Miller snubbed by broad assumptions

This is pretty interesting:

The board of The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) has voted unanimously to reverse an earlier decision to give its annual Conscience in Media award to jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller, E&P has learned.

The group’s First Amendment committee had narrowly voted to give Miller the prize for her dedication to protecting sources, but the full board has now voted to overturn that decision, based on its opinion that her entire career, and even her current actions in the Plame/CIA leak case, cast doubt on her credentials for this award.

The American Society of Journalists and Authors is a 50-year-old group of some 1,100 non-fiction independent writers. The earlier vote by its First Amendment committee had already prompted at least one member of that panel to quit her position.

Anita Bartholomew, a freelance journalist who has contributed to Reader’s Digest, wrote in a resignation letter, “The First Amendment is designed to prevent government interference with a free press. Miller, by shielding a government official or officials who attempted to use the press to retaliate against a whistleblower, and scare off other would-be whistleblowers, has allied herself with government interference with, and censorship of, whistleblowers. When your source IS the government, and the government is attempting to use you to target a whistleblower, the notion of shielding a source must be reconsidered. To apply standard practices regarding sources to hiding wrongdoing at the highest levels of government perverts the intent of the First Amendment.”

So, these “journalists” (the sort Bill Keller called “quality journalists” on Charlie Rose last night…although he did not specify WHAT quality, high or low) have decided – without the release of Fitzgerald’s report, without any solid evidence – that they concur with Bartholomew’s overwrought conclusion, that the source Judith Miller is protecting “IS the government,” and therefore she is unworthy of this award because she is “protecting” the government.

And yet, people like Arianna Huffington, hardly a Bush-lover, are more and more frequently suggesting that the “source” Judith Miller is protecting may be herself. Or someone in the press. As Tom McQuire points out almost daily this story is so convoluted, there are so many journalists involved, there are so many questions as to what, exactly Plame and Wilsom were doing setting up his little jaunt to Niger, that no one actually KNOWS anything, at this point.

And no one seems to be asking Andrea Mitchell about her on-air statement, months ago, that Plame’s CIA connection was “common knowledge.”

And yet, these “journalists” are convinced that THEY know Judith Miller’s “source,” and because they “know” that source “IS the government,” they have turned her formerly “heroic silence” into a career-ending flunkyism.

The thing just gets murkier and murkier, and I bless McQuire, who seems to be the only one who can keep up with it all.

PS: Ed Morrissey says he rather suspected this would happen!

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