Judy at arm’s length

Steak dinners and martinis aside, the New York Times is clearly off the Judith Miller bandwagon. Bill Keller distanced himself from her in Friday’s memo to staff, Maureen Dowd weighed in with a stinging throwdown of an editorial (“Woman of Mass Destruction?” — honestly, she didn’t even need to write anything else) and Barney Calame chimed in yesterday with his anticipated rebuke of the Times’ handling of the case and equally anticipated disavowal of Judith Miller and all she hath wrought (note: the Calame piece is non-TimesSelect but it’s an additional mark against Timesian transparency that clutch columns on the topic by Dowd and Rich have not been made available to readers, who by this point, have earned the freebie).

So. It’s pretty clear that Miller won’t be returning to the New York Times; calls by Arianna, Greg Mitchell, and the paper’s own staffers have pretty much seen to that (Sulzberger gave up this much to Calame: “”She and I have acknowledged that there are new limits on what she can do next”).

It’s all well and good for the NYT to make Judy the scapegoat — and indeed her obfuscations and slippery reporage were obviously beyond the pale – but there is more at play here, and it is not for one woman to be borne (she had editors, even though they were being stymied by Howell Raines but still, this is over two years). There are still unanswered questions (cue Jay Rosen) re: her so-called security status (do any other reporters have such status? Can we hear from John Burns etc. about what is de rigeur?), and it’s got to be transparent (drop TimesSelect on this matter, NYT. Seriously). Keller shoulders the blame for the year-long wait in addressing the WMD scandal, and for his flawed rationale for so doing), but there is more to be done, aggressively, to report the hell out of this story. Per Arianna: “The crisis at the New York Times is about much more than Judy Miller, and the crisis at the White House is about much more than Scooter Libby.”