After producing the now discredited 60 Minutes puff piece on the NSA the anchor of the piece, John Miller, is going back to his other job – apologizing for the use of state power. Miller will be rejoining the government communications profession for the New York Police Department. The announcement has not surprisingly been met with a mix of amusement and disgust.
How does CBS let someone about to go back into government communications work do a story on the NSA?
Miller announced his latest move on Thursday. He embodies something that is, for some media critics, a source of great concern: the so-called “revolving door” between the people who cover the news and the people who are being covered…
Miller worked for local television stations in New York before going to work for Bratton as a spokesman for the NYPD in 1994. He subsequently worked for ABC News; the Los Angeles Police Department, again under Bratton, who had become police chief there; the FBI; and the office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Whoosh! That revolving door sure goes by quick. And each time Miller advances himself up the ladder.
Of course Miller has finally gone too for this scheme to work any longer. He is definitely not a journalist as the 60 Minutes piece made clear. So while he can advance as a government spokesman with speed and grace, no one will trust him to deliver tough and informative information and analysis on arms of state power again.
Miller’s close relationships with law enforcement sources, however, are among the reasons why some media critics have objected to his role at CBS and his repeated transitions from public service to journalism.
They say the revolving door creates conflicts of interest for Miller and reporters like him. Miller’s “60 Minutes” report about the National Security Agency met with disapproval by media critics earlier this month in part because of his pending move to the NYPD.
John Miller has proved rather conclusively one cannot serve two masters. The NSA piece was a long wet kiss to the agency which exercised amazing levels of control over the segment including the ability to take “time outs” and vet video. Miller proved he could be trusted by the NSA but not that he could be trusted by the public as a journalist.