Bob Novak was the last of his generation, of men who were reporters…. not “journalists”, or “staff writers”, or gawd forbid, “investigative journalists”.
Guys much like him, but with less talent, were the guys I worked for and with early in my newspaper career.
I’ve often said that almost anyone with a good high school record can learn to write an inverted pyramid, 10-paragraph news story, but not just anyone can be a “reporter.”
Case in point: Woodward and Bernstein – who turned in most of the major stories in what came to be known as Watergate. Woodward, college preppy, was the writer and the good, old-fashioned, shoe-leather reporting was mostly the domain of Bernstein who started as 16-year-old copy boy at the old Washington Star.
When a few years later he was denied a job as a reporter because he was a college dropout, he was hired at the Washington Post which knew a reporter when it saw one, and didn’t require a B.A.
Now that “journalists” have masters degrees in “mass communications” and have a “profession”, not a trade or craft; that ex-plains the sorry state and wholesale sellout of the journalism craft.
Though it became fashionable in the last 20+ years of his career for communists, far left democrats and other socialists to hate him, Novak, reviled as “The Prince of Darkness”, was an Army Korea War vet and no fan of the Presidents Bush.
He was also a life-long registered Democrat who was widely feared by any and all of Washington’s power elite for the better part of half a century.
In the mid-1960s, Richard Nixon peaked from behind the curtain shortly before he was to speak, and when he saw Novak seated in the front row of the assembled press, he grabbed an aide and said, “Look at him; that’s Bob Novak. That’s the enemy.”
Now, that’s a reporter.
One year ago this month Novak characteristically announced his retirement as a reporter: “Doctors will soon begin appropriate treatment. I will be suspending my journalistic work for an indefinite but, God willing, not too lengthy period;” and later added an update… announcing his diagnosis was “dire”.
Not long ago Walter Cronkite died, finally, at 92; he couldn’t fetch Novak a cup of coffee, yet the left loved “Uncle Walter” and hated Novak.
That’s because Bob Novak was a reporter.
From now on I’ll be less well informed and not nearly as entertained.
Here is a warm remembrance from Ken Tomlinson in Human Events; don’t bother with any state-run media obits.
Virtually half would never see the sun rise.
In the early hours of 9 Aug., 1942, she was one of three American (USS Vincennes and the USS Astoria) and one Australian cruisers stationed in the northern approaches to the invasion zone and was sunk there by a force of Japanese cruisers in the disastrous Battle of Savo Island. Only one vessel on the patrol survived, though heavily-damaged.
Attacked by a squadron of numerically superior Jap warships near Savo, the US ships only eight months after Pearl Harbor, were inferior in both armament, crew experience and especially night gunnery in which the Imperil Navy excelled.
It was a massacre.
With its captain dead on the bridge and all its 8-inch and 5-inch guns destroyed, the Quincy was caught in Jap searchlights (left), dead in the water, on fire and badly down aft. She was sinking quickly.
Daniel Galvin, 21, of Hanover Mass., plunged into the Pacific swam about “50 strokes” before looking back and glimpsing the ship’s final moments as it was sucked down into the sea.
“I could still see, even in that light, that the flag was flying, and the propellers were still flipping over. It went down with a lot of my shipmates still on board,” he said.
The Quincy sank in less than 10 minutes. The Vincennes and the Astoria were gone as well, as was the Aussie ship.
It was Clyde Bolton, a friend from Concord, N.H., bobbing in the water.
“’Come over here!’’’ Clyde Bolton yelled.
“’You come over here,’’’ Dan Galvin yelled back as he struggled to stay afloat.
They were no more than 50 feet away from each other in the water, and before you knew it, Clyde Bolton, badly burned, slipped beneath the surface.
“I should have gone over to Clyde when he called me,’’ Galvin said. “I think about him every day. I wish I swam over to him.’’
Two weeks ago, 67 years to the day that Dan Galvin lived while so many around him died, he did what he does every Aug. 9. He puts on his sailor’s white hat, steps out on his front porch, and he read the names of each of his 389 shipmates who went down with the Quincy.
Sometimes he gets through the list without crying. But every year it gets harder.
“I worry,’’ said Galvin. “I worry that when I’m gone, no one will remember these men.’’
Revenge: In the Navy tradition, another heavy cruiser was christened USS Quincy (CA 71) launched in 1943 and participated in the D-Day invasion of Europe. She was decommissioned 2 July 1954, the name “Quincy”was struck from fleet rolls, and she was scrapped in 1974.
Both cruisers were preceded by the first to bear the name, a German cargo ship which was seized in Florida in 1917, and renamed USS Quincy (AK-10) in Feb. 1918; she was decommissioned and sold in 1922.
August 1992—The Quincy was located and examined on the sea floor of what had come to be called "Iron Bottom Sound". She lies upright in some 3000 feet of water, with her bow broken off immediately in front of her forward eight-inch gun turrets, both of which are trained out to starboard. The ship's shell-riddled forward superstructure, shattered left gun of Turret # 2, destroyed aircraft hangar and collapsed after deck are indications of the battering she received from Japanese weapons during her final moments on the surface and from the crushing force of the deep sea after she sank.