Thursday, October 2

Novak Just Cannot Connect The Dots

On yesterday's Wolf Blitzer Reports:

BLITZER: But he was a senior on African affairs at the NFC under Clinton?

NOVAK: Under Clinton, that's correct. So that was the story I wrote, was about the details of Ambassador Wilson's mission, which created a great storm. And in the sixth paragraph of a ten-paragraph story I mentioned that two senior administration officials had said it was suggested by his wife, who worked at the CIA.
Okay...let's drag it out and prop it up again. What he really wrote:

"Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction."
"An agency operative." This is more than just having "worked at the CIA" which has its share of clerical workers, interns, IT folks, managers, etc. Back to Blitzer:

NOVAK: But I just want to say that the word operative that I said in today's column, Wolf, was a mistake, using that word on my part. I have called hack politicians operatives if you read my column carefully over 40 years. And it's just kind of a throw-away word. I had no knowledge whether or not she was an operative.
It's no mistake I want to use the word "parsing" here, Bob. If you thought she was just a CIA employee, you would have said "She works at the CIA." You wrote, spell-checked and proof-read "operative." Deal with it. Finally:

NOVAK: It was what I call a weak request. In journalism we are asked not to use things constantly. I'm sure you have been. 'Don't use that, Wolf.' I was asked by the CIA official not to use it. He did not, at any point, say her life was in danger. He did not press it.
You were asked not to use it. What is "pressing it"? Him coming to your office on his knees? Him saying "Don't use it. Pretty pretty PLEASE for the love of GOD don't use it"? Bob, why would the CIA tell you her life would be in danger when they're trying to keep her identity - her occupation - secret? Isn't the request not to use it enough for you?

Bad reporter. Bad bad reporter.