Sunday, December 11, 2005

Dear Washington Press

Judith Miller's testimonial account was one thing.

Bob Woodward's testimonial account was a similiar thing.

But Viveca Novak's testimonial account is something else entirely.

Journalism sins aside, I feel bad for Viveca Novak.

This might really cost her.

Swopa at Needlenose writes:

But as it turns out, just for the sake of stalling Rove's indictment for a month or two, Luskin has torched Novak's career with Time (which notes as the end of her article that she is on a mutually agreed "leave of absence"). It seems that Viveca didn't tell her bosses about her chats with Luskin to begin with, nor even when she first was interviewed by Fitzgerald -- and when she did admit her involvement after being asked to testify under oath, they weren't happy.

There should be an object lesson there for Washington, D.C. reporters playing the "access journalism" game ... the sources who you're covering up for even as they give you lies and personal smears will burn you in the blink of an eye if it helps them in the slightest.

Greg Mitchell at Editor and Publisher is a little harsh...but he's right:

Where will it end, and when will reporters pay with their jobs? First we learn that Bob Woodward failed to tell his editor for years about his role in the Plame/CIA leak case. Today, we find out that Time reporter Viveca Novak not only kept her editors in the dark about her own involvement, but even had a two-hour chat with the special prosecutor about it well before telling her superiors.

At the end of her first-person account at Time online today, we are told in a brief editor's note that she is by ”mutual agreement” now on a “leave of absence.” Has she been taken to the woodshed and, if not, why not?


At one point in the piece, Novak says she wishes she could have a “do over,” and that she had told her bureau chief about all this earlier. Time magazine: Your move.

This is going to get even uglier.

More and more journalists are going to get sucked into this.

But it's still not too late.

I have little doubt that there are more Bob Woodwards, Judith Millers, and Viveca Novaks out there. Why not come clean now? You might still get to keep your job...or at least part of your reputation.

Things aren't looking so hot for Viveca Novak. She made a few mistakes that might cost her tremendously.

No one should be gleeful at that.


From David Johnston's New York Times article, Lawyer knew Rove was a source, reporter says (RSS link):

Time's managing editor, Jim Kelly, said in a telephone interview: "I'm taking this seriously. I'm upset and she's upset," adding that her article "was full of regret about what happened."

Mr. Kelly suggested that were several issues of concern to editors, among them her failure to alert editors in a timely way about her conversation with Mr. Luskin and her dealings with the prosecutor. Mr. Kelly said that he would meet with Ms. Novak early next year to decide if further steps were warranted.

(more updates later tonight)


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