This story in the Huffington Post last week speculated that CBS News senior correspondent John Miller might be appointed to run the New York City Police Department’s counterterrorism unit, now that Bill Bratton has been named police commissioner by Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.
The story makes sense. Miller and Bratton are close friends and Bratton had Miller running counterterrorism in Los Angeles when he was police chief there. Miller — who began his career in the 1970s as a reporter for local New York City TV outlets before being promoted to the networks — had served as the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for public affairs during Bratton’s first tour running the NYPD in 1994. And just before coming to CBS in 2011 he had held senior positions at the FBI and in the office of the Director of National Intelligence.
But here’s why CBS should do everything possible to make sure Miller doesn’t leave — and why a newspaper or magazine editor would be smart to assign a profile of him: If major league television news organizations named a Most Valuable Player the way baseball does, Miller would get the honor this year, hands down.
Whether on CBS’s resurgent morning and evening news shows, or on its “60 Minutes” juggernaut, Miller seems to have been everywhere since he joined the network, with scoops or with reports that dive deeper than the competition into stories that everyone else is covering. From the Boston Marathon bombing, to Sandy Hook, to drone strike strategy, to the Snowden leaks, to the shooting of TSA officers in Los Angeles, to the Justice Department’s leak investigations that targeted reporters, Miller consistently seems to have the smartest, sharpest take.
There are all kinds of intriguing angles a story about Miller could explore. For starters, is his success simply a matter of getting old law enforcement colleagues to leak to him more than to his competitors? Or, as I assume, is there more to it than that, including the possibility that his actual experience on the inside makes him more able not only to ask the right questions but to ask the right people?