While it is, in the interest of historical criticism, permissible to write nasty things of the dead, to slander the deceased isn't very sporting.
I refer to Mr. Alterman's description of the CNN incident, which ended Mr. Novak's career there, because it was in no way like what Mr. Alterman describes. Mr. Novak swore and left the set after James Carville repeatedly and childishly asserted that Mr. Novak was "just trying to show his right-wing friends he has some backbone." The topic under discussion was the Florida race for US Senate and the possibilities of Katherine Harris challenging Bill Nelson. Mr. Novak was attempting to analyze the race, while Carville was buffoonishly interrupting and looking for laughs at Mr. Novak's expense, and taking the conversation off topic. Ed Henry could have been taking a nap. This followed many years of CNN's futile quest to find a journalist who could hold his own with Novak (just ask Michael Kinsley or Al Hunt) and ultimately led to its employment of Begala and Carville; apparently, Mr. Alterman was not a candidate.
Following Mr. Novak's departure from the set, Ed Henry announced he had planned to ask Mr. Novak about the Plame story, no big deal there, Novak had handled those questions many times by then, and Bob Novak had certainly handled lots of journalists tougher than Ed Henry. Why Mr. Henry sought to enhance himself with with the audience, who knows.
I mention these things without reference to Mr. Novak's version of events, which I saw him discuss during his Prince of Darkness book tour, a title that reflects his capacity for writing true things. His column "My Brain Tumor," which can still be accessed through the Drudge Report, in which Mr. Novak mentions his friendships with Bob Shrum and Al Hunt, and the kindness of Ted and Vicki Kennedy in referring him to their doctors, is truly wonderful. Mr. Alterman doesn't seem to get it.
Thomas J. Conway Jr.
Sep 3 2009 - 8:54am