Washington Post Nixes Wilson-Plame Quote in Novak Column

The Washington Post printed Robert Novak's column about his brain tumor today, but it substantially edited the ending. The Post removed a mean-spirited quote from Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame attacking Novak that appeared in the version distributed by Creators Syndicate.

The original column by Novak ended like this (emphasis added, more below the fold):

There are mad bloggers who profess to take delight in my distress, but there's no need to pay them attention in the face of such an outpouring of good will for me. I had thought 51 years of rough-and-tumble journalism in Washington made me more enemies than friends, but my recent experience suggests the opposite may be the case.

But Joe and Valerie Wilson, attempting to breathe life into the Valerie Plame "scandal," issued this statement: "We have long argued that responsible adults should take Novak's typewriter away. The time has arrived for them to also take away the keys to his Corvette."

Thanks to my tumor, the Wilsons have achieved half of their desires. I probably never will be able to drive again, and I have sold the Corvette, which I dearly loved. Taking away my typewriter, however, may require modification of the First Amendment.

Support for me and promises of prayers sent for me poured in from all sides, including political figures who had not been happy with my columns. I'm told that President George W. Bush has not liked my criticism, particularly of his Iraq war policy. But the president is a compassionate man, and he telephoned me at 7:24 a.m. on August 15, six minutes before I went into surgery. The conversation lasted only a minute, but his prayerful concern was touching and much appreciated.

The Washington Post version reads this way:

Though angry bloggers profess to take delight in my distress, I feel no need to pay them attention in the face of an outpouring of goodwill. I thought 51 years of rough-and-tumble journalism in Washington had made me more enemies than friends, but my recent experience suggests the opposite may be the case.

Support for me and promises of prayers have poured in from all sides, including from political figures who had not been happy with my columns. I'm told that George W. Bush has not liked my criticism, particularly of his Iraq war policy. But the president is a compassionate man, and he telephoned me at 7:24 a.m. on Aug. 15, six minutes before I went into surgery. The conversation lasted only a minute, but his prayerful concern was touching and much appreciated.

Thanks to my tumor, I probably never will be able to drive again, and I have sold the Corvette, which I dearly loved. Taking away my typewriter, however, may require modification of the First Amendment.

To fit on its op-ed page, the Post was forced to edit the column from 1,475 words to 1,139 words. But of all the things to cut, the newspaper chose to nix the hostile words of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame. By doing so the editors altered an important part of Novak's column and covered up an ugly attack by two liberals.