Why do the Little Fibbers among our media get canned but the Big Liars get a pass? Take the case of the young, now-former reporter, Nada Behziz from the daily Bakersfield Californian. Not only did this cub reporter get immediately canned for allegedly making up some sources and plagiarizing some quotes on a few local and rather insignificant stories, but her editors decided the sordid story of her professional demise was front page news. As if the readers care about such mundane inside baseball.
Worse, her boss said the staff was "mortified" to find a liar in its midst. Oh puh-leeze! Mortified? Don't these reporters ever get out and talk to some real liars, like their local elected officials?
Which brings me to me Judith Miller. As I explain in detail on my latest personal blog posting, it's rather odd, don't you think, that some poor soul like Behziz loses her career for fudging a story about teen smoking, while Miller survives her wholesale lying about smoking guns, mushroom clouds and WMD?
Even as the New York Times' ombudsman says he thinks it would be "very difficult" for Miller to continue her reporting job, publisher Arthur Sulzberger says all is forgiven and Judy can come back, as long as she agrees to certain "limits." Limits? Doesn't he mean strait-jacket?
That sort of hypocrisy is built right into the current, obsolete model of American Mainstream Media. Spell the name of a street wrong for your local rag and wind up working at the Wal-Mart. But run a series of articles that justify an unnecessary war, based on absolutely fraudulent sources, and for the New York Times no less, and watch your editors sit back and take it.
Well, it looks like Miller has finally been called out�albeit a couple of years and one war too late. The most we can expect in her future is the million-dollar tell-nothing book and then maybe a tenured appointment at some third-rate J School. Good riddance.
But how many more Judith Millers are there in the front lines of American journalism? How many more dutiful, diligent stenographers to the powerful, blithely passing off partisan spin as some sort of Objective Truth?