Two bytes stand out from Pravda’s Judygate post-mortem First —
Adam Clymer, retired political correspondent for the Times, recalls an episode during the 1988 presidential campaign, when Miller was deputy Washington bureau chief.
Then the political editor based in New York, Clymer was awakened just after midnight one morning by a call from Miller, he says. She was demanding that a story about Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis be pulled from the paper.
The story was too soft, she complained — and said Lee Atwater, the political strategist for Vice President George H.W. Bush, believed it was soft as well. Clymer said he was stunned to realize that Atwater apparently had either seen the story or been told about it before publication. He and Miller argued, he recalls, and he ultimately hung up on her, twice.
To Clymer, it was an indication of what he and others believe is Miller’s main problem.
“She had gotten too close to her sources,” he says.
But Miller denies the episode happened.
“I doubt I would have said that,” she says sardonically, “because it wouldn’t have been a winning argument.”
Quite obviously she should have been fired right there and then. Was she a reporter for the NYT or a shill for the RNC? Did she know the difference? Did the NYT know the difference?
Part of the answer can be found a few graphs later.
Bill Miller, who died in 2002, once owned and operated a swank nightclub in the 1940s, called Bill Miller’s Riviera, high on a cliff in Fort Lee, N.J., where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and a young Sammy Davis Jr. played. Later, he was credited with invigorating the lounge acts at several Las Vegas hotels, bringing in Mae West, Louis Prima, Sonny and Cher and — yes, even Elvis for a long run of sold-out shows.
Connolly had been a dancer in a club owned by Lou Walters (the father of Barbara Walters of ABC News), who introduced her to Bill Miller. The two married, and Judy Miller’s childhood took her from Englewood, N.J., to Miami Beach to Vegas to Hollywood, where she studied drama at Hollywood High.
I sincerely hope a professional journalist with both savvy and scruples ( Kitty Kelley comes quickly to mind) will write a book about mobster spuds and their propensity for fourth estate careers. The fact that Judy’s father ran a Fort Lee dive that headlined the Rat Pack and that her mother danced at the “Latin Quarter” (the chicest of 50’s-era Mafia front night spots) evokes more cosmic synergy than even Arthur Lake’s marriage to Marion Davies’ Hearst-sired daughter. Superfically the temperaments of Barbara Walters and Judy Miller couldn’t be more different. After all Walters — or at least the character called “Barbara Walters” that she’s played for so many years on the tube — is “butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth” nice –while Judy is the bitch from helll, and proud of it. But you don’t get to play “nice” if you’re not fully prepared to “get your way.” And Baba Wawa certainly has in all things, save her ultimate goal — marrying Roy Cohn. Judy has only just discovered the “indignity” of having the door slammed in her face. But there are other doors that will surely open for her — at Fox News and Judith Regan’s office to name two.
And then there’s the invitable movie. But at this point Judy would be advised to “think television.”