Sunday, December 11, 2005
In an earlier post today I made reference to the fact that I thought Viveca Novak's penitent tone in her Time article was disingenuous, and that her tack all along has been to see what she could get away with. It is a strategy that continued up until the last minute, and it looks like her unfortunate choices have taken down her friend and defender with her.
On December 2, after the New York Times published an article saying that Viveca would now provide the backbone of Rove's defense, it was clear that she felt the need yet again to "push back." On Saturday, December 3 she nudged her good friend of 20 years, David Corn out on a limb as he "reported" an "anonymously sourced" story saying that Luskin was merely her source and not a friend.
Today she sawed the limb off, saying that "there is the occasional source with whom one becomes friendly, and eventually Luskin was in that group."
It was sad, really, that Corn was used to float this unsuccessful trial balloon, which felt like an attempt to see what Vivac could get away with when she wrote her mea culpa. It was a spectacular failure, a falsehood quickly dashed on the front page of the Washington Post. It might have been worth it for Corn had Vivac also given him the big break she gave VandeHei and the WaPo that day, to the effect that she remembered her conversation with Luskin taking place over drinks in January, 2004. Sadly, he was merely consigned to the task of defending her character, which was soon to make Judy Miller look like a paragon of integrity.
I guess it wasn't much of a scoop anyway, as she soon blotted the wine off her datebook and placed the meeting in either March or May, but then she gave that scoop to VandeHei, too. Meanwhile Corn continued to both defend his information and his use of anonymous sourcing as he went to the mat for his friend. Both chivalrous and suicidal.
Had Viveca been a true friend, she would have waved him off this fool's errand once it became evident that nobody was buying the story and she would have to come clean. However, she had other fish to fry and Corn was quickly relegated to the same category to which she had assigned Matt Cooper, Norman Pearlstein, Jay Carney and a host of others -- Not My Problem.
That Corn chose to take on the task of ardent Defender of the C-List Clubhouse is one he no doubt regrets. And as for Viveca Novak -- she does not have the luxury of retreating into the warm embrace of some right-wing think tank or artlessly picking the wings off liberals for the Regnery book-of-the-month club. By setting Corn up to take a fall I just hope she hasn't ruined it for herself at Pajamas Media.
Wolcott is a bit more pointed about the whole subject.