Washington's punditocracy is in mourning over the death of right-wing columnist Robert Novak, with many warm remembrances about his outsized personality and his supposed love of reporting. But Novak often served as a dishonest propagandist and would have been condemned in a healthy journalistic world.
For instance, not only did Novak disclose the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame in 2003 in line with a White House campaign to discredit her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for criticizing the deceptions behind the Iraq invasion but Novak continued a jihad of lies against Wilson and Plame for the next several years.
In one such attack on March 22, 2007, Novak reprised right-wing myths that had been disseminated about the Plame-gate case to protect the political flanks of President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other participants in the anti-Wilson campaign.
Despite containing a litany of lies, Novak's column was uncritically published in the Washington Post's editorial section, which even cribbed from Novak's disinformation for use in the Post's own ugly attacks on Wilson, whose principal sin appears to have been that he was the first Washington insider to accuse Bush of having "twisted" the WMD intelligence on Iraq.
The March 22 column stands out as a particularly notable measure of Novak's dishonesty because it came almost four years after Wilson began challenging Bush's false claims about Iraq allegedly seeking yellow-cake uranium from Niger. Novak's article was not some early rendition of a story that wasn't fully understood; it was a premeditated act of lying in defense of a cover-up.