Franken Retracts

Joking about journalists going to jail for protecting their sources? Plays great at Robert Novak's house, no doubt, and actually just about everywhere else these days. Except, say, at the 35th anniversary dinner of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. There, it's sort of like flushing a bucket of Korans down a star-spangled toilet:

Then [Al Franken] turned toward The New York Times table in the front of the room, where sat Judith Miller, best known these days for two things: her articles on weapons of mass destruction that didn't quite pan out and the possibility she will go to jail for not revealing sources in the Valerie Plame case. "Judy,"" Franken said, "maybe you can find some WMD in your cell."

Nice fear-up harsh, dude! Sensing danger in the crowd's stony silence, Franken nimbly retracted. "OK, I shouldn't have told that joke." But it was too late for apologies, and the evening quickly devolved into a riot of burning glances and self-righteous indignation.

Jokes and Worries as Reporters Committee Turns 35 [Editor & Publisher]


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