Thanks to the magic of Tivo, I now get to regularly see Crossfire, one of the only truly “fair and balanced” shows on television. For those of you who didn’t see today’s episode, you missed this awesome exchange :
NOVAK: All right. Readers — readers of the left wing magazine, “The Nation,” might be a little shocked when they see the back page of the current issue. Even the most fanatical Bush haters might be shocked.
Yes, the drawing shows George W. Bush eating a headless child. This is inspired by a 19th century work by Francisco Goya, Saturn Devouring his Children, aimed against the Spanish monarchy.
Sitting at this table, I know how emotional and relentless and mindless is the hatred directed against George W. Bush. But in the spirit of patriotism, this Fourth of July weekend, I wonder, Paul, if you can join me in deploring this treatment of any president of the United States as over the line and unacceptable?
BEGALA: In the spirit of patriotism, let me support the first amendment, which says the nation shouldn’t be censored by right- wingers. And let me ask you, Mr. Novak, with your new self-founded — newfounded self-righteousness, are you going to retract the statement you said last week on “Meet the Press,” where you implied that President Clinton was involved in people’s deaths over Whitewater? That’s the most outrageous things I’ve heard said about an American president.
NOVAK: I didn’t say he was engaging — and you’re lying.
BEGALA: I’ll read your words.
NOVAK: And when I said that…
BEGALA: “I don’t believe that the Whitewater case was ever fully investigated. People died, and I believe Bill Clinton beat the rap on Whitewater.”
NOVAK: Well, I didn’t say he was involved with the thing.
BEGALA: You said…
BEGALA: … he beat the rap and people died. Who died? Who died in Whitewater?
NOVAK: McDougal died, and…
BEGALA: He died in prison of a heart attack.
NOVAK: Well, people died (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But just a minute. You can’t — you can’t say — go on national television and accuse me of something I didn’t say.
BEGALA: I read your words.
NOVAK: I did not say that, and that is a lie. And I…
BEGALA: These are your words, Mr. Novak. I read them.
NOVAK: And I’m ashamed of you for going on the air and saying that.
BEGALA: I got this from the transcript. This is the transcript from “Meet the Press”, Bob.
NOVAK: That’s an outrage. And it is…
BEGALA: It is an outrage. You owe Mr. Clinton an apology.
NOVAK: … an absolute outrage because I did not say that he was responsible for those deaths. And this is not fun, Paul.
So the lesson for today is that Bob Novak doesn’t think being called on his bullshit is “fun”. It’s too bad he was saved by the commercial break too, I would have loved seeing him squirm for the rest of the episode desperately trying to deny his implication that the former president is a murderer. And just in case there’s any doubt about what Novak was implying, here’s the transcript of what he said on Meet The Press :
MR. NOVAK: …in, please? I don’t believe that the Whitewater case was ever fully investigated. People died. The judge that was going to get information out was not questioned.
MR. KLEIN: People died?
MR. NOVAK: And as a matter of fact, Joe, I believe that Bill Clinton beat the rap on Whitewater and I think Ken Starr failed on that.
Novak was saved from having to explain himself on that one too, this time by host Tim Russert who quickly changed the subject.
After the whole Valerie Plame controversy, I’m surprised that Novak is allowed to be on TV at all anymore. I think what Novak has done is much, much more offensive that what Michael Savage did. Savage was an asshole, but Novak actually helped our enemies by outing an undercover agent. Maybe if the American people payed more attention, they’d hold CNN accountable for having an anchor who’s guilty of treason.
UPDATE : Media Matters has a clip of Novak’s appearance on Meet The Press. The transcript provided above is accurate, but it leaves out the fact that Novak stutters like Elmer Fudd.
UPDATE 2 : Since, this post still gets a ton of traffic, lemme point you all towards a cartoon that my friend and I made. I hope you like it :