It used to be that journalism, even tinged with yellow from Hearst like rags from the early part of the last century, meant something in this nation.
That changed in 2003 when Robert Novak released the name of a CIA operative, Valerie Plame, and all hell broke loose in Washington. For those who don't remember, Valerie Plame is the wife of Joseph C. Wilson. Wilson, of course, is the whistle blower who came out and said that Iraq had never tried to purchase yellow cake uranium from the African nation of Niger. The overlord himself, Dick Cheney, decided to fight back by using Scooter Libby, who became the fall guy for this entire ordeal, and Robert Novak to get back at Wilson by outing Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame.
It was all very 90201'ish back then and is even more so now considering that no further evidence has come out regarding the Saddam Hussein regime and nuclear weapons. But Scooter Libby going to jail actually wasn't the biggest watershed moment to come out of the yellow uranium case, or scandal, depending on who you speak to.
The most important moment was the fact that those in the media who bat on the right had suddenly become more than just pinch-hitters. They had become clean-up men. Novak went from being a guy espousing the Bush Administration's vitrolic ridiculousness to a guy actually putting that ridiculousness into motion. Take a look at Rush Limbaugh who has so frightened the Republican Party this year that the head of their committe, Michael Steele, actually apologized to Limbaugh for saying that Limbaugh's show was "ugly" and "incendiary", or take a look at Glen Beck who can outright call the President of the United States a racist and not only get to keep his job but remain the focal point of the Fox News Network's belligerent hate talk that they consider journalism.
Beck and Limbaugh run the Republican Party. Not the politicans. The media of the right have officially taken over the right.
Who should the nation thank for this? Robert Novak who passed away today at the age of 78 after battling cancer. I liked Novak. I wasn't a big fan of his politics, but I appreciated his wit, his ability to strike hard at his opponents in debates no matter what the issue. Novak was a commentator and debater that harkened to the days of Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley. Novak was someone that the left could respect.
Now, instead of Robert Novak, we have Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck, but that's Robert Novak's fault. 2003 and Valerie Plame. That was all Robert Novak and Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby. Novak opened the door for Beck and Limbaugh.
We should still respect Novak. We should still offer our condolences to his family and offer a "may you rest in peace" to his spirit, but we shouldn't forget that Robert Novak changed the relationship between the media, politicians, and political decisions forever.
There would be no Glen Beck today without Robert Novak and 2003. Is that a good or bad thing? I'll hold my tongue in regards to that question.