Novak's fit on CNN may have been feigned anger that allowed him to leave the set before being questioned about the Plame affair, but in any event there was likely some real anger there. For one thing, Novak apparently has a history of resorting to violence when asked about Valerie Plame.
And I don't just mean his alleged comment to a man on the street that Joe Wilson was "an asshole." Rather, I have in mind an incident in January 2004.
The video on this page  does not show the incident but purports to show the victim of it commenting immediately afterward. The man shown here, Brad Carr, says that he called Novak a traitor, and that Novak responded by pushing him and attempting to strike him. Shortly after this happened, fellow CNN pundit Tucker Carlson is shown on this video telling an angry crowd "You're going to call the cops because a 72-year-old guy pushed you? Get a life, dude!"
Michael Stinson of TakeBackTheMedia.com filmed this video and says that he caught Carr after he was pushed by Novak.
Here's what TakeBacktheMedia posted back in January 2004 about the assault:
A Take Back the Media SCOOP - Novak savagely attacks onlooker at New Hampshire Primaries.
From Takebackthemedia.com on January 27th, 2004 --
CNN has created massive coverage of the New Hampshire Primaries - bringing with them on their gaudy Election 2004 bus a host of their news anchors, including one Robert Novak - who is most well known for his obfuscating on CROSSFIRE.
Remember Robert Novak? He's the source of the Valerie Plame CIA outing in the media and has never been called to task for what appears to be a rather substantial breaking of Federal LAW.
As of this date, for nearly 100 days no one in this administration has wanted to touch this - for apparently someone high in the Bush administration has to have passed this information along to Novak, and whoever did that may be culpable legally as well.
It looks like there is some movement in that direction - a Grand Jury is being empaneled for this purpose. To me if looks like Novak is screwed either way. If he tells WHO gave him that information - he has no credibility - if he DOESN'T talk, he may be jailed. He may be jailed anyway - as I understand it (and I am not a lawyer) this is a CRIME.
So it would make sense that Novak is worried - perhaps to the point of losing his cool or his mind - which he did on January 27 outside of the Merrick Restaurant at about 5:15 pm. I was there, I saw it - I even caught the guy that Novak attacked.
I can't get the image out of my mind. Novak looked like a little caged animal - fist locked and *censored*ed back, he wasn't through with his victim before getting hustled off and onto the bus.
How did we get to this moment?
We'd been covering the Primaries in New Hampshire for over two weeks - filming, writing, etc.
It was another freezing day in New Hampshire - the usual breakfast downstairs from the hotel, plans were made over house phones, it was decided that my wife would stay back in the hotel and recover, we were all sick with virtually the same cold, the worst I'd had in 20 years.
We took the van from Nashua to Manchester to cover all the primaries and the parties - we had two cameras and a lot of digital tapes with us. We wanted to, of course, figure out how to "get backstage" where the real parties are - so we hit the streets of Manchester to see who we could find that KNEW somebody.
While filming outside of the Merrimack Restaurant earlier in the day we were approached by none other than Mimi Kennedy (of the show "Dharma and Greg") who thought she knew us but wasn't sure why. I explained that I'd been on TV a lot (not recognizing her myself - stupid) - and she said, "So am I!" (a very bubbly, sophisticated, intelligent lady) - then the wheels turned and clicked - "We were all at the WAR IS OVER event in San Fransisco.." we both said at once, and then we hugged furiously slapping our gloves and mittens everywhere like old pals. Not that we are old pals but she's just so NICE you can't help but feel so close.
She got on camera and told us all about her support of Kucinich and where the party was going to be, then headed into the restaurant to meet with Dennis.
We wandered into the restaurant - a frequent staging area for CNN who would shove tables away from the front window and hold court there. It was a bustling scene full of media - we stopped in the back and I got interviewed by KIRO radio for a lark.
Most of the day was spent going from Headquarters to Media Circus Tents to restaurants - everyone in the street had a Camera or sound equipment - at one point I laughed out loud at someone filming a filming of an interview.
We headed back to the Merrimack as there were many lights and signs bouncing everywhere - pandemonium - each group shouting out their favorite politicians name, very lively. We filmed a group of people who dressed in yellow Church robes and stood on the corner, accompanied by a organ and Reverend Billy - they were singing a soulfull tune (and wonderfully so) called STOP SHOPPING with their leader, a very talented guy.
As we crossed the street to enter the doorway of the Merrimack restaurant we noticed the BIG CNN Bus taking up all the parking spaces out front, parked at an angle - we had been there before making film shorts for fun, with me making remarks in front of the CNN Bus "This just in - CNN has found that Bush is able to find his ass with Both hands and a Flashlight..."
They has apparently been doing their show CROSSFIRE in the front window bay of the restaurant and were finishing up - I watched as Carville came out of the door and made a hard right, which put him headed for the side and back of the building, away from the crowd out front and the CNN Bus.
Soon after that, with the crowd swirling other CNN anchors started coming out - namely Robert Novak and Paul Begala and making the short trek to the Bus --
BUT - all of a sudden, a rather solid man was thrown up against me and I caught him and stopped him from falling on the ice and snow on the sidewalk - I looked past his shoulder and saw what looked like a garden troll gone insane. There were two VERY intense film lights on poles at both ends of the restaurant about 12 feet in the air and the image of Robert Novak scowling with his fist pulled back and *censored*ed was frightening - it felt like the day that Lee Harvey Oswald was shot - all the color washed out of the picture - the raw hatred in Novak's face - he was obviously not done with the man I had caught, that he had shoved a good 5 feet on ice (which could have broken this man's head open or a hip or a leg) and Novak was coming to give him more, ready to punch him. He'd gone crazy and the crowd was completely aghast - dead silence.
I'm pretty sure it was Paul Begala that grabbed Novak and forced him onto the CNN Bus while everyone was stunned. I looked into the face of the man I had caught and realised that I knew him. I was Brad Carr - A fan of ours - he'd come to every show we'd put on while here in the area.
I asked him, "What the hell is this all about?" and he admitted to me that he'd been inside during the show, and at breaks or whatever had called Novak a "traitor" - and that once Novak had moved past him to go to the bus Brad had said it again, more than once.
This was why Novak lost it and attacked him. One word. One word that I agree with. Novak published Plame's name and occupation in his column and despite any first amendment objections there are laws to protect the people of this land - for the same reason that you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theatre - you also aren't allowed to "out" a CIA agent.
One reason alone is that some of their contacts (that can take years to build a relationship with) can literally be KILLED for having associated with the CIA - and Plame's specialty as I understand it was in Weapons of Mass Destruction - isn't that something that the Bush administration would be interested in finding?
Nope. Apparently it's more important to the Bush people to destroy anyone in their path, and their families - since Bush was caught lying they decided to throw our National Security out the window for some petty payback. One that involves Lives potentially being ended - certainly careers. Glad the "grownups" are in charge.
The more serious part is that SOMEONE in the Bush admin GAVE this information TO Novak for him to dispense at will. THIS is the person most dangerous to our security and is also a Traitor as well. They need some serious jailtime.
Back to the story: Many in the crowd were angry - there was milling about and shock. Some went right back to the steady drumbeat of howling a candidate's name - but I was pissed and so were others. I spotted Begala slinking out of the CNN Bus and sliding behind the crowd by the curb - I shouted, "Hey Begala, you want to explain why Novak just assaulted this man?!" but he was having none of it and made a run for it - I respect Begala in many ways but he was in a situation he didn't want to be in. I wouldn't either.
Then we decided to go to the bus itself and demand that someone deal with this situation. I knocked on the door and no one would come to the door - a young woman walked up and started to go inside so I asked her, "Could you get your producer to come out here and explain why Novak just assaulted this man?" She looked at me blankly, went inside and closed the door to the bus. I was enraged and was going to start banging on the door but thought better of it. Imagine if the roles had been reversed and Brad HAD ROUGHLY SHOVED Novak. Don't you think there would have been sound guys and cops standing on Brad's head until he was safely behind bars?
The arrogance of these people was astounding.
Then, Tucker Carlson - the big, hairy, strong, macho guy with the bow around his neck slithered out of the restaurant. Granted, he had no idea what was going on - clueless as usual, and walked into a problem scene with his doe eyes darting about - the crowd was not there to love him, no one really likes the insipid little shit and deep down he knows that - Janeane Garofalo beat him like a circus donkey when she co hosted CROSSFIRE and I don't think he ever got over that.
We got up in his face and demanded to know what he was going to do about it, and he began some sort of whining rant about Novak being an "old guy" - as an aside here about Brad - I've shaken Brad's hand and he could literally CRUSH my hand (and I'm over 6 feet tall at 180 lbs) - he bucks his own wood and is a SOLID guy - yet Novak threw this guy a good 5 feet back and into ME. I've worked in two nuthouses and let me tell you, I've see little 5 foot dudes having to be held down by FIVE 6 feet tall men - adrenalin knows no bounds. Little old ladies carry pianos out of their houses while their houses burn down. When you have gone nuts you get real strong.
So Carlson is whining mercilessly and flipping his hair around like a French Hooker (it's really funny in the video) and saying that we should get over it - much like the last election.
I ask Carlson, "Hey, how about *I* throw YOU five feet and see what happens?" He gives me this blank high school math class stare but within his eyes he can see that I'm serious and the little boy in there is saying, "Please don't do that... Please?" Brad repeats the offer but suddenly Carlson has to turn away to look at some right wing nutcase's "I'm running for President too - but I'm crazier than a shithouse rat" flyer and then start telling the nutjob that he couldn't possibly give him money, that he'd be called up in front of an Ethics committee!
This means that your pal Novak can assault someone in broad daylight and that's okay, but YOU, you little runty schoolboy, with your silly beatlecut hair and mom's bowtie - YOU would be hauled before some ethics committee?
Remember that arrogance I talked about? Throw in a dash of just plain old haughty stupidity.
The nut job does a great job of giving Carlson some cover as he slinks away around the side of the building.
And I'm infuriated because I'd been carrying Baby Pacifiers around since NYC when I went on the Joe Scaroborough show on MSNBC - I was going to hand them out to Republicans - and I didn't have one with me to hand to Carlson.
WHILE Carlson was out talking trash - they actually SNUCK Novak OFF the CNN Bus behind our backs!
But the Mayor comes strolling up to enter the restaurant and Brad says to him, "Hey Mayor - I was just assaulted by Robert Novak right here. What are you going to do abou it?" The Mayor (and we have this on film) says NOTHING and goes inside.. not much later, he strolls out and again says NOTHING. So much for upholding the laws of the state.
THEN the HEAD of the local Republican Party shows up and Brad asks him the same question. He says, "Novak makes a lot of money - maybe you should sue him." and struts off.
We mull calling the police and then decide to think about it so we head for the Kucinich headquarters to warm up and get some cheap food and liquids. I've already called Don Waller (co founder of Take Back the Media.com) and told him about it and he's started posting the story.
A fellow filmographer (who said that if we went after Novak we'd be as bad as the Media we are trying to take over - to which I say, "HUH?") came over to us and showed us that the story was on Blah3.com already (Don's site) and linked to Atrios as well. I told Brad that this was going to be all over the world in hours and that we'd be pushing the story, trying to have right wingers held up to their own standards - the Letter of the Law.
After talking about it and getting Brad's story on film we decided to take a walk over to the Police station with Brad and as Witnesses to make a complaint.
We will have a copy of the Complaint in a few days (any lawyers out there want to pursue this?) and will send that out with a press release or post it far and wide on the web - I imagine the Smoking Gun will be interested as will many others. The number of the Case is burning a hot little hole in my wallet right now.
Our benefactor has called a few lawyers and is working on getting representation for Brad to protect his interests in this matter.
As for Novak, He's freaked.
We saw him later at the Kerry event (congrats to Kerry and a shoutout of his lovely, FUN wife, and Marvelous Marvin, a very cool security man - a long cool drink of water) - Novak was ladelled into a chair in the media pen looking very simian and pissed off - as usual. I went over to him and asked if I could have my picture taken with him and he said "Sure" and even tried to smile for the camera - this, within an hour of signing on as a witness against him for an assault charge at the police station.
As I turned away with the photo I winked, smiled and said, "See you in court!" - I don't think he heard me.
Later, someone let fly that papers had been filed re His assault -and then Novak "ran away" from our cameras!!
We gave chase.. through doors, down hallways, all the way to the elevator where Novak looked like a guy that was wondering who the hell was after him NOW.
So there you have it. The story from the man who was there. It's true - Novak DID assault someone physically. Someone that wasn't very small and Novak attacked viciously. The Novak I saw was going to do more damage to the man if he hadn't been stopped.
Novak went nuts. And Take Back the Media is calling for an Internal investigation into the matter by CNN and we also DEMAND THAT NOVAK RESIGN.
RESIGN. How dare CNN have an Anchor that physically ATTACKS people? How dare they HIDE HIM ON A BUS?
Call or write to CNN demanding that Novak Step down until he is properly investigated for ALL HIS CRIMES.
We're sick of CRIMINALS running the media and the country and this is a good place to take a stand. It's clear that Novak has lost ALL CREDIBILITY.
He MUST GO.
Co Founder TakeBacktheMedia.com