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Judith Miller reveals Raiders won 2003 Super Bowl

Embedded super-reporter Judith Miller reveals Raiders won 2003 Super Bowl


By Judith Miller
New York Times

Editor’s Note: We are grateful to Dennis Hans (see bio below) for bringing to our attention the latest blockbuster scoop by Judith Miller, the embedded super-reporter of the New York Times. This story was filed back on February 7, several weeks before Miller traveled to Iraq to expose the WMD programs of the deposed dictator Saddam Hussein. It’s publication was delayed until today, for reasons explained in the article.

SAUSALITO, CALIFORNIA, Feb. 7 — A respected accountant who is a member of the Sausalito chapter of the Oakland Raiders Fan Club has told a friend who told his cousin who told this reporter that he (the respected accountant) has provided evidence to the National Football League that the Raiders nipped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2003 Super Bowl.

Based on that evidence, which this reporter and her editors have not yet seen, the New York Times has decided to retract earlier stories filed the night of the game that proclaimed a Bucs victory.

This reporter spent Super Bowl week embedded with a close-knit group of Raiders fans who reside in the northern California town of Sausalito. In return for extraordinary access to nearly a third of the fan-club chapter’s 29 members, this reporter and her editors agreed to grant these fans the right to review everything the reporter wrote about her embedded week and delete any words they deemed injurious to club security. The Times also granted the fans the right to set the publication date for any story, which is why this one is appearing today rather than February 7, when it was first submitted for fan-club approval.

Over the course of seven days prior to the Super Bowl, it became increasingly apparent to this reporter that this particular group of fans knew a great deal about football and thus would have great credibility, after the game, on the question of which team won. Several had been watching pro football for more than 30 years and could recall the winner and loser of “matches,” as the contests are called, played decades ago.

This reporter attended a pre-game party with the fans in a ranch house in a Sausalito subdivision, the name of which cannot be divulged at this time. Thirty minutes before kickoff, however, the reporter was ushered into a soundproof room in the basement, where she remained without access to TV or radio until the next morning.

That morning, this reporter spoke to the cousin of the friend of the accountant/fan who had evidence of a Raiders victory. The cousin accompanied the reporter to a flower bed by a window that provided a clear view of a large recreation room. The cousin pointed to a silver-and-black sofa, where he said the accountant had viewed the game from the left-most cushion and jotted down in a silver-and-black notebook details on every scoring play, including the Raiders’ game-winning touchdown pass, caught by someone named Jerry Rice, as the clock expired.

This reporter was not permitted to see the notebook, though she was taken to a Sausalito drug store and spoke with a clerk who confirmed that the accountant had indeed purchased a silver-and-black notebook early in the football season. The clerk and a patron both said that they had heard of Mr. Rice and that he was indeed employed by the Raiders. The clerk showed this reporter a Raiders team photo on a calendar on sale for $14.99, pointed to a slender African American man with an “80” on his jersey, and said “That’s him! That’s Jerry Rice.”

That afternoon, this reporter arranged for a second meeting with the cousin in the flower bed outside the recreation-room window.

The cousin said there was a big-screen TV up against the one wall we could not see from the flower bed. That wall appeared to be about 15 feet from the sofa, providing further evidence that the accountant was in an ideal position to see who was winning and losing the football match.

A spokesman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when questioned by this reporter about the outcome of the Super Bowl, continued to cling to the notion that his team came out on top. But he was unable to refute the accountant’s evidence, claiming unconvincingly that he could not be expected to counter evidence he could not see.

**** # # # ****

©2003 by Dennis Hans

Dennis Hans is proud to have played a small role in bringing the work of embedded super-reporter Judith Miller to a larger audience. Hans’ own essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post and Miami Herald, and his media critiques appear regularly at TakeBackTheMedia.com. He has taught courses in mass communications and American foreign policy at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg, and can be reached at HANS_D@popmail.firn.edu


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