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Novak appears on FOX and Friends to defend rumor-mongering column

Reported by Chrish - November 19, 2007 -

Robert Novak, the ethics-challenged former CNN commentator who rightfully wound up as a FOX News Contributor, appeared on FOX and Friends this morning 11/19/07 to reiterate the unsubstantiated facts of his Saturday column that tar both leading Demcoratic presidential candidates without ever citing a single source or quote. The Clinton camp denied the rumor over the weekend and admonished the Obama campaign for falling for such a ruse. But on FOX and Friends it was Clinton who was deemed to be using "Nixonian" "dirty tricks."

Novak claims that his source, a "well-known Democrat, but neutral so far" told him that the Clinton camp has some dirt (derogatory, scnadalous information") on opponent Barack Obama but is withholding it to protect the Democratic party to keep the Clinton camp's hands clean. Novak claims to have checked with another source, also "neutral," who confirms he heard the same from "Clinton people."

He compared it to Nixon tricks (more recently, he could attribute such a deviously brilliant move to Karl Rove, who has slithered under the radar once again). Whether or not there is such damaging information, Novak doesn't know, but he trusts his sources so he put the rumor out there.

In a nutshell (they spend a lot of time clarifying) "Somebody from the campaign has spoken to Democrats, saying 'she's got this stuff on Barack Obama but she's not going to spread it around because...'. " Answering Brian Kilmeade's query about "those who say" this is a Republican plot to get Democrats to fight each other, Novak replied that he hasn't spoken to a single Republican, and said this is the Clinton's method, when something comes up, to blame Republicans for planting it.

Steve Benen summed it up at TPM:

"Of course, as a matter of journalism and professional standards, Novak's piece was a textbook case of media irresponsibility. His column shouldn't have even run -- Clinton supporters (who he will not name) are allegedly spreading rumors about rumors (which he cannot identify) addressing an Obama scandal (which may or may not exist). Joe Klein suggested that Novak may have 'simply abandoned all pretense of being a journalist.'"

Count on FOX News to hammer this non-story by a disgraced right-wing operative about an alleged rumor to fill their weekly Hillary-bashing requirements.