Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Judith Miller's Devil Theories

What took the New York Times twenty-eight years to realize about Judith Miller (she started in the Time's Washington bureau in 1977), Edward Said had figured out almost ten years ago. He must be having an especially satisfying cup of Turkish coffee in his grave.

A few choice bits for the hurried and harried:

On Miller's predilection for making herself part of the story, rather than reporting it: "... in one especially nauseating scene, she actually participates in the prison interrogation of an alleged Muslim terrorist by Israeli policemen, whose systematic use of torture and other questionable procedures (undercover assassinations, middle-of-the-night arrests, house demolitions) she politely overlooks as she gets to ask the handcuffed man a few questions of her own."

On Miller's fixation on fiction and the Times' early lock on misreporting the Mideast: "Miller disdains facts; she prefers quoting interminable talk as a way of turning Arabs into deserving victims of Israeli terror and U.S. support of it. She perfectly exemplifies The New York Times's current Middle East coverage, now at its lowest ebb."

On trusting the wrong pen: "Miller, in short, is a shallow, opinionated journalist whose gigantic book is too long for what it ends up saying, and far too short on reflection, considered analysis, structure and facts. Poor Muslims and Arabs who may have trusted her; they should have known better than to mistake an insinuated guest for a friend."

[With thanks to Rick deY]