Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Damn Good Question

The Washington Post Politics Hour on Tuesday had national political reporter Tom Edsall fielding questions.

Here's a most excellent question:

Minneapolis, Minn.: This past weekend The Post published a story on Viveca Novak's role in the Plame matter that on key points directly contradicted a story published a couple of days earlier in the New York Times, clearly driven by the desire of The Post's -- anonymous -- sources to claim the Times' story mistaken. The Times' story was also driven by claims made by obviously different anonymous sources. How on earth are we readers supposed to decide between these stories and gain knowledge of the case when we've got contradictory information being floated by anonymous sources whose motives we are unable to judge, and when the two papers don't seem to post corrections or amendments as long as they're just reporting what anonymous sources have told them?

That said, any news on the Plame case? When are we going to get The Post's promised story on the role of Cheney in coaching Libby on what to say to journalists about the Plame affair in July (and possible June) 2003?

Tom Edsall: There is no way for the reader to resolve the two-paper contradictory anonymous source issue, except to judge over time which paper produces more accurate information. I think the Post would welcome such a competitive test.

Great question...absolutely awful answer.

Here's my question: When the hell is WaPo going to address the controversy surrounding the "friendship" of Time reporter Viveca Novak and Karl Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin?

On November 29, Jim VandeHei wrote:

It could not be learned what Luskin and Novak, who are friends, discussed that could help prove Rove did nothing illegal in the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to reporters and the subsequent investigation of it.

On December 3, VandeHei (and Carol D. Leonnig) wrote:

A conversation between longtime friends -- Viveca Novak, who has helped cover the case for Time, and Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney -- is at the heart of the latest legal maneuvering in the two-year-old case.

Meanwhile, David Corn keeps insisting that Luskin and Novak aren't friends.

WaPo needs to explain why it is they are characterizing the "entanglement" as a friendship, because if it's true - as I wrote last week:

Time reporter Viveca Novak has a conflict of interest which should have precluded her from ever being assigned to stories about the Plame leak.

And while we're at it, Time Magazine needs to explain why one of their lead reporters on the Plame leak case wasn't "in the loop" about Rove being Matt Cooper's source and could only draw from gossip. Personally, I don't believe that shit for a second. Viveca Novak was wrong to give up Cooper's source, and even if it was done to get Luskin to open up, and even if Viveca was just offering up gossip, I don't understand how anyone at the magazine could ever trust her to keep their sources to herself ever again.


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