The Second Chance Saloon

Judith Miller is writing at The Daily Beast. Does she deserve this second chance?

So we’ve noticed that former New York Times reporter Judith Miller has been writing occasionally at The Daily Beast on foreign affairs. Last week, she reported on how some Obama advisors worry that Afghanistan “may be as much of a quagmire as Iraq”; in December, she wrote about the tortuous Israel/Gaza peace process.

Miller enjoyed a long and decorated career at the Times. But she left the paper in 2005, partially due to the controversy surrounding her discredited and inaccurate reporting on Iraq’s pre-war WMD program—reporting that was cited by Bush administration officials in their effort to sell the American public on the Iraq war.

Nowhere does The Daily Beast mention the circumstances that led to Miller’s departure. As a reader put it in an e-mail to CJR, “having Miller write on these things and not acknowledging her failure on Iraq is like seeing a surgeon who won’t tell you he killed his last dozen patients.”

Maybe Miller deserves a scarlet letter. Maybe that’s justice. But maybe that’s just vindictiveness, too. Acknowledging both her long and distinguished career and her colossally bad WMD reporting, does Judith Miller deserve this second chance? And, if so, to what extent should The Daily Beast acknowledge her past mistakes?

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.