Novak's Nuclear Option

Novak's Nuclear Option

Novak's Nuclear Option

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Aug. 5 2005 5:37 PM

Novak's Nuclear Option

Bloggers scrutinize columnist Robert Novak's flameout on CNN's Inside Politics and discuss Drudge's report that the New York Times is investigating the adoption records of John Roberts' children. They also are saddened by news that Chappelle's Show is likely finished.

Novak's Nuclear Option: Conservative columnist Robert Novak, whose identification of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative has sparked widespread controversy and a federal investigation, decamped from the set of CNN's Inside Politics yesterday after James Carville, his liberal counterpart, joked that Novak felt the need "to show the right-wingers that he's got backbone." CNN has suspended Novak. (Read the transcript here and watch the video here).

"[W]hat a friggin' bizarre episode that was," writes liberal Joshua Micah Marshall at Talking Points Memo. "I've seen people storm off sound stages a few times. But there's something even weirder about it than that. A psychologist would have the appropriate terminology. But there's some element of inappropriate affect scattered through the hullabaloo. I just watched it yet again. And even now it's not quite clear to me what Novak's so upset about." Captain's Quarters'Minnesota conservative Ed Morrissey agrees that Novak's explosion outscales the provocation. "Even with the snarky reference to the WSJ editorial staff added in, nothing Carville said remotely justified either the expletive or the petulant abandonment of Ed Henry in the middle of the interview."

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Others say the tensions on the set are perfectly clear. "It's really impossible to overstate the extent to which Novak has been coddled and protected for decades by the perfect set-up," submits the Washington Monthly's Amy Sullivan, guest-blogging at Political Animal. "He answers to no one—not to an editor (his column is syndicated—if papers don't like it, all they can do is drop it), not to a producer (he executive-produced his own shows), and certainly not to fellow journalists who have, out of a misguided sense of collegiality and friendship, avoided asking him tough questions."

Kathryn Jean Lopez says the scandal is pure spin, tailor-made for liberals by host Ed Henry, who announced in a closing statement that he had planned to discuss the Plame case with his departed panelist. "Novak didn't walk off the set because of the Plame stuff," she writes at the National Review Online's conservative clubhouse The Corner. "He walked off the set because Carville was being a jerk. He's successfully avoided 'CIA leak' questions in the past and can handle that quite well." Beltway gossip Wonkette is unusually sympathetic. "Maybe the mere thought of being asked about the Plame thing got him rattled," she suggests. "Please note who hasn't wanted to tell Carville he's full of shit?"

Read more about Novak and more about Valerie Plame. Read Mickey Kaus' take on the matter in Slate.

Gray lady jumping the shark?:The New York Times is investigating the adoption records of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, according to the Drudge Report. Several blogs quote a form-letter response from the Times, which states, "[O]ur reporters made initial inquiries about the adoptions, as they did about many other aspects of his background. They did so with great care, understanding the sensitivity of the issue. We did not order up an investigation of the adoptions." Conservative bloggers aren't letting them off that easily.

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"Every time I think that MSM has finally hit bottom and cannot find a way to fall off the floor, some part of it digs a new cellar to dive deeper into," writes law professor and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

"Slimy Slimeballs," agreesStephen Bainbridge, a professor of corporate law. "It's just another example of how the MSM's overweening belief that they are the untouchable masters of the universe blinds them to the privacy-invading low-life scum that they in fact are." At the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web, James Taranto offers a satirical straw-man argument. "[I]t's very important to investigate every aspect of a prospective Supreme Court justice's life," he writes. "After all, he may threaten the right to privacy!"

Others think the investigation will surely prove counterproductive. "What is happening is that the New York Times is gonna make the argument that the Press should indeed be restrained since they cannot be expected to be responsible," predicts Pierre Legrand at Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill. "Other news organizations should take them to task before the NYT's ruins one of our countries greatest strengths, Freedom of the Press."

Earlier, law professor Ann Althouse, Wonkette and others had noticed implications in the Times coverage suggesting Roberts was a repressed homosexual.

Read more about the Roberts' adoption story here.

See you in South Africa: Comedy Central's iconoclastic Chappelle's Show has run its course, CNN reports.

"If Chappelle's Show is really a thing of the past ... well, that sucks," writes JP of This Isn't Here, speaking the minds of many bloggers and diarists. Others are more understanding. "I can't say I blame Dave," writesOregon Commentator Ian Spencer. "[I]f I had dozens of idiots coming up to me every day yelling 'I'm Rick James, bitch!' I'd want to quit too. It's a damn shame it has to end already, particularly since it is one of the best and most daring shows on basic cable."

Read more about the demise of Chappelle's Show.