08/08/2005: Those "Marvelous" Double Standards of Ethics...
“Robert Novak was in high dudgeon. He and his colleagues on CNN's “The Capital Gang” were squabbling over whether CBS should have run a story on President George W. Bush's National Guard service, a story which relied on documents whose authenticity had come into question. Novak—the show's resident curmudgeon, outfitted with a three-piece suit and permanently arched eyebrow—delivered his verdict. “I'd like CBS, at this point, to say where they got those documents from,” he growled. “I think they should say where they got these documents because I thought it was a very poor job of reporting by CBS.”
Resident liberal Al Hunt jumped in to clarify. “Robert Novak,” he asked, “you're saying CBS should reveal its source?” When Novak replied that he was, Hunt pressed him further. “You think reporters ought to reveal sources?” In a flash, Novak realized he had made a mistake; he began to backtrack. “No, no, wait a minute,” he said. “I'm just saying in that case.” So in some cases, Hunt continued, reporters should reveal their sources—but not in all cases? “That's right,” said Novak.
What Novak's fellow panelists on “The Capital Gang” knew that day, but most of the show's viewers probably didn't, was that much of Washington has spent the better part of a year waiting for Novak to reveal a source of his own….
Any one of these recent sins—plugging the books of the publisher that is providing income to one's family without disclosing the connection, repeatedly parroting an incendiary political charge that has proven to be false, or outing a CIA agent—might have been enough to put another journalist or columnist into scalding hot water. But Novak's actions have raised few eyebrows, and he brushes off the occasional complaints like crumbs from his vest.”
Bob in Paradise: How Novak created his own ethics-free zone. By Amy Sullivan; Courtesy of James Wolcott.
Karen on 08.08.05 @ 06:48 AM CST