Why do I expect more from the mainstream press than what they are actually producing? Case in point: the poison pen of Robert Novak. He recently wrote an article trying to tar former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with an event that occurred 150 years ago, the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Hugh Hewitt does a masterful job of taking Novak to task for his hit-piece:

There is no way to deal with religious bigotry that demands answers to questions that are not a candidate’s to answer. Robert Novak’s column today is just amazing in this regard. The estimable Mr. Novak writes a review of a new movie about the Mormon Massacre, and then casually asides:

Mitt Romney surely is not responsible for what kind of man Brigham Young was, but that question hurts his candidacy. Romney has been described by many Republican insiders as the perfect candidate: magnetic, smart and with an excellent record as an executive. His greatest liability has been religious bias against him. He has never seized this issue, thinking it so wrong-headed that it will go away.

Similarly, he has rejected efforts by the producers of September Dawn to reach out to him. I made three attempts without success to get his views of the movie. Neither watching it nor condemning it, he may just hope that Americans will not include this bloody tragedy in their spring and summer viewing.

Has Novak approached Giuliani on Urban VIII’s imprisonment of Galileo? What an incredibly absurd question and line of reasoning. On Monday the New York Times profiled Barack Obama’s relationship with the pastor who brought Senator Obama into his Christian faith, the controversial Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. This is a fascinating and appropriate subject to raise, as the Rev. Wright has many controversial views and is a significant figure in Obama’s life.

But the attempt to pin the Mountain Meadows Massacre on Romney is nothing short of the worst sort of prejudice–the assignment of guilt or at least the responsibility to explain a particular act of 150 years ago onto a candidate for the presidency in 2007? And when Novak writes that Romney has never seized this issue of religious bias against him, the reporter also reveals he hasn’t done much reporting as Romney has done so again and again –at length in my book, but also in profile after profile.

As I see it, Novak seized the chance to bash Romney and his candidacy over an event that Romney has neither any control over nor rightful blame for, but it’s a handy story to bash Mormon Mitt Romney, so on with the show! Of the declared Republican contenders, Romney is one of two with the executive experience that I see as necessary to being a good President. But whether you like Romney or not, Novak’s column reads more like an anti-Mormon hit-piece than like any serious journalism. I have to wonder why Novak sees fit to thump Romney about his Mormon faith when other Mormons serving in Congress are not asked the same question. Oh, heck, I know the answer to that–Romney is a Republican running for President, so it’s time for the media’s anal exam of anything and everything about him, and short of finding anything more recent or applicable, Novak resorts to using a 150-year-old horror to tar Romney. I figure if the media is willing to give Al Sharpton a pass over the Tawana Brawley fiasco, which Sharpton actually took part in, they should be just as forgiving of a piece of history for which Romney bears no blame.

But you and I both know the likelihood of that happening.