    But you miss the point. It’s the job of journalists to support the president’s agenda. Raines did that for Bush, and expects Fox to do that for Obama. It the obligation of the media in a free society.

  9. JohnLopresti says:

    [parody] In an adroit move toward laissez faire truth in promulgation of government bureaucracy documents, the executive branch office of management and budget has produced a twelve page memo laying out guidelines for programs to incentivize innovative transparency by awarding prizes. If printmedia decides to emulate OMB*s fine example, soon we will read of the recipient of the NYT year in review prize for truth in reporting is [your name here]. The material award for this year*s most truthful reporting is, a 2400 Hz whistle prize just like the one kids get in a carton of capnCrunch. [endParody]

  10. rosalind says:

    wow. SEC Watch: Top NYTCo Execs’ Wages Soar

    While the NYTCo struggled under the weight of economic pressures and debt last year, top execs personally did pretty well…cost-cutting led to greater profitability and that appears to show in the compensation of chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., and president/CEO Janet Robinson (image, left), according to the NYTCo’s latest SEC filing.

    In total ‘09, Sulzberger’s compensation was $5,986,738, more than double the $2,331,599 he earned last year. His base salary for last year was $1,046,238. Robinson did even better, earning a total of $6,262,755, which included a base salary of $962,500, for a significant 31.9 percent rise in earnings over last year’s $4,753,314.

    (emphasis – and off-stage retching noises – mine)

    via gawker

    • skdadl says:

      Y’know, I was so naive when I got into the print-and-publish biz. I thought we were all about writing and thought. Silly me, eh?

      And that’s the true story of why the publishers are still making gazillions a year and the writers and editors are … Well, let’s think that some of us are cultivating our gardens.

    • prostratedragon says:

      What’s that linguistic fallacy where homophones, in different languages perhaps, are mistakenly taken as having similar meanings? Thinking here of “A luta continua.”

  11. Sara says:

    Actually, I have a story theme I think Ms. Miller ought to take up. I think she ought to review her notes and see if she ever considered the proposition that Chalabi was an agent for Iran? We all know that way back in the Clinton years, CIA burned their relationship with Chalabi — supposedly because he lied about CIA funds that had been intrusted to him, but there is some suggestions in some of the former agent commentary, that he became questionable because he was less than clear as to his relations with Iranian persons and organizations.

    So did Ms. Miller ever question his judgment, the information he fed her, any aspect of his political identity?

    • bobschacht says:

      But…but…that would require *independent thinking!!!*
      Has Judy Judy Judy ever been known to exhibit independent thinking before?

      Bob in AZ

  12. orionATL says:

    it’s a bit late but,

    why the sexism?

    jill abrahmson deserves recognition that she is not getting here for having “edited” judy miller after 2003.

    subsequently, to her guidance to ms. miller, ms abs. climbed further up the ladder of success to become managing editor of the nitwit times.

    and yet this fine journalist failed to garner the fame and recognition accorded that disgraced appendage, howell raines.

    i’m four square for giving Both journalists- raines and abrahmson, equal recognition.

    and speaking as i am to equity issues,

    let’s not fail to give proper credit to nitwit times executive editor, bill keller,

    scion of shell oil and former sportswriter for the times – the brain that runs
    the times many believe.

    these three editors are worthy of a journalism award equivalent to the award granted ms. miller at the end of her times career.

  13. 1boringoldman says:

    In this case, I don’t care about Howie’s priors. If John Yoo or the Marquis de Sade spoke out against Fox News, I’d give them a temporary reprieve for past sins and scream “Right On!” just like for Howie’s article. Just because my surgeon missed a cancer fifty cases ago doesn’t mean I’m not going to thank him for finding mine…

Comments are closed.