Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cannibalism at the NYTimes

The New York Times is working hard on cutting Judith Miller loose after 'revelations' that she wasn't entirely forthcoming about her ties with Lewis Libby. The specifics aside one should note how the Times used Maureen Dowd to go after one of their own.

I don't usually read Dowd, because, well it always ends with "It was Bush's fault." Her recent piece, Woman of Mass Destruction, [WMD - how cute] though is worth reading. It's basically a Times' management hit piece on Miller and done in an unbelievably shrill and callow manner. It's TimeSelect so I'll supply a few excerpts:

I've always liked Judy Miller...

The traits she has that drive many reporters at The Times crazy - her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic intensity and her peculiar mixture of hard work and hauteur - have never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types.
She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet "Miss Run Amok."
An Associated Press story yesterday reported that Judy had coughed up the details of an earlier meeting with Mr. Libby only after prosecutors confronted her with a visitor log showing that she had met with him on June 23, 2003. This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project.

Good G*d. And she's "always liked" Judith Miller!

Now, for some background.

Here's Myrna Blyth at NRO:

Of course, Maureen complaining that Judy is a diva is sort of like the pot taking off on the kettle. And bringing up the time Judy wanted Maureen, who was then the Times’s official White House correspondent, to give up “the New York Times seat” to her at a White House press briefing does show what a calculating piece of work Miller can be. But then for Maureen to remember this and use it against Miller 15 years later shows Maureen is some piece of work, too. And Maureen‘s putting down Judy for having influential men friends at the paper while she has had a few of them herself…? Obviously the Times newsroom was never big enough for the two of them.

and Andrea Peyser at the NYPost: [remember that bit 'tropism towards powerful men'?]

This crowned a remarkable week, in which the Times' two 50-something, Pulitzer prize-winning sex kittens engaged in an eye-gouging catfight.

Rather than fight like a man, the newspaper of record this weekend deployed Maureen Dowd to pen a column in which La Dowd suggested that her fellow female colleague had used, shall we say, unladylike methods to get ahead.

This has led some on the sidelines to chuckle about Dowd's own personal history.

"It sounds like one big geriatric daisy chain over there," laughed one source familiar with the players.
Funny how "tropism" works at the Times — if you're female and have all your teeth.

The men in Judy's life would include none other than Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger. The two have known each other since she joined Arthur as a reporter in the Times Washington bureau in 1977.

Though a "relationship" has long been rumored, it can be said that Judy and her then-boyfriend, Steven Rattner, shared a Maryland weekend house with Sulzberger and his wife. He's protected her ever since.
Dowd, who has never married, has dated her share of well-known and powerful men. These include actor Michael Douglas, in his pre-Catherine Zeta-Jones days, and TV's Aaron Sorkin, as well as Howell Raines — before he was Times editor.

Dowd, like Miller, flourished under Raines' tenure at the top of the masthead. Her column moved to a coveted Sunday spot.

However, since Raines resigned amid the Jayson Blair fiasco, Dowd's work has been moved to a lesser Saturday space.

Meanwhile, Judith enjoyed star status on the paper, Raines or not.

Which may help explain Dowd's column on Miller. It gives the impression that Dowd has not been happy running second in the competition for the Times' Top Babe.

Here's Dowd's final line:

Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country." If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.

From your mouth to G*d's ears, Maureen.

No comments: