Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Judy Miller case: If the corporatist elite doesn't take care of its own, how will it recruit and maintain future stooges?

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Did it ever occur to Judy Miller in her career as a Village media whore that she deserved to lose the reputation you'd think would be what matters most to an actual journalist?

by Ken

In my post earlier today, "So where are the jobs? (And are they coming back?," in which I had occasion to ridicule media whore Michael Gerson for his puppylike servitude to his corporate masters, I tried not to overlook how important it is to the corporatist elite to maintain a faithful roster of bought-and-paid-for whores in both government and media service.

Incidentally, I realize how crazy-paranoid it is to be talking, as I find myself increasingly, about a conspiracy of corporate-elite types, but I don't see any way around it, since it seems to me to describe the reality we now live in: "Money talks; no money, fuck you." "Oligarchy" seems to me an excellent description of where we are, but that seems to me to sound even crazier-paranoider.

And crucial to the operation of the corporatist whore-networks is the assurance the whores have to have that they'll be taken care of. I'm sure, for example, that President Obama very much wants to be elected to a second term. At the same time, though, I have a strong feeling that policy-wise his thinking includes a powerful understanding that as long as he provides the service his corporate bankrollers expected of him, as long as he goes down fighting for them, he'll be taken care of. It will cost them only chump change to take care of one of their own, and doing so provides reassurance to all the other people they'll be buying, while failing to do so would send a terrible message to all their other stooges, present and future.

Of course the employer of last resort in the media-whore wing of corporatist stoogedom is Fox Noise. However, there are limits to how many refugees from factuality the NewsCorp empire can absorb, and even those openings really require some kind of bona fides in TV -- not that it takes much more than an ability to talk crazy on camera.

Fans of larger-than-life media whores will be pleased to know that after a rough patch, one of their titans has found a new home. Yes, Judith Miller, who wangled her way into the upper echelon of New York Times reporters in order to create a personal empire in which, as national-security correspondent, she could promote her both her personal foreign-policy agenda and her bloated and diseased ego, only to see it fizzle when she was caught as essentially a coconspirator of Irving "Lewis" Libby and the rest of the elite pondscum in Vice President "Big Dick" Cheney's entourage in the matter of the outing of Valerie Plame and the subsequent cover-up of it.

I'm not privy to what travails our Judy may have endured in the effort to, er, resell her services following her discreet separation from the usually unembarrassable NYT. That she disappeared from the active roster of media whores seemed blessing enough. Well, she's ba-a-ack! As HuffPost media watcher Jason Linkins reported yesterday: "Judith Miller Lands At Newsmax."

Now, as it happens, and as Jason points out, our Judy was already a Fox Noise contributor. And "she has already served as an online contributor" for Newsmax. But now she's a published Newsmax writer. That this development has given rise to what Jason describes as "a stir on the Tweetdecks of American journalists" is a measure of the length of the leap from the NYT to Newsmax. And here one has to wonder at the extremity of Jason's tact in describing Newsmax as "right-leaning." A festering cesspool of extreme-right-wing news-bending is closer to how most of us would describe it.

Jason reports that our Judy's maiden Newsmax voyage, "Terrorism, Money, and Drugs," --
is a perfectly decent read on the law enforcement effort being jointly undertaken by Americans and Iraqis to curb the drug trafficking that's fueling what's left of the insurgency. Assuming it doesn't have the sourcing problems of her pre-war work at the Times (again, I am referring to her history of using the Bush administration's favorite grifter-shills as her "sources"), there's nothing objectionable about the piece itself.

The problem is that she's earned herself such an unseemly reputation as a media whore. The sin isn't being a media whore, which after all is what nearly the entire employment rolls of the infotaiinment noozemedia are. No, the sin is getting caught being a media whore. After all, she was hardly alone in writing what Jason calls "hilariously wrong pieces on Iraq's WMD program," pieces that --
were cited by Bush administration officials as a factor in their decision to invade Iraq (by design, considering international grifter-clown Ahmed Chalabi was telling Miller exactly what the Bush White House wanted her to hear: as Jack Shafer puts it, "Bush's guy was the Times's guy"),
How many of the others paid any sort of price for being "hilariously wrong"? I sure haven't heard about them. Mostly I've heard about people who were right being punished and people who were wrong being rewarded.

Looking back, what's really shocking is how little Judy seems to have tended to her reputation. I'm sure she was far from alone among the Village media whores in thinking she was burnishing her reputation by making herself a "player" in the stories she was (mis)covering. And you can forgive them all for thinking, based on experience and observation, that this is in fact the way the "journalistic" game is played. Probably to this day Judy thinks of herself as the victim in her career of journalistic malfeasance.

You have to wonder if it's ever dawned on our Judy that, short of a superhuman effort of rehabilitation, of a sort she shows no signs of having undertaken, no one with any sense will ever trust another word she reports. True, at Fox Noise and Newsmax it doesn't matter a whit. But I think she used to have, however erroneously, a very different image of herself as a "journalist."

It doesn't make up for all the other Village media whores who've gotten, and continue to get, away with journalistic murder, and sure, on a human level it's possible to feel sorry for the one that got caught. However, on the level of integrity and trust, those ancient relics of once-talked-about virtue, it counts for something that one of these SOBs got caught. She swims now with the "right-leaning" media fishes.
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3 Comments:

At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, though I agree of course that Judy was, is, and will only ever be a news whorehound, I felt a chill while reading the ending of your post and realized I wouldn't be at all surprised if she could be found one day co-hosting the Spitzer show on CNN, or something like it. That's how pathologically (and pathetically) amoral and amnesiac the elite commercial news media has become. If it doesn't happen, it will be a miracle. If it does happen, it's par for the course.
Wish it weren't true.

- L.P.

 
At 3:14 AM, Blogger Bukko Canukko said...

In the world of the streets, do you think that real whores think about the bad things that happen to other whores, and that it puts them off whoredom? Not really. They're caught up in the motivation of the moment, whatever sad impetus that might be, so they plunge right on with the whoring. No thought of the future. You think it's any different with meeja whores?

And here's a sad, scary thought -- suppose NewsMax is going to become the "new respectable"? When CNN launched in, what, 1985, would anyone have thought that a bunch of shouting cretins like Fux would be regarded as a serious news presence, pulling higher ratings than real cable news? (Not that I regard corporate lackeys like CNN as all that real any more.) The National Enquirer is getting some props as being a serious journalistic enterprise (not entirely undeserved, due to its occasional actual investigative reporting.) Maybe as the Overton Window gets shoved open further by the likes of Glenn Beckkk, NewsMax will be seen as more representative of reality. As KKKarl Rove said, "We create our own reality" and NewsMax might come to be the face of it.

(N.B. Peak oil, climate catastrophe and debt-financial collapse will inject a dose of deadly REAL reality into KKKarl's version, so his "reality" will only triumph as long as there's enough surplus energy to keep the spin-illusion going. Billions of humans will die prematurely as a result of physical reality reasserting itself over spin, so the triumph of reality has its price. Let's hope KKKarl and his allegely-fathered spawn are still alive to be taken down parched, staved and frozen when that happens. It will be a small consolation for what will probably be our own mortality in the coming die-back.)

 
At 4:31 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

A sobering perspective, BC. I'd love to be able to inject a note of hopefulness in there somewhere, but I'm at a loss.

Cheers,
Ken

 

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