Monday, November 17, 2008

Judith Miller Transformed from Stupid Hack to Crusading Hero Journalist. Thanks, Hollywood!

BOULDER, Colorado -- I suppose it was only a matter of time before the story of formerly-imprisoned New York Times journalist Judith Miller was adapted for the silver screen. Here's a synopsis from of the upcoming feature, Nothing But the Truth:
Washington, DC political journalist Rachel Armstrong writes an explosive story about a government scandal in which she reveals the name of a covert CIA agent. When a special government prosecutor demands she divulge her source, she refuses and finds herself behind bars, struggling to defend the principles she has based her career upon.
The real story is that Judith Miller was involved in outing CIA operative Valerie Plame as a part of a political hatchet job orchestrated by the likes of Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby and Karl Rove (Plame's name was actually leaked by fellow hack writer Bob Novak at the Washington Post, though he was never charged in connection with it) against Plame's husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, in 2003. At the time, Wilson was correctly debunking the bullshit the White House had spread about efforts by Saddam Hussein to buy uranium from Niger as part of their case for war against Iraq. Miller was asked to testify in the investigation into the leak (which constituted a violation of federal law) in 2005, and when she refused to reveal her source - it later turned out to be Libby - she was jailed for contempt. She refused to give up Libby despite the fact that he had already waived his confidentiality to her, suggesting she was more concerned with not embarassing the administration than protecting her source.

In this Hollywood scenario, rather than a bogus war in Iraq, there has been a military strike against Venezuela in retaliation for that country's alleged involvement in an assassination attempt on the US president. The Miller-based character, named Rachel Armstrong and portrayed by Kate Beckinsale, outs an agent who knew that Venzuela was not involved and told the White House as much, but they ignored this information and went forward with the attack anyway. Rather than expose the idenity of an agent in order to ruin her career and discredit her husband, the prettier, younger, movie-version Miller did it to tell the world this war was all a lie. Miller is apparently pleased with picture - I can only assume it is because she hopes the public will confuse the heroic Hollywood persona with the actual person, and forget about how shitty she was (and is) at her job.

Throughout her career at the Times, Miller was a dogged propagandist who used her byline to cheerlead the administration's march to war, routinely ignored contrary information and used a reliable pipeline of "unnamed administration sources" to pump her stories about Iraq WMDs full of administration talking points instead of corroborated, verifiable facts. After her 85-day stretch in the joint, she was canned by the Times in 2005. She has bounced around disreputable publications for the past few years, but she recently has found a gig that really suits her - she's a Fox News contributor.

Gawker has the rest of the story, along with clips from the film set for release December 19:

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