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August 05, 2005

Call Me When He Turns Into a Bat

You gotta feel bad for Bob Novak. It's no easy transition to start the day a hack and end the week a criminal. That Novakula reacted to Carville's gentle patter as if someone had thrown open his coffin lid in broad daylight is just a symptom -- he didn't expect to be here, didn't want to be here, he's not the story.

But he is.

Amy Sullivan's piece on the guy made this point pretty well, but the reason Novak, a droopy, heavy, ugly guy with little on-air charisma and no proven facility for independent thought, has succeeded so stunningly is because, in addition to a principled refusal to engage in critical thinking, he took a similar stand against filtering information. Novak waits for what the cat drags in, then dedicates his column to dragging it back out. He's not a Krugman, a Brooks, or a Will, his columns aren't arguments or advocacy. Instead, they're transcripts. Whatever scuttlebut, rumors, hearsay, and smears Novak receives during a week are tossed in, and, lo and behold, a column comes out. It's Spin Room: Unfiltered; stenography masquerading as journalism. You gotta respect the guy for building a career off it.

And there's little doubt that Plame started the same way. Novak woke up one morning, stretched, guzzled the blood of some innocents, scratched, got a cackling call from fellow-Sith Lord Karl Rove, transcribed the story, ignored CIA warnings to do no such thing, ate a sensible dinner, put on his jammies, and went to bed. All in a day's work. Then, a few weeks later, there's a heavy knock on the castle door, and Igor limps in talking about some prosecutor and subpoena papers. Now, suddenly, Novak's the story. All the world's political thinkers are poring over his utterances, waiting watching finding slip-ups and inconsistencies, malapropisms and missteps. Novak reports this sort of news, he doesn't make it. So when Carville goes at him, it's just the last straw.

Who knows? Maybe Novak wanted the time off, but didn't want to signal defeat by asking for it. This way, he exits in a blaze of righteous defiance, or at least unexplainable pique. This way, it's CNN who couldn't take it, not Robert Novak, even if it really was the other way around. But can you really blame him? After all, if vampires don't like sunshine, how do you think they feel about klieg lights?

August 5, 2005 in Media | Permalink

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» The Bob Novak post of the day from Waveflux
Ezra Klein has a bit of fun at Bob Novak's expense. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 5, 2005 4:51:03 PM

» Robert Novak suspended from Hamdems
Robert Novak has been indefinitely suspended from his job CNN. Apparently being America's Douchebag of Liberty is a high stress job and the poor guy just snapped. The story is still developing. OneGoodMove has the coverage from the Daily Show.Update:... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 5, 2005 8:18:36 PM

» Robert Novak suspended from Hamdems
Robert Novak has been indefinitely suspended from his job CNN. Apparently being America's Douchebag of Liberty is a high stress job and the poor guy just snapped. The story is still developing. OneGoodMove has the coverage from the Daily Show.Update:... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 5, 2005 8:20:29 PM

Comments

You gotta respect the guy for building a career off it.

No, Ezra, you don't.

Posted by: Adrock | Aug 5, 2005 1:09:24 PM

You gotta feel bad for Bob Novak.

Do I really?......

Since a journalist he not be, he was just a historical antecedent to bloggers of a certain Roveish persuasion.

I hope my use of the past tense above foretells his future. Rest without peace, Bob.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Aug 5, 2005 2:05:27 PM

There's been several moments that have been captured on live TV recently, the moments where you're calling friends to say "you're not going to believe this, but..."

The McClellan press conference, where he looked like he had to swallow something bad (and he did). The classic Dennis Kucinich-Sammy Sosa exchange at the steroid hearings. And now this.

Well, I have to say that if I had it on live TV, it would be on my "save until erase" on my DVR.

Posted by: Chris R | Aug 5, 2005 2:15:28 PM

There's never a Slayer around when you need one.

Posted by: pansauce | Aug 5, 2005 3:30:48 PM

Is it possible for you to write something....anything...without a plethora of personal attacks contained within it? Cripes, it reads more like a gossip page than a weblog.

Posted by: Jay | Aug 5, 2005 3:37:15 PM

Did you know that Novak drives a black convertible Corvette (and a relatively new one at that)? It looks like the Batmobile.

Posted by: Ugh | Aug 5, 2005 3:38:26 PM

"Is it possible for you to write something....anything...without a plethora of personal attacks contained within it? Cripes, it reads more like a gossip page than a weblog.
Posted by: Jay | August 5, 2005 12:37 PM"

Please ignore "Jay" and keep making lots of personal attacks against Novak. They're funny as well as being true. Thanks!

Posted by: Spike | Aug 5, 2005 4:45:30 PM

Wow.

I didn't realize Novak had already been charged and convicted of a crime.

Silly me and my ideas of due process.

Posted by: Brandon | Aug 5, 2005 4:56:05 PM

And when a guy named Spike tells you to keep beating up on a vamp, you know the fun's just beginning...

Posted by: theorajones | Aug 5, 2005 5:38:16 PM

I've gotta believe Jay C. must be related to Novak or something based on his recent attempts to defend him. Just yesterday, Jay was suggesting Novak's age is causing him to act bizarrely.

Posted by: Jadegold | Aug 5, 2005 6:51:08 PM

it reads more like a gossip page than a weblog.

And the difference between these two things would be...?

Posted by: Very | Aug 5, 2005 7:21:40 PM

"Is it possible for you to write something....anything...without a plethora of personal attacks contained within it? Cripes, it reads more like a gossip page than a weblog."

That's pretty funny coming from Jay Caruso, whose idea of a sophisticated argument is to call somebody an idiot.

Posted by: ajm | Aug 5, 2005 9:58:08 PM

Call Me When He Turns Into a Bat

Call me when turns into a human.

Posted by: Randy Paul | Aug 5, 2005 10:34:03 PM

Well said Ezra Klein and most commentators.

I have no pity for Robert Novak or anybody like him. In my opinion, he's the Soapy Sam of current times - an irredeemably comprimised thug who has willingly made an entire career of lending his intellectual abilities to the service of scary people with scary causes. Now he's feeling the heat; surely he must realize that his recent act of willing service to the dark side constituted an abetting of an act of treason?

I've been watching him for many years. He has carefully crafted a pretense of the thinking person's journalist, a man of utmost probity and insight. The credibility gained by such a public persona was essential for a person who has dedicated himself to the furtherance of a change that has taken place in America over the last 40 years.

Over that period, I've watched an interesting turn-about loosed upon the nation by politicians and other interests of certain predilections. The change has been a shift in what is held worthy and valuable in ideals, thinking and behavior in public "service". Through that turn about, shameful and blameworthy sentiments and inclinations have been turned into virtues. Mere expedience has supplanted principle-centered behavior and principle-derived values - as if such a thing were high achievment. The carefully crafted lie, endlessly repeated to the point of belief by a reliably gullible and apathetic public has become in indispensible tool, while honesty and truth have become a thing to be avoided and feared. Entry into public life in the clean spirit of service has become the fool's errand, as self-serving agendas have become the life's work of the savy; indeed, those who serve in the spirit of service become "fair game". The well-being of those yet unborn is unconsidered in the pursuit of current gain at any cost; in clean conscience we can throw a party for ourselves and stick the innocent with the tab. With self-righteous smugness the we are willing to crucify the poor upon a cross of gold (to borrow a phrase). The purity of important institutions like the Supreme Court have been intentionally corrupted, so that, like the Court, they become mere prostitutes to the moneyed and powerful - betraying the trust placed upon these institutions by the the Founders. An ancient economic model is repackaged and relentlessly marketed as the great hope: fuedal aristocracy is remaned "Trickle Down Economics", and an unworthy few gain at the expense of all the many others. Bigotry in all it's many forms and justifications becomes a proudly worn uniform, while tolerance and the will to understand become something to be ridiculed or cursed. It goes on and on and on and on. And today, we have become something much less than what we such a short time ago.

This turn-about is the result of a process that has been deliberately pursued and executed, with no small amount of premeditation, over a period of almost 40 years. I've watched the whole thing and observed that this process has been worked in a way that has always managed to avoid approaching that threshold whereat change would be sufficient to provoke mass recognition that something foul has been let loose. It has been a processes of a thousand incremental corruptions and posonings. And, after two-going-on-three generations, the process has advanced so far, that the proponents and benficiaries of the turn-about no longer bother to hide what they're doing. Worse, many are self-righteously proud of their own corruption, betrayals and self-agrandizement, viewing their own degradation as moral achievement.

Which brings me to my point. Other factors aside, none of this would ever have been possible had the press, our 4th Estate, done its job. To ever greater degrees as the process unfolded, the press has either been a complicit booster of the process or has been a silent abdicator of its moral responsibilities. Instead of journalism we have endless efforts to manipulate others to adopt another's thinking and agenda.

Throughout it all, Robert Novak has been a tireless and single-minded worker for the realization of dark and ultimately worthless dreams: power for its own sake, accumulation of wealth at any cost to the well-being of the world and it's people, temporal status and position, etc. ad nauseaum.

In my opinion, he has has lent his mind, his gifts, his energies and his life to a cause that no amount of rationalizations, deceptions and lies can ever transmute into a thing of worth. From my perspective, his long career tells a story of lies, intellectual manipulations, twisted truths, mean spirited smears, acts of prostitution and viscious vendettas. In all, it's a litany of shame clothed in the pretense of reasoned probity and stainless integrity.

Although it can be forestalled, in the end nobody escapes justice. Ever. Robert Novak's day of reckoning appears to be at hand. My liberal heart bleeds for he and his predicament.


Of course, I mean all of my above opinions only in the nicest possible way, without the slightest trace of malice or prejudice. Here's another opinion: I think he and his partners in crime deserve long, long prison sentences.

Posted by: Paul | Aug 6, 2005 6:53:31 AM

Excellent Ezra! And I do so enjoy satire! I made a reference and link to this post on loaded mouth. :)

Wow.
I didn't realize Novak had already been charged and convicted of a crime.
Silly me and my ideas of due process.

I have to agree with you Brandon, that was very silly of you. You are thinking of the 90's. Sadly, this is now GOPUSA. People, according to Bush doctrine, are now guilty until proven innocent. You must have misplaced Bush's 10 Commandments. I think it's the 5th Commandment: "Everyone is guilty, unless I say otherwise!" You with the program now?

Cheers. :)

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