In all the chit chat about Judy Miller and - her writing of "Valerie Flame" - instead of Valerie Plame - in her notepad, what's odd is that everyone accepts it as an error.
As a former print journalist, I may well have also written Valerie Plame's name as Valerie Flame in my pad.
Plame rhymes with Flame.
I'm just saying this is an old school game (which also ryhmes with Flame) - old school journalism. Ryhmes and other tricks make up a sort of shorthand.
This is a footnote diary - but not a completely irrelevant point.
Just that writing "Flame" in a journalist's notebook might not suggest an error as much as an accepted need to pronounce the name correctly over-riding the need to spell it. (Does the fact that she wrote Flame possibly suggest that Judy knew that SAYING her name to others was more important then typing it into a NYT story? As a former NUJ member I know how easily the lines between news gathering and SHARING gossip overlap.
I also know that on more than a few occassions I have written the names of key (KEY) names in a phonetic way (or a jokey - pun-like way in my notebook.)
I would therefore, further, suggest that Judy's use of "Valerie Flame" - be weighted - not as evidence that she didn't pay enough attention to spell the name right - but as evidence that she paid enough attention to spell it wrong.
That the presence of it - in a phoentic rhyming way - shows that she knew it was IMPORTANT.
As a career journalist for nearly 25 years of my life (and not the best 25, BTW) I can tell you that this error may not be as simple as it seems.