“It was the kind of fight for the Republican nomination I had awaited for more than sixteen years, not out of ideological fervor but from a reporter’s lust for a bloody political battle.”
— Robert D. Novak, The Prince of Darkness, p. 278
I dropped by the Arlington office of The American Spectator on Thursday just to say hello, and Wlady Pleszczynski gave me a spare copy of the Novak book he happened to have lying around.
Novak’s memoir is one man’s political history of the past 40 years, but it’s also an excellent primer on how journalism works in Washington. The label “investigative journalism” is sometimes applied to the kind of work Novak does, creating the notion of skullduggery, the secret back-alley rendevous and so forth. It’s actually more a matter of cultivating acquaintances with sources, such as Novak’s friendship with Richard Perle, which led to Novak obtaining the “Sonnenfeldt memo” in 1976, which in turn helped revive Ronald Reagan’s primary challenge to President Gerald Ford.
Novak’s confession of a reporter’s natural appetite for political conflict is spot-on. Which is why it’s so baffling that so many journalists are in such a hurry for Hillary Clinton to quit. One would expect most reporters to be rooting for her to take her fight all the way to the convention. Guess they’re just not Old School.
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