Early-morning headlines report of bombings in London.
The Washington Postand Los Angeles Timeslead with President Bush suggesting Christian conservatives quit their campaign against the possible nomination of Attorney General Gonzales to the Supreme Court. “All of a sudden this fellow, who is a good public servant and a fine person, is under fire,” said the president. “Do I like it? No, I don’t like it—at all.” The New York Timesleads with a judge sending the Times’ Judith Miller to jail for refusing to talk about her source in the outing of a CIA agent. Time’s Matthew Cooper got off the hook when, in a surprise, he said yesterday morning his source finally gave him the OK to talk. USA Todayleads with a record number of apartments going condo.
“I have a person in front of me,” said the judge in yesterday’s hearing, “who is defying the law.” At that, two federal marshals came in and took Miller to D.C.’s Alexandria Detention Center, a modern, relatively quiet jail that currently houses one Zacarias Moussaoui.
The NYT’s lead buries its juiciest nugget: Citing, that’s right, an unnamed source—”a person who has been officially briefed on the case”—the NYT’s 24th paragraph says that when Cooper revealed yesterday that his source has now freed him to talk, he was “referring to Mr. Rove.” The Times says the deal came as a result of a confab between Cooper’s lawyers and Rove’s.
The LAT and Post both quote Rove’s lawyer saying his client didn’t call Cooper yesterday. Except—pace the NYT’s account—Rover doesn’t have to have personally called. Presumably lawyers could have passed on the message. The LAT seems to pick up on that wiggle room, flagging the, shall we say, exactitude of the lawyer’s quote; the Post doesn’t.
Also, a note of caution: With so few details known about the case—since the grand jury is operating behind closed doors—even if Rove was Cooper’s source, that doesn’t necessarily mean Rove was the one who originally leaked the CIA agent’s name.
The NYT opines on the case with a mammoth editorial, describing Miller’s heading off to the slammer as a “proud but awful moment for The New York Times and its employees.” Meanwhile, the LAT and WP both have helpful Q&As.
A WP Page One “news analysis” notes that the possible nomination of Gonzales has set the stage for a “fierce battle” between religious conservatives and the Latino community. The Post paints that as a quandary for the president. Except it isn’t really much of one. As the WP itself notes, the president could nominate Judge Emilio Garza, a conservative and plenty Hispanic.
The NYT off-leads London winning the 2012 Olympic bid, in a squeaker. London beat out the other finalist, Paris, by just 54 to 50, the closest such vote in recent history. Apparently, one of the key reasons London won: Prime Minister Tony Blair was something of an uber-lobbyist. Also, when New York was knocked, the votes for it swung to the Brits.
Though it doesn’t seem to get a headline, dual bombings in the Iraqi town of Hilla killed a dozen people. Militants also threatened to execute the top Egyptian diplomat who was kidnapped over the weekend. And the NYT mentions that GIs appear to have shot up an Iraqi police car, wounding one of the officers.
Following the LAT and others, the NYT reports on Page One that the southern town of Basra is becoming “a mini-theocracy under Shiite rule.” The Times says the trend has picked up pace since the January elections.
The Post goes inside with top scientists warning that global warming is killing off polar bears. “They don’t have time to evolve backwards,” said one researcher.
Back to the jailing … The NYT offers up a Judy Miller profile-cum-hagiography:
Ms. Miller’s polarizing personality … may also have led some to make her a symbol of the press’ faulty reporting on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Ms. Miller was not alone in writing about the intelligence community’s belief that Iraq possessed an impressive and frightening arsenal of such weapons.”Why is it that Judith Miller somehow became the embodiment of all those failures is something that is simply unfathomable to me,” said David Barstow, a friend and colleague at The Times.
TP respects Miller’s decision to stay mum. But it also respects honesty. So, no, Miller was not alone in offering up credulous, thinly sourced, prewar coverage. But nor was the shellacking she got exactly unfathomable or even unfair. For one thing, of the 12 Times stories cited by the paper’s WMD mea culpa, Miller wrote or co-wrote 10 of them.