A Clockwork Orange

OC Weekly‚€™s Rebecca Schoenkopf had a fine web exclusive (Punchin‚€™ Judy) about Miller's recent visit to Cal State Fullerton to bestow a free speech award to Mark "Deep Throat" Felt at the California First Amendment Coalition's 10th annual Open Government Assembly.

Funny story about the run-up to Becca's story: there was an internal debate here and our big sis paper LA Weekly over whether we should even cover Miller's local appearance, which you didn't read about in our print edition that week not because of the debate but because it was our Best of OC issue, meaning all earthly news disappears for a week. (Except for on ask for it by name. Please?

Anyway, some thought we should boycott Miller because she allowed herself to be used as a tool by the White House in reporting on the existence of weapons of mass destruction, and others thought we should cover Miller because she allowed herself to be used as a tool by the White House in reporting on the existence of weapons of mass destruction.

With journalists and their principles, you can never win.

Well, as it turns out, there has been much debate within the California First Amendment Coalition about Miller's appearance as well. It began when FLASH, CFAC's executive director Peter Scheer's online alter-ego, criticized critics of the appropriateness of Miller's presence at their annual do. Here's a collection of some of the FLASH feedback:

-- I am a former 15-year veteran reporter and more recently a public relations professional. It does not take a professional to realize that Judith Miller is a tumor on the profession of journalism. She used her position to actively help an administration promote its agenda, one which, if you have been paying attention, has been a great detriment to this country and the world.

-- Although I revere the first amendment, I don't think it can be used to hide everything a journalist does. I consider Judy Miller a sycophant, a manipulator and an abuser. She evidently lied to her editors and compromised not only theTimes, but its trusting readership, some of whom might well have been in positions to make decisions based on her disinformation. I think she's an abuser and manipulator, not an ally, of the First Amendment. And people are dead who quite possibly would be alive if she‚€™d been either a more capable reporter or a more trustworthy human being. . . .

-- What hasn't been said amongst all of this self-criticism (and very craftily avoided at the CFAC conference and in theNYT itself) is if Libby had agreed to give the waiver to testify and then Miller's lawyers got the special prosecutor to narrow his questions just to Libby, then who else is Judith protecting? Does this investigation go as far as Dick Cheney or eventually to the Oval Office? And if so doesn;t this implicate Miller's whole coverage of the WMDs and the very premise for going to war in Iraq? Is Judith a mere propagandist posing as a journalist or is it worse than that? I for one don't want to be standing very close to her when this thing explodes. It is really too bad that Miller is using the First Amendment to cover up for these other political issues, and as yet, unnamed sources. I must also say that for a group of journalists who are supposedly committed to this portion of the Bill of Rights there seemed to be a veritable lack of its use. Everyone at the CFAC assembly was feeling so sympathetic about her being in jail for 85 days, they didn't stop to ask the question: Who else is she protecting and why? I hope that CFAC would be true to both its mission and its name by posting some of the emails from its members in this newsletter and on the website.

-- Your selection of Judy Miller as a special guest at the assembly is really bizarre. I believe strongly that journalists should be able protect their confidential sources and that should be codified into law. But you are not doing your organization, or the cause of free speech, any favors by inviting her. She is no hero.

-- You have got to be kidding! Judith Miller is the antithesis of Mark Felt. She is a disgrace.

And those were Miller's supporters!

Just kidding.

There was one response to FLASH that wasn't like those previous ones:

Nobody, including you, gives a damn about Judith Miller. What I care about is giving leftist, anti-American outfits like yours some law entitling them to say anything they want without having to back it up.

Someone "gave us" the First Amendment? Whose email address did that last one come from? Cheney? Dubnuts? Scooter Libby?

A Clockwork Orange (Oct. 21, 5:05 p.m.-Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m.)
A Clockwork Orange (Oct. 13, sundown-Oct. 19, 6:20 p.m.)
A Clockwork Orange (Oct. 10, 1:30 p.m.-Oct. 11, 6:45 p.m.)
A Clockwork Orange (Oct. 3, 3:44 p.m.-Oct. 5, 5:41 p.m.)
A Clockwork Orange (Sept. 23, 4:12 p.m.-Sept. 29, 10:57 a.m.)
A Clockwork Orange (Sept. 15, 7:17 p.m.-Sept. 21, 6:42 p.m.)
A Clockwork Orange (Sept. 7, 2 p.m.-Sept. 13, 3:30 p.m.)
A Clockwork Naranja (Arellano), with some Orange (Coker) down near the bottom (Aug. 31, 6:05 p.m.-Sept. 5, 3ish)
A Clockwork Orange (Aug. 26, 4 p.m.-Aug. 30, 6:15 p.m.)
A Clockwork Orange (Aug. 22, 5:07 p.m.-Aug. 25, 6:01 p.m.)
A Clockwork Naranja (Aug. 14-22, 10 a.m.ish)
A Clockwork Orange (Aug. 2-10)

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