Syndicated columnist and CNN host Robert D. Novak found yet another opportunity to heap praise on the discredited anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (now called Swift Vets and POWs for Truth): a February 20 New York Times report that conservative lobbying organization USA Next has hired consultants who previously worked with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to "orchestrate attacks" on one of the chief opponents of President Bush's plan to privatize Social Security, AARP.
On the February 21 edition of CNN's Crossfire, Novak announced: "USA Next has hired the same consultant who mobilized the brilliantly effective and honest Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads." Novak also referred to the group's ads as "exactly correct" and called the book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry (Regnery, August 2004), by Jerome R. Corsi and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth co-founder John E. O'Neill, "accurate" and "meticulously researched."
But official Navy records and other evidence refute the discredited group's accusations, as Media Matters for America repeatedly documented (see here and here for examples), and the Navy's chief investigator concluded that all of the decorations Kerry received for his service in Vietnam were "properly approved."
Novak's praise of the group continues, despite his multiple conflicts of interest (which Media Matters has previously noted here and here) in writing and speaking about Unfit for Command. His son, Alex Novak, is director of marketing for the book's publisher, Regnery Publishing, Inc.; in addition, Robert Novak is a trustee of the conservative Phillips Foundation, along with Thomas L. Phillips and Alfred S. Regnery. Phillips is chairman of Eagle Publishing, Inc., of which Regnery is a subsidiary. Alfred Regnery is a director of Eagle Publishing and, according to Eagle's website, is "president of Regnery Publishing, Inc." Eagle publishes the Evans-Novak Political Report, which Robert Novak edits.
Novak disclosed that his son works for Regnery in his September 6, 2004, syndicated column, but also noted: "I plan to continue to pursue this story as developments warrant." Novak has made no such disclosure in his TV appearances.