As far as catfights are concerned, this one cannot compare with, say, Bette Davis v. Joan Crawford, or even Crystal v. Alexis Carrington, but it will do for the rainy season. Maureen Dowd, a 55-year-old New York Times columnist known for her hysterical outbursts against George W. Bush, has taken an 800-word swipe against her Times colleague Judith Miller, fresh out of jail for refusing to reveal her so-called sources. This is the kind of fight where the fans root for a double knockout. It’s more Paris Hilton v. Nicole Ritchie, if you know what I mean. The more blood spilled, the better.
If any of you have missed it, and I’m sure most of you have — after all, who gives a rat’s ass about two old women hacks desperately vying for attention — here’s the real scoop. And it was broken by none other than Justin Raimondo of the American Conservative — founding editor, the greatest Greek writer since Aristophanes. Judy Miller, a highly strung, shrill social-climber since birth, has just spent 85 days in the pokey claiming she would not reveal her sources in a criminal case. To say that a multimillion book contract, a Pulitzer prize and journalistic martyrdom had entered her mind would be the grossest understatement of all time. ‘The idea that she is a martyr to the concept of a free press inverts her real role in this matter, which has been to obstruct not only justice but also the truth — the truth about how we were lured into the Iraqi quagmire by unscrupulous government officials of dubious loyalty.’
Miller, you see, was at the epicentre of the Chalabi–Iranian disinformation campaign to get Uncle Sam to attack Iraq, and has refused to speak without a forked tongue because if she did the truth would come out and bury her and her informants. Chalabi the conman and Miller were thick as thieves, the latter producing fiery copy week after week about — yes, you guessed it — weapons of mass destruction. Oy veh! Now the Times, a very bad and extremely boring newspaper, is in hot water again.
Only two years ago it had to fire its top editors because its political correctness had spawned another conman, Jayson Blair, a young black man whose forte was writing stories which never took place. Basically, the paper has defended Miller because the owner, Punch Sulzberger, is a close friend of hers. Sulzberger is a typical baby-boomer, as arrogant pricks are called over here, an insecure but cocky guy who thinks he can rule the world by boring it to death with his prolix paper. The Times, of course, believes in free speech under any circumstances, as long as the First Amendment also gives the right to a journalist not to speak when subpoenaed in a criminal investigation. A typical double standard? So what else is new?
Step in Ms Dowd, a red-headed Bush-hater who would be more at home somewhere in Northern Ireland heaving verbal bombs at the Revd Paisley. Writing in the Times, she starts her column in typical Times fashion: ‘I have always liked Judy Miller.’ That’s the biggest crock of many crocks which appear daily in the so-called paper of record. Miller is a climber, Jewish, and has intellectual and social pretensions. Dowd is working-class Irish and, like many of her colleagues, resents Miller’s get-ahead tricks and deceptions. Miller, writes Dowd, needs a leash kept on her at all times because she used bogus sources and planted bogus stories. Imagine what she would have written had she not liked la Miller. She kept the best for last. Miller has said she plans to return to the Times newsroom to cover ‘threats to our country’. (My, how corny can these Noo Yawkers get?) ‘If that were to happen,’ writes Dowd, ‘the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.’
To sum up, Miller was either duped or was in on the phony stories planted by Chalabi and the Cheney gang. (Personally, I think she was in on it.) And she has refused to come clean with her own editors about what she was really up to. Dowd was hoping all along that the Iraqi war would go badly so she could continue to heap abuse on the Bush administration. Both women would be more at home in Paris circa 1792, jeering at aristocrats being taken in the tumbrels to have their heads removed. The New York Times has once again disgraced itself by acting as if rules and laws were for others.
Personally, I no longer buy it. Much too boring and holier than thou. It refused to publish a wedding announcement when told the groom had an ancient Italian title. We are a republic, some pompous arse answered. Yes, but the wedding was in Rome, and the Italians still use their ancient titles as a mark of respect for tradition and the past. Miller v. Dowd. I’d rather watch Boy George fighting George Michael. Now that’s a real catfight. Miaow!