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Bill Keller: "Insatiable Desire For Scoops" Fueled Press Failure In Run-Up To Iraq War

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In the latest installment of TIME's 10 Questions, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller was asked by a reader in Portland, OR what he thought of the "free pass" the press gave the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq War.

"It was partly the insatiable desire for scoops people in the Administration were feeding about the potential threat in Iraq," Keller responded. "But a lot of it was just that we floated along with the conventional wisdom, the worst enemy of journalism."

The reader who asked the question may have been referring to former Times reporter Judith Miller. Miller has come under fire in the past for stories concerning Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction in the months before the invasion of Iraq. Her articles were often cited by Bush administration officials in justifying the March 2003 invasion. Miller later ran into controversy again when she was held in contempt of court and jailed as part of the Valerie Plame CIA-leak case.

In the interview, Keller also discusses the rise of online journalism, and the recent "Daily Show" segment which lampooned the Times as dated and out-of-touch.

"Well, that's the last time I try to be a good sport", Keller said. "Among the people who would miss us most would be the wise-guy pundits and scriptwriters for satirical TV shows, because they riff on the news we produce."

Read the full TIME 10 Questions here.

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