Robert Novak, a giant of political journalism since the 1960s, has
died. No one questions his influence, but will his legacy be one of
guiding the media for better or worse?
- Partisan Journalism Alex Pareene of Gawker called Novak
"a great reporter" but said "his advocacy journalism skirted ethical
lines on multiple occasions, especially in his constant use of
anonymous sources." Pareene criticized Novak's conservative bent, which
he called "an old tradition that has made something of a comeback" in
the form of Fox News and others. "Novak's role, which he understood and
embraced, was to act as a proxy
for political attacks by conservative politicians. You leaked your
smear to Novak, and he reported"
- Investigative Columnist Timothy P. Carney suggested in
Human Events that Novak was important for building columns not on
opinion analysis but on "previously unreported facts that revealed and
machinations of government, the men and women in power, and the
politics behind it all." Though conservative, Carney said Novak was no
partisan. "Novak was always independent in his thought," he wrote.
- Shouting Head James Poniewozik wrote on
Time's TV blog that Novak was important as much for his writings as his
"style of TV confrontation." Poniewozik called Novak's "pugilistic TV
debate style ('Are you a socialist?')" during his years on The Capitol
Gang and Crossfire "hugely influential" in the "blunt, in-your-face
style of debating" that has flourished on television.
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