Bob Novak, veteran news columnist and conservative talking head for CNN, stormed off the set of last Thursday's (8/4) edition of Inside Politics. Mr. Novak, James Carville (liberal pit-bull) and host Ed Henry were discussing the potential candidacy for the U.S. Senate of Katherine Harris, a republican congresswoman from Florida better known as the Florida's Secretary of State during the 2000 presidential election fracas. Carville, barged in on a statement Novak was making and apparently, Mr. Novak got fed up with Carville's taunting and said "That's Bullshit", stood up and took off his microphone and left the stage. Host Ed Henry and Carville continued their discussion.
CNN later indicated Mr. Novak would be taking some vacation time. Ed Henry, the host of Inside Politics had told Mr. Novak that he would be asking him questions regarding the Valarie Plame matter where Novak had released the name of the CIA operative in a column in July of 2003. Mr. Novak has been quiet about the matter for some time. So, Thursday's sudden outburst and departure from the set presumably to avoid questions from Ed Henry on the issue brings Mr. Novak back to the forefront of the story.
Bob Novak has been a journalist for several decades. Partnered with the late Rowland Evans, they had a sindicated column for sometime that was consistently conservative and generally regarded along with Bill Safire as the cogent voice of the right.
Is it time for Novak to retire? I think so. He's on the verge of becoming a cartoon character. Jon Stewart of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, affectionally refers to him as the "Douchebag of Liberty". I think that journalists are often and sometimes rightly subject to criticism and ridicule of their work. This is especially true if they move towards partison commentary versus objective reporting. Dan Rather is often accused of bias because of his liberal leanings. As such, his reputation as an objective news reporter has been tarnished over the last few years. Mr. Novak has moved himself towards those opinion makers and further away from being a reporter one can trust to look at the story without bias or prejudice. If Mr. Novak chooses to stay in the spotlight, then give him a show alongside Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity and call his reporting what it really is: Right Wing Spin.
Bob, take a breather man, you've earned it.