Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fire Michael Gordon

Looks like Glenn Greenwald's got a gig at Slate now, and he gives more details on the Michael Gordon / Judith Miller saga. It's incredibly disappointing to see a good paper going down this road again. The NYT is, in general, fantastic, but one of the most inconsistent papers I know of. For all of the grief they get from conservatives for being "far-left," I think many in the administration must be quite pleased with the Times and certain elements within the paper. It's much more valuable for the "liberal" NYT to be parroting their intelligence than, for example, the Washington Times or Wall Street Journal to do the same.

Update: Some particularly disturbing bits. One Times reader, a young New York journalist, wrote Gordon the following email:

Your article today is a shameless reiteration of what may very be administration propaganda. Please, in your next article, make an attempt to verify administration claims somewhere, anywhere else. As a young journalist, I find your work discouraging for the profession as a whole. I'm sure it's a great deal of work to get the administration to give you quotes off the record supporting their policy du jour, but can you please take the time to fact check it? Just a little bit please? For the sake of your paper's reputation, I hope you do. Cheers, [name withheld]

And this was Gordon's reply:
I suggest you embed in Iraq for a few months, live with the troops, ride in their Humvees, learn about the risk of EFP attacks, then spend several months asking military and Western experts about the technology, the tactics for employing them and its origin. Let me know what you learn and we'll compare notes.


As Greenwald notes, "Gordon's reply, aside from being arrogant and rude, is a complete non sequitur." In an interview with Democracy Now he was similarly rude to his interviewer, saying:

don't know if you understand how journalism works, but the way journalism works is you write what you know, and what you know at the time you try to convey as best you can. . . .

And he made similar references to how he was embedded in Iraq, as if that was the only qualification he needed (as an aside, perhaps critics of embedded journalism are being proved right - it doesn't improve access, it just makes you a pawn).

Finally, Gordon was apparently admonished by the Times bureau chief for explicitly advocating the president's surge plan on the Charlie Rose show. What a friend. How long till Michael Gordon is sent packing like Judith Miller?

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