The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Farwell and Godspeed, Mr. Novak.

Regardless of my opinion of his views, he has been a significant part of the American conversation. I will miss him.

1 comment:

Michael Sanborn said...

Back when President Ronald Reagan came to Rapid City in support of Sen. Jim Abdnor, I was seated in the press pool next to Mr. Novak, for whom I had for years had a good deal of respect.

He was rumpled and unorganized, searching his coat pockets for his reporter's notebook. He was friendly, gracious and in a hurry. Finally he found his notebook in his briefcase, which he opened in his lap. Inside was a survival kit for an old school reporter: rumpled papers, receipts, cigarettes, a bottle of Pepto-Bismal, Tums, Rolaids and a bottle of Mylanta.

I asked him which one of the anti-acids worked the best. "With this president," he said, "none of them."

About that time my friend and classmate, Pete Souza showed up by my side and we had a short conversation about his job and my job and old friends from school. He was Reagan's personal photographer.

Novak asked how it was that a reporter from Rapid City, South Dakota might know the president's personal photographer. I told him Pete was a graduate teaching assistant at my alma mater, Kansas State University.

"Wildcats," he said and his attention was averted to the stage where Gov. Bill Janklow was speaking.

"How is it South Dakotans have a guy like this in the governor's office and a guy like Abdnor in the Senate?" he asked.

"It was Abdnor's turn," I said.

(Mr. Souza, by the way, is now President Obama's personal photographer.)