Judith Miller, a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist, reported in 2002 that Iraq had stockpiles of WMD, Those stories, which were used by the Bush administration to help build the case for the invasion of Iraq, were later discredited for being based on false information. The NYT forced Miller to resign, but, before that, she was jailed for 85 days for not revealing the sources of information for a different story, one that outed Valerie Plame as a member of the CIA.
Now a FOX News commentator and a member of the conservative Manhattan Institute, she has written a memoir about her years at the NYT, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey (Simon & Schuster; Random House Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample).
Following a round of appearances earlier this month on several FOX shows, CBS This Morning, and on the Bill Maher Show, she will appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this Wednesday.
She is getting a tough reception by most commentators, her former employer, and other media outlets.
Lloyd Grove of The Daily Beast offers a scathing review, stating:
Much of The Story, including a chapter titled “Scapegoat,” is Miller’s self-pitying account of how she was demonized by critics and enemies, inside and outside the Times, as an influential cheerleader for an unjustified and ultimately ruinous war conducted under false pretenses.
The NYT calls her book “sad and flawed” while The Washington Post‘s media critic says:
This dynamic — Judy Miller against the world — lends her book an aspect that is both depressing and desperate. Over more than 300 pages, Miller flays her critics (particularly those who write for blogs) and lays out a defense of her reporting that relies on bluster, repetition and a highly selective set of facts, some of the same ingredients that the Bush administration dropped into its case for the Iraq war.
The Columbia Journalism Review, which offers perhaps the most even handed review, still holds that:
The Story turns out to be less personal than we might wish, less a memoir than an apologia and an assault… alternately turgid and fascinating, if not in equal measure.
Published on April 7th, holds are light on light ordering around the country despite the amount of media attention.
Stewart did not go easy on her. Holds are still modest.