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08/05/2005 Archived Entry: "Bob Novak's explosion exposed"

Reuters reports, "CNN took veteran political columnist Robert Novak off the air late Thursday after he uttered an expletive and walked off the set of 'Inside Politics' while it was still on the air. Novak's outburst happened 10 minutes before the end of the show in the midst of an exchange among Novak, fellow analyst James Carville and 'Inside Politics' anchor Ed Henry."

But was Novak's temper tantrum and walk out staged to allow him to avoid being asked about the Plame scandal? For those who have lived in a cave for the last year or so, Valerie Plame was a CIA operative whose identity was disclosed in one of Novak's columns in July 2003. It is widely assumed that the disclosure was intended to punish or discredit her husband -- Bush-critic and former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Arizona Central states, "Two other reporters connected to the case openly fought the revelation of their sources, and Judith Miller of The New York Times has been jailed for refusing to cooperate with prosecutors. Novak has repeatedly refused to comment about his role in the federal investigation. After Novak walked off on Thursday, Henry said that Novak had been told before the segment that he was going to be asked on air about the CIA case." Indeed, Henry stated that he had been just about to ask when the explosion occurred and cut off that possibility.

Or, rather, according to the Los Angeles Times, after uttering the expletive, Novak "appeared ready to continue the discussion. But after another moment he rose from his chair, removed his microphone and walked off the set." If it was Carville's needling he was trying to avoid or protest -- rather than Henry's impending question -- then wouldn't he have left immediately after uttering "Bullshit". (That was the expletive BTW.) Moreover, a lot of bloggers, who seem to have poured over clips of the incident which are already posted across the Internet, have remark on how mild Carville's needling of Novak actually was...at least, compared to exchanges on other shows during which Novak's posterior managed to stay solidly in his seat.

My opinion: Novak staged the walk out BUT his co-host James Carville is so damned annoying that the "blow up" theory cannot be fully discarded. And I echo a question asked by another blogger: will the Federal Communications Commission fine Novak for indecency? And, as usual, I like the Wonkette's take on the incident: "Novak Takes His Lack of Balls and Goes Home."

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