Yes, if I want to know what the "state of journalism" is, the first people I'd turn to are Judith Miller and James O'Keefe.
After all, who would know more about the state of journalism and the First Amendment than a dude who should have been hammered with felony wiretapping but managed to get by with a slap on the hand? Or a woman who used her position at the New York Times to serve as a stenographer for the Bush Administration's lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
Just a reminder about Judith Miller's impression of how journalism works:
As a former CIA analyst told Salon’s James C. Moore: “The White House had a perfect deal with Miller. [U.S.-funded Iraqi dissident Ahmed] Chalabi is providing the Bush people with the information they need to support their political objectives with Iraq, and he is supplying the same material to Judy Miller. Chalabi tips her on something and then she goes to the White House, which has already heard the same thing from Chalabi, and she gets it corroborated by some insider she always describes as a ‘senior administration official.’ “
For example, on September 8, 2002, Miller reported on the front page of the Times that intercepted aluminum tubes indicated that Saddam was developing a nuclear bomb. That day, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney all appeared on Sunday morning talk shows, citing Miller’s sensational exposé, which was debunked, with much less fanfare, five days later.
Yes, Judith Miller and James O'Keefe are almost certainly authorities on the state of journalism in this country, if you believe journalism is nothing more than juvenile sting operations and uncritical reporting of outright lies as if they were fact.
And yet, this happened today.
While both may draw up strong feelings in both supporters and detractors alike, neither can be said to have made no impact on the world of media — especially when you consider what both James and Judith have been through in the course of their work. Both have confronted their own media community, both have come under fire from their colleagues, and both have faced criminal penalties (Judith served 85 days in jail for refusing to give up her sources in the infamous Valerie Plame affair, James was arrested for criminal conspiracy, among other incidents).
Aw. Poor Judy.
You can watch the full interview above. In it, both James and Judith talk about the state of the media today, and how, in the last several years, the attitude — and, more importantly, the professionalism — of the once noble Fourth Estate has declined, leaving a profession that is less interested in sniffing out the real story than it is in fortifying it's own pre-determined ideology, and feeding the vast connected network of partisan media on the left red meat to perpetuate their outrage. They also speak candidly about what its like to approach media now as an outsider - something that, according to O'Keefe, who gave an exclusive statement to The American Spectator, finds to be a uniting characteristic, not just between him and Judith, but among many outsider media professionals — and how the First Amendment has been absolutely essential to their work.
Oh. My. God. Please call the irony police, particularly on the "profession...less interested in sniffing out the real story than it is in fortifying it's [sic] own predetermined ideology, and feeding the fast connected network of partisan media..."
The American Spectator is legitimizing a guy who wanted to "punk" CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau by giving that "bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five...a taste of her own medicine, she'll get seduced on camera and you'll get to see the awkwardness and the aftermath."
Miller offers her "wisdom" for us to enjoy, too.
"As a journalist, I believe you can't have a free society without free expression. And that includes the right to be offensive and in James O'Keefe's case, saying things people don't want to hear and seeking information in unorthodox ways. That's one of the many things that make America exceptional. Hate speech is not banned in America, as it is in much of Europe. 'I may not agree with you,' said Oscar Wilde, 'but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.' There's a lot of that going on too these days."
Yes, Judy. There is, and two of those asses are in that video.
Update: Twitter scoffs. [h/t ComradeAnon for the pointer]
There are so many more, but these got me laughing.