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
16 women whose digital startups deserve Vox-level plaudits - A look at the media entrepreneurs who aren’t grabbing headlines
Why was ‘Dasani’ shut out of the Pulitzers? - 5 problems with The New York Times’ ambitious, influential series on the life of one homeless Brooklyn girl
The AP downplays its Obamacare scoop - Repeal on deductible caps marks another step in The Great Cost Shift
The enduring pull of mag covers - Why do magazine cover images still hold so much cultural power in this decline-of-print era?
Michael Wolff’s digital media bloopers - The Newser founder trolls (other) digital-news companies
Email blasts from CJR writers and editors
Great data viz from Bloomberg View
How did the clothes you’re wearing get to you? We trace the human cost of the Bangladeshi garment industry in video, words and pictures
Fantastic letter in The Times
How do you tell your family and friends?
Despite the bridge scandal, Chris Christie’s state is relatively transparent and accountable. CJR’s Greg Marx talks to Gordon Witkin
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.