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Breaking: A Message From Bill Keller

Breaking: A Message from Bill Keller Check out this memo from Bill Keller at The NY Times to his staff in it's entirety that I have verified from thr

Breaking: A Message from Bill Keller

Check out this memo from Bill Keller at The NY Times to his staff in it's entirety that I have verified from three sources. He touches on many subjects and especially Judy Miller. He rails against her behavior and his own sloppiness in investigating her. Keller also discusses shield laws within the confines of newspapers and their reporters. The NY Times reporting on WMD's is addressed and hasn't that been the real story behind all of this?

Keller: excerpt: "As you can imagine, I've done a lot of thinking -- and a lot of listening -- on the subject of what I should have done differently in handling our reporter's entanglement in the White House leak investigation. Jill and John and I have talked a great deal among ourselves and with many of you, and while this is a discussion that will continue, we thought it would be worth taking a first cut at the lessons we have learned.

I wish that when I learned Judy Miller had been subpoenaed as a witness in the leak investigation, I had sat her down for a thorough debriefing, and followed up with some reporting of my own. It is a natural and proper instinct to defend reporters when the government seeks to interfere in our work. And under other circumstances it might have been fine to entrust the details -- the substance of the confidential interviews, the notes -- to lawyers who would be handling the case. But in this case I missed what should have been significant alarm bells. Until Fitzgerald came after her, I didn't know that Judy had been one of the reporters on the receiving end of the anti-Wilson whisper campaign. I should have wondered why I was learning this from the special counsel, a year after the fact. (In November of 2003 Phil Taubman tried to ascertain whether any of our correspondents had been offered similar leaks. As we reported last Sunday, Judy seems to have misled Phil Taubman about the extent of her involvement.) This alone should have been enough to make me probe deeper.

Dick Stevenson has expressed the larger lesson here in an e-mail that strikes me as just right: "I think there is, or should be, a contract between the paper and its reporters. The contract holds that the paper will go to the mat to back them up institutionally -- but only to the degree that the reporter has lived up to his or her end of the bargain, specifically to have conducted him or herself in a way consistent with our legal, ethical and journalistic standards, to have been open and candid with the paper about sources, mistakes, conflicts and the like, and generally to deserve having the reputations of all of us put behind him or her. In that way, everybody knows going into a battle exactly what the situation is, what we're fighting for, the degree to which the facts might counsel compromise or not, and the degree to which our collective credibility should be put on the line." I've heard similar sentiments from a number of reporters in the aftermath of this case....read on"
There is plenty to check out and I'm sure there will be many takes on this memo.
Reddhedd from Fire Dog Lake writes this: "It is blunt in some places, and brutal toward Judy in a back-handed way that shows that Keller is fairly unhappy (to put it mildly) about her keeping him in the dark about a lot of things between her and Scooter...read on"
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