Thursday, November 10, 2005

Miller Time

There is telling moment in the WaPo story that attempts to get all warm and fuzzy about Judy Miller; showing the real her, as it were. That moment speaks volumes about Miller though it apparently doesn't strike her much at all, nor does it seem to be noted by the reporter, although significant column inches are spent delving into what a hard-ass reporter she ... was.

An anecdote is related about how Miller tried to steal an interview from Youssef M. Ibrahim, a newbie NYT Middle East correspondent who had scheduled an interview with Egyptian foreign ministry official and not yet UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Ibrahim claims that she was asserting seniority over him and that she would do the interview. Yelling ensued. Whether there was any higher Times' authority called in to sort out the conflict is not reported but Ibrahim did the interview without Miller. Ibrahim recollects this conflict easily while Miller says,
I'm glad he has such an exquisite memory. I don't even remember it.
This is the classic response of a bully to such a story. It is not likely that Ibrahim's memory is any better than anyone else's. Bullies often dismiss conflicts noted by others as unimportant, things barely, or not at all, remembered. Each individual will always recall their encounter with a bully doing their bullying thing but the bully can't possibly keep track of all the various people she's had a fight with. It was, no doubt, unimportant to her. It certainly left an impression on Ibrahim.

It is obvious from this small tale that Miller had probably engaged herself in hundreds of similar squabbles, stamping her authority on situations under which many others may very well have buckled. I expect she did it all the time. And she probably has no recollection of any particular one.

There is another classic bully behaviour that is not reported in the WaPo story. Bullies often play suck up to bigger bullies.


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