Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I've Got a Secret

The Huffington Post

Eat The Press
Michelle Pilecki

I've Got a Secret

Not me personally. Robert Novak has. Well, we all know that he has many secrets, but the one that Sydney H. Schanberg writes about in The Village Voice is the offer to sell access to "Washington's power elite" in "confidential" sessions for a mere $595.

The request for my presence was very tempting.

The letter from [Tom] Winter [president and editor in chief of Human Events] began: "Dear friend, When was the last time you sat in a room just a few feet from the likes of Vice President Cheney or Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, asked a question and got a straightforward answer?" A straightforward answer. Just the thought of witnessing one in Washington sends a tingle up the spine.

Seriously, folks, there is such a thing as a code of ethics for journalists (now don't laugh), and this kind of enterprise violates so many of the precepts I won't try to list them all. But Novak calls himself a journalist? And other "journalists" don't call him on it?

"This meeting is strictly off the record, and what is said there remains one of Washington's best-kept secrets," according to TPM Cafe's quote from the invitation. Secret? Several blogs (including Bill Diamond at HuffPost) have commented on the semi-annual forums since MediaBistro's FishBowlDC tagged the story nearly a month ago with its Stinky Fish Award, but the traditional media have remained mum.

"Actually, the truth-dedicated Novak has been running these one-day conferences for decades," notes Schanberg. "Sources believe it's an effort to supplement the paltry income from his syndicated column, his political talk shows on television, and other entrepreneurial sidelines."

Gee, now that Mr. Novak has been suspended by CNN, I guess he needs every penny. So if you want to sign up, here's the pitch:

The Ultimate (Secret) Source
It isn't often that you can meet the decision makers of the nation in such an intimate setting. Don't miss out, sign up today.

This is your chance to get frank answers and insight into the state of our nation and economy.

Remember, only 70 people are allowed to attend. Seats are filling up, so reserve your seat today!