At bottom, Novak insists that the whole thing was “a trivial incident exaggerated into a scandal by the Left and its outriders in the news media.” But his version focuses mainly on himself and the public anger he encountered, the break with CNN that resulted, and the steep legal fees he incurred, and only minimally on the fallout in threats of jail, heavy fines, and serious legal fees for other reporters and news organizations that got caught up in the story. That fallout is far from trivial, because reporters now know they can’t really promise confidentiality in the future and sources now know they can’t really expect it. The ranging degrees to which reporters and news organizations ended up cooperating with investigators is something that’s likely to be discussed and maybe second-guessed long into the future, and that is something about which Novak probably isn’t going to have the last word.
Behind the News
12:38 PM - August 18, 2009
CJR Rewind: Novak on Novak
A review of Robert Novak’s autobiography
Who cares if it’s true? - Modern-day newsrooms reconsider their values
What Is Russia Today? - The Kremlin’s propaganda outlet has an identity crisis
And from the left…Fox News - There’s more to Fox News’ strategy of hiring liberals than creating a public boxing match
Why Skype isn’t safe for journalists - Here are some alternatives for secure voice calls to use instead
Placing a bet on USA Today - Gannett has long felt the television model could translate into print. Now it’s using its flagship paper to double down on that idea.
Email blasts from CJR writers and editors
Can you tell the between content created by a software program and news written by a flesh-and-blood journalist?
The New York Times’ replacement for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight
“Newsweek published an article which even Goodman admits is not completely compelling on its own terms”
Why True Detective’s finale was all that mattered
Stunning timelapse of Yosemite National Park
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.