Book Promotions and War


/Beth Wareham

I have nothing against The New York Times. I have nothing against the former New York Times reporter Judy Miller either, except both helped drive the United States into the stupidest war we have ever known. (Not that any have been that great, save the Hitler one.)

During that glorious period of American history known as “Shock and Awe,” Judy Miller wrote a book called “Germs,” pinning the recent mailings of ricin to Middle Eastern terrorists. The book’s editor was the famous Alice Mayhew at Simon and Schuster. There was little to question in the bonafides of these two women.

The New York Times and Simon & Schuster did their work as good capitalists and sold the HELL out of that book. Internal Times emails promoted the book to staffers and announced Judy’s latest television appearances. In retrospect, the two companies were working together in a symphony of misinformation worthy of Goebbels.

This was a kind of a “shock and awe” publishing and there was only one problem: the entire ricin premise was false. The New York Times embraced Judy Miller’s assumptions about the poison and helped pave the way to that sad moment when Colin Powell faced the U.N. What a shit show it was.

Later, The New York Times would excoriate Judy in print, turning their back on her the day she was released from prison for not revealing her sources. The New York Times had given Judy full reign and support to promote her germ theory: Now Maureen Dowd was allowed to guillotine her in a column unlike any ever seen in the paper’s history.

Now, Judy has joined forces with the formidable Alice Mayhew again. Judy wants “corrections” to the “narrative.” I say the only thing anyone should be looking for here is redemption, redemption for the piles of dead that litter the Middle East.

Come on, journalism, stop failing us. Stop your narcissism and do what is best for your country. You are also in a kind of sacred service and from where I sit, Judy and The New York Times broke their vows.

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