If you don't know the name Judith Miller, that's okay because a lot of people won't. But you'll definitely know her stories from before and during the Iraq War. The former New York Times journalist's doom and gloom reporting on Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction helped pushed the United States into a war in Iraq. On Wednesday, Jon Stewart ripped Miller on The Daily Show as she continued to defend her faulty reporting during a promotional stop for her new book The Story: A Reporter's Journey.
The planned book tour turned into a no-holds-barred inquisition, and Stewart's questioning quite decisively put Miller back in her disgraced seat. Stewart echoed critics' long-standing claims that Miller was fed inaccurate information by the Bush administration and helped sell the Iraq War to the American people with stories such as "U.S. Says Hussein Intensified Quest for A-Bomb Parts." More than a decade later, repercussions from the 2003 Iraq invasion are still felt: ISIS is a consequence of the United States' actions in the Middle East. That, among many, many things, must have been on Stewart's mind when he told Miller this gem:
I believe you helped the administration take us to the most devastating mistake in foreign policy that we've made in 100 years. But you seem lovely.
Throughout the charged interview, Miller stood by her key defense, one she had previously repeated and, in fact, reiterated in a controversial Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this month: Everyone was doing it. Apparently journalists are lemmings, and hey, if there's a cliff...
I wasn't alone. I had lots and lots of company. The intelligent sources we were talking to had never been wrong before.
Stewart grilled Miller on her failure to clearly disclose the Bush administration's agenda to go to war in her stories. At one point, when asked why she didn't include an intelligence expert's quote that disagreed with her story's narrative, Miller suggested the "story got cut for space." That elicited some exasperated chortles from the studio audience. After several heated exchanges, Stewart wrapped the interview with a resigned "let's just agree to disagree."
Obviously we are never going to see eye to eye on it. I appreciate you coming on the program. These discussions always make me incredibly sad because I feel like they point to institutional failure at the highest levels, and no one will take responsibility for it. And they pass the buck to every individual other themselves.
Bless her, Miller tried to edge in one final retort, saying she thought the discussions instead pointed to serious "intelligence failures" and she was worried how the U.S. government was still relying on the same intelligence info for other countries such as Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan. Stewart, being the zinger king that he is, left the conversation with this:
Well, hopefully given the same effort, we'll get to invade all them soon.
*Drops mic.* With all his comedic chops, you sometimes forget how great of an interviewer Stewart is. The interview with Miller is probably one of his most cutting to date, and there really won't be that much more by the time his last show on August 6 comes around. Check out his chat with Miller below. It's so good, there are two parts.
Images: The Daily Show/Comedy Central