Controversial Journalist Leaves CBS For Role With NYPD

“He wants the badge, the gun and the adrenaline — to be in the center of the action.”
By @katierucke |
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    Illustration by Anders Nienstaedt for MintPress.

    Illustration by Anders Nienstaedt for MintPress.

    CBS journalist John Miller — widely known for his controversial NSA piece that aired on “60 Minutes” mid December that was seen as more of a one-sided fluff piece about the surveillance agency than journalism — announced on Thursday he is leaving the network for a job with the New York Police Department.

    Although Miller’s official title is not yet known, he will be working in a high-profile job in the department’s newly developed counterterrorism unit under his former boss William Bratton, who was the NYPD commissioner in the mid-1990s. Bratton is returning to his former position as NYPD commissioner in January.

    News of Miller’s departure is not shocking since the New York Post reported earlier this month that Miller had been negotiating with CBS to leave the network early to work with the NYPD, and part of the concern many media watchdogs have had with Miller’s coverage of law enforcement is that he is a “revolving door” journalist who goes back and forth between being a reporter and working for law enforcement agencies.

    Though Miller began his career in journalism, working for local New York television stations, he left the journalism industry in 1994 to go work for the NYPD as a spokesman under Bratton. Miller then went back to journalism, working for ABC News, before working for Bratton again at the Los Angeles Police Department. Miller then went on to work for the FBI and the office of the Director of National Intelligence before he joined CBS in 2011 as a senior correspondent.

    While Miller’s in-and-out of journalism and law enforcement career moves have been of concern to media watchdogs, president of the network news division at CBS, David Rhodes, said the network benefitted greatly from Miller’s revolving-door  career choices, saying it helped Miller obtain information from law enforcement sources to use in his reports.

    “John was the reason why we didn’t go with the erroneous reports of an arrest in the Boston bombings,” Rhodes said, referring to when several media outlets prematurely reported an arrest had been made. “There’s nobody like him, and I think people around the television industry would agree with that,” Rhodes said. “They all would have liked to have him on those, and many more stories that he’s done for us.”

    Though Miller did disclose during his NSA piece for “60 Minutes” that he did work for law enforcement agencies previously, he didn’t disclose all of his roles in the law enforcement industry, which some found concerning since the journalist has spent years reporting on al Qaeda, the 9/11 attacks and other national security issues.

    Rhodes, however, said he didn’t think Miller’s reporting was a conflict of interest, especially since Bratton and Miller are close friends.

    “If he (Miller) was covering the NYPD, that would have been inappropriate,” Rhodes said, adding that if and when he decides to return to journalism, he would welcome him back.

    The network released a statement as well, praising Miller as a remarkable journalist with deep insight into law enforcement who will always have a home at CBS News.

    But as the New York Post reported, an unidentified close friend of Miller’s said that while the journalist does well on television, “at heart, he’s a ‘buff.’

    “He wants the badge, the gun and the adrenaline — to be in the center of the action.”

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