by Editor & Publisher Online | Media Info | 29 MAY 29 2003
NEW YORK -- In a speech to graduates of Barnard College in New York last week, New York Times correspondent and Barnard alumna Judith Miller called upon the media and military to examine the program of embedding journalists with U.S. troops during the Iraq war.
Herself an embed with the 75th Exploitation Task Force, which was charged with finding weapons of mass destruction, Miller said she returned from Iraq with questions about the embedding process. "Journalists need to draw conclusions about whether objectivity was compromised during the war," she said. "The military needs to consider whether the strain of taking care of us and protecting us, and giving us dangerous information was an undue burden on the military. We all need to decide whether the country's interests were best served by this arrangement."
Miller added that many unanswered questions remain about the reasons given by the Bush administration for invading Iraq. "Were those who wanted to go to war deceiving themselves about Saddam's capabilities?" she asked.
MIller, and editors at the Times, have come under fire in recent weeks over a front-page story she wrote for the paper, based on anonymous sources -- and subjected to military review -- that appeared to bolster claims that the Iraqis had buried materials for chemical or biological weapons. These materials have not yet been found.
Before the war started, Miller wrote about the military's top-secret plans to "rapidly find, secure, and ultimately destroy the caches of chemical, biological and other unconventional weapons" the administration asserted that Saddam Hussein was hiding. She noted that "failure to find them would leave the administration vulnerable to charges that it had started a war needlessly."
Miller shared the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 with Times colleagues for a series of articles about Osama bin Laden.
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Source: Editor & Publisher Online