|Man Without Qualities|
Sunday, October 02, 2005
There has been lots of chattering about Judith Miller's recent release from jail and her testimony in the Plame non-case among those who care to chatter about such things. And God bless their little chattering hearts and fingers, each and every one.
As the mainstream media and various bloggers describe in excruciating detail (and, as Maguire capably points out, often excruciatingly incorrect detail), none of the explanations proffered by the Times (or, really, anyone else) as to why Ms. Miller ever when to jail in the first place make much sense - still less any explanation as to why she agreed to testify.
The partial exception is the obvious one: Whatever her reasons for going to jail in the first place may have been, 85 days of confinement made her realize those reasons were just as stupid as everyone had been suggesting they were. Such effects on recalcitrant witnesses of time in the pokey is, after all, why courts put witnesses who refuse to testify in jail in the first place: Long incarceration tends to make them agree to testify. If several hundred years of practical experience did not evidence the effectiveness of the technique, courts probably couldn't be bothered using it now. The whole procedure, after all, is pretty expensive, messy and time consuming.
But I would like to note another central element that changed between day 1 and day 85: Everybody, including the Times, pretty much stopped talking much about the Plame non-matter and how the Plame non-matter might affect the president during that period, especially in the weeks towards the end. So perhaps the correct explanation runs something like this:
The entire Plame non-matter has always been a trivial non-issue that has been kept not-quite-alive by dogged efforts of the president's critics in the mainstream media solely as a talking points gimmick. The New York Times has very much been part of that effort - even a leader of it. As part of that effort, the Times purported to adopt and/or endorse the preposterous and hyper-sensitive policies on pseudo-coerced waivers that led to Ms. Miller's incarceration.Yes, as New York Times superstar columnist Herr Doktorprofessor Paul Von Krugman says: That's the way it was. It's all true. It's all backed up by one of those technical journals Herr Doktorprofessor sometimes tells us he subscribes to. They did a computer model or something.
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