July 10, 2005


We're Not in Watergate Anymore (FRANK RICH, 7/10/05, NY Times)

WHEN John Dean published his book "Worse Than Watergate" in the spring of 2004, it seemed rank hyperbole: an election-year screed and yet another attempt by a Nixon alumnus to downgrade Watergate crimes by unearthing worse "gates" thereafter. But it's hard to be dismissive now that my colleague Judy Miller has been taken away in shackles for refusing to name the source for a story she never wrote. No reporter went to jail during Watergate. No news organization buckled like Time. No one instigated a war on phony premises. This is worse than Watergate.

Because, after all, in Watergate the press took out an elected government, whereas here the elected have taken out the elect.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 10, 2005 12:02 AM

And people didn't mock the press like they do now.

Too bad Frank Rich wasn't talking to Karl Rove, Colin Powell, and George Tenet. He could be sitting with Judy this morning. Ha!

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 10, 2005 9:29 AM

It's always about them and their sacred privilege to defy the law in the name of a free press. A single reporter sent to jail is more important than Watergate -- give me a break.

Posted by: jd watson at July 10, 2005 11:43 AM

"Because, after all, in Watergate the press took out an elected government, whereas here the elected have taken out the elect."

No, the recemt revaltions about Watergate made it clear that the Permanent Government took out the Elected Government. The press were merely their tools. Such is the vanity of the press that they did not and do not understand that they are being used.

The prosecutor is doing the press a favor by jailing Miller. Jail time will deflate their vanity and make them less willing to be used.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 10, 2005 1:54 PM

I suppose I will have to read a Rich column for content some time -- but I always get distracted by his terrible writing. For instance, just scanning through, I found this:

"That's no doubt the truth, but a corporate mentality needn't be imposed by direct fiat; it's a virus that metastasizes in the bureacratic bloodstream."

You can say that more clearly -- much more clearly -- in about half as many words, with just a little effort.

And you will find similar botches all through this column, and all through every other Rich column I have looked at. He so consistently misuses metaphors that I almost -- almost -- think he does it purposefully.

Apparently publisher "Pinch" actually likes this stuff. That's the only explanation I can come up with for Rich's continuing employment at the Times. And "Pinch" must also have decided to protect Rich from the copy editors, who must be able to see the same mistakes that distract me.

Posted by: Jim Miller at July 10, 2005 9:03 PM