Robert's Rules of Anger

I really don’t get this. After all of the (pointless) barbs that has tossed out on CNN’s Crossfire and all of the (needless) vitriolic abuse that he received in return, it looks like a relatively mild comment made by fellow Crossfire alum James Carville took Mr. Novak over the edge on CNN’s Inside Politics yesterday afternoon. The ever-helpful Media Matters website posted a video of the relevant section of the interview.

What’s strange about it is that both men are so calm during the exchange. Novak tosses out a comment “Just let me finish what I'm going to say, James, please. I know you hate to hear me,” which is sarcastic, but pretty mild in Novakian terms. So Carville responds with an equally calm, but clearly sarcastic tone: "He's gotta show these right-wingers that he's got backbone, you know. The Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching you. Show 'em you're tough." I’ll let you watch Novak’s reaction, but clearly Carville hit a nerve.

Huh? Was this just the proverbial last straw? By Crossfire standards, this exchange is downright bland. It probably qualifies as holiday banter on the old set. And surely Novak has received (and turned down) innumerable requests for interviews – and how could he expect otherwise? After all, the man makes a living by telling other people what he thinks, and by letting anchor people lob questions at him. I, for one, couldn’t believe that Novak was continually on pontificating on air, often to journalists, while receiving so few questions relating to the CIA leak case and his possible involvement. So you've got to wonder if Novak is feeling pressure from somewhere else, somewhere other than from journalists. Let's face it, Carville didn't really say anything particularly offensive. He certainly wasn't being nice, but that's not exactly how either of these commentators made his reputation (or money). Anyhow, with so little going on with the actual case (well, that’s been leaked to the media, at least), I’m sure that this clip will be making the rounds. Also, it appears the CNN has now (temporarily) suspended Novak. After all, he did swear on TV. Conservaties don't like that, right? I’m not sure that this rises to the level of a “Dean Scream,” so I wouldn’t expect this to be a career-ender. After all, it's not like Novak yelled out a laundry list of states followed by an angry yodel. I would, however, recommend setting your VCR/Tivo to record the next installment of the Daily Show.


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