Bill Maher tells Judy Miller: It’s the 4th Estate’s job to ‘call bullsh*t on the military-industrial complex’
Real Time host Bill Maher criticized former New York Times reporter Judy Miller and other journalists on Friday for not doing enough in his eyes to step in when politicians beat the drums of war.
“We kind of depend on the fourth estate to call bullsh*t on the military-industrial complex,” he said. “They are always trying to do this.”
Maher asked Miller how skeptical she was in her reporting leading up to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, given her stories explaining what “could” happen if Saddam Hussein had a weapon of mass destruction.
“I couldn’t have been more skeptical,” she said. “Every time I got more information that contradicted something we had reported, I went back and did a second story.”
At the same time, Maher expressed his sympathy toward Miller, saying she was singled out for her reporting.
“You were hardly the only one,” he said. “First of all, you had editors who printed your stories. They had the final say. You had bylines that you shared with other people. And somehow you’re the only one in the picture. So I’m sympathetic to that. What I’m not so sympathetic to is the idea that nobody else was saying we shouldn’t go to war.”
“Many people were saying it,” she responded. “And there were many, many articles about the people who didn’t want to go to war, and why they didn’t want to go to war. But that wasn’t what I was responsible for covering.”
Besides discussing her stories about Iraq, Maher asked Miller how she felt the media should handle what he described as an increasingly belligerent tone from conservative legislators regarding Iran.
“Say it’s two years from now, President Ted Cruz is in office,” Maher said. “And they’re beating the drums of war. I can hear it already. They’re talking about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, even though no one has ever said they actually have a nuclear weapon. What would your advice be to a young reporter who is covering it and who might have suspected that the administration was trying to sell this war?”
“Try and find out whether or not Iran has a nuclear weapons program and try and find out what the arguments against that are,” she replied. “And be skeptical of everything you hear from all sides.”
“Did you do that?” Maher asked
“I tried,” Miller responded.
Watch the interview, as posted online on Friday, below.