Struggling journalists, take notice (no Friedman, we’re not talking about you): If you want to make a LOT of money (through, say, a book deal, for instance), go to jail for 85 days or suffer through a Hurricane and its aftermath.
Despite a lack of confirmation from just about anyone, Arianna Huffington restates that, “Miller has absolutely, positively been telling friends that she has a $1.2 million book deal. Period. The end.”
And Arianna is none to happy about how the whole thing has gone down, and her assessment is hard to disagree with:
Then, according to the Times’ Kit Seelye, Miller claimed “she was uncertain whether she would write her own account, either in the newspaper or in a book”.
Sure. She’s a writer but she’s not sure whether she’ll write about the experience. I can’t for the life of me figure out how she and the Times can justify her recounting everything that took place between her and Libby to the grand jury and not sharing it with the readers of the New York Times. Isn’t her first obligation to the readers her newspaper is dedicated to serving? Isn’t that what journalists are in business to do? Tell the public what’s going on? How can she not tell her readers what she already told the government when she testified in front of the grand jury? And if she doesn’t want to do it because she’s saving it for the book, shouldn’t Bill Keller order her to?
Gawker has a Top Ten:
“How to score a book deal in 10 easy steps:
1. Work at New York Times
2. Unquestioningly run spoonfed information regarding WMDs
3. Look like an asshole, embarrass your publication
3. Write MASH notes to cabinet members
4. Declare yourself Queen of Iraq
5. Muddle up some espionage leaks
6. Look like an asshole, embarrass your publication
7. Refuse to talk about anything, despite having full permission to do so
8. Reinvent self as First Amendment freedom fighter
9. Go to jail for 12 weeks, listen to hip-hop
10. Sign $1.2 million book deal
David Ignatius chimes in, saying that editors should learn a lot from the Miller affair.
When Miller emerged from prison, she urged passage of a federal shield law, and she’s right about that. But while we’re waiting for a media-friendly Congress, we journalists should look more closely at our own rules. Reporters and their sources shouldn’t determine a newspaper’s agenda, much less whether a reporter should go to jail in defiance of a grand jury subpoena. That’s a job for editors and their publishers.
Jon Carroll (like most) is having a hard time making sense of any of it.
And to think that the Post thought they had it rough when figuring out how to deal with Mark Felt…