Journalism, the Novak and Fox way

Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 10:48 AM

So Fox ballyhoos that Bob Novak says "No Bush Administration Effort to Discredit Joe Wilson.  That's a relief, 'cause that would have been one doozy of an example of dirty politics.  And since so much publicity has been focused on Wilson, Plame, Novak and the other players in the lengthy Fitzgerald investigation, Novak wouldn't say that without being pretty certain of his conclusion, right?  Right?

So on what does Novak base his conclusion that the Bush administration's leak of Plame's status was not part of an effort to discredit Wilson.  Really solid stuff.  In the Fox piece with that exculpatory headline, for example, Novak says:

I saw no such campaign. Nobody in the administration ever said anything critical about Wilson to me.

But there's even more Novak evidence of innocence on the part of the administration:

Mr. X [the still unnamed original source of the info on Plame] is not a person "in the business of playing political dirty tricks.  This is not a political gun-slinger. By that I mean, this official is not known as somebody who did a lot of political manipulations. He was more of a substantive person.

Pretty damn conclusive.  Surely if the Bush administration tried to discredit Wilson by making it seem that Wilson went to Niger only because his CIA wife set up the deal they would have told Novak.  "Say, Bob, Dark knight of mine, we're trying to discredit a former Ambassador and long time public servant because he published something negative.  Would you mind publishing a piece that names his wife as a CIA agent and tell the world that she got her husband sent to Niger as some sort of nepotistic vacation, or maybe as a way to undermine the President?  You know, old boy, let folks think this is one of those 'he/she/they hate[s] Bush' deals, with a little cronyism to round it out.  Since the NY Times published the Wilson piece, we'll just let our frothing faithful put thatfact together with the "tricky little mynx-Bush Enemy story" and Joe W. will be sorry he ever tried to tangle with George W."

And a deliberate, purposeful leak from a "substantive person?"  Never!!

And of course Fox kind of soft peddles the whole idea that the second source the brilliant Novak claims to have confirmed Plame's status--a CIA man named Bill Harlow--simply tried to talk Novak out of running the story, which the journalistic genius of Novak saw as confirmation of the story's truth.  And, according to Novak, Harlow's motive for not wanting Novak to write the article was not concern that Plame was in a classified post, but only concern that disclosing her status "could disrupt her future travel to Europe on vacations with her husband."

Who says that journalism today is a wretched profession? Who sees a pulitzer in Novak's future?  Who says Novak would know a substantive person if that person fell on his scowling, arrogant face?

I resort to sarcasm rather than direct insults not because I am concerned about Novak's future ability to work as a journalist, bit because of concern that direct insults could disrupt his future travel to Europe.