Judith Miller had this to say before being shackled and taken to a D.C.-area federal prison this evening: The freest and fairest societies are not only those with independent judiciaries, but those with an independent press that works every day to keep government accountable by publishing what the government might not want the public to know. Well, right. But that is exactly what DIDN’T happen here, right? Here, "the government" – or more precisely some sleazeball inside it – shopped the fact that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent around to a bunch of journalists as payback for her husband’s critical op-ed regarding Nigerian yellow cake, and douchebag of liberty Bob Novak finally went for it. This is not some whistleblower telling government secrets for the good of the public. This leak had no news value, no public interest value, nothing (as D.C. Circuit Judge Tatel wrote, "the leaked information – Plame’s covert status – lacked significant news value"). The only point of revealing it was to harm an individual whose job was to try to protect this country from terrorists. If Judith Miller received this information from someone in the White House, she was being played like a fiddle. [...]
Today’s entire NY Times editorial page is devoted to a lengthy (yawn) defense of Judith Miller’s right to keep her sources confidential and a variety of attacks on the Novak-Plame-gate special prosecutor, other news organizations (especially Time, Inc.) that agreed to cooperate, and basically everyone else who has the temerity to differ with the mighty Times. There’s a lot in the piece that I don’t agree with, but frankly I’ve got better things to do than work through all of them. So let me just make a couple of points. First, the piece invokes the "Founding Fathers" and the First Amendment several times, and expresses confidence that James Madison et al. would be horrified by what happened yesterday. In a similar vein, the Times trots out the Pentagon Papers case as proof that Miller is doing the right thing. On both counts, not so fast. The Pentagon Papers case was a classic case of prior restraint – in Justice Black’s words, can the government "halt the publication of current news of vital importance to the people of this country." The Court said "no." But of course, no one has ever suggested that Bob Novak, or anyone else, could have been [...]
It looks like London got bombed in about six places today (which obliterates my plans to post about Pat Robertson, Bono and the One Campaign). It seems likely that there will be a lot more than the mere two deaths currently reported. Romney raised the security level on the T this morning, but I’m not sure exactly what that means. So I drove Mrs. Charley to work downtown today. I sure hope they’re doing more than just this: At the North Station Commuter Rail hub in downtown Boston, a U.S.Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was on hand with a dog, alongwith transit and local police officers. Great, dogs. Be safe, everyone.
Regular readers will be well aware that I am not exactly a big W fan. But I have to give him credit for his recent comments regarding the process of selecting and confirming Justice O’Connor’s successor on the Supreme Court. His remarks today, as reported by the NY Times, are particularly good: "I hope the United States Senate conducts themselves in a way that brings dignity to the process," he said, "and that the senators don’t listen to the special interest groups, particularly those on the extremes that are trying to exploit this opportunity for not only their, what they might think is right, but also for their own fund-raising capabilities." The remarkable thing about Bush’s comments over the last couple of days (see here for more) is how clearly they are directed at his "base" of Dobsonite religious conservatives, rather than at Godless atheist liberal activist groups. Notice how he disparages groups "on the extremes," clearly including both the "extreme" left and the "extreme" right. I don’t recall anything like this happening before. We cannot expect Bush to name names (though it would be nice), but it’s refreshing to see his ire for once directed at the wingnuts in [...]