The people at NBC want to make you think.
You can learn more about life from five minutes of Ed, for example, or Scrubs, than you can from, like, 15 minutes of ABC’s According to Jim.
This is all the more especially true for NBC’s news shows.
Take, for instance, Tim Russert’s “Meet the Press.” Last Sunday, Russert took a quiet moment to ask notorious blabbermouth Bob Novak whether he had any regrets about his column from last July. The one in which he’d named Ambassador Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA employee who … well … you know the rest of that story.
And Novak said no. No regrets.
Well, OK, maybe one.
In the column, as you’ve likely heard a few times before, Novak had called Plame an operative, even though he’d thought she was an analyst. And then of course, later, we’d all find out that she really was an operative after all. Oh, what a delightful O. Henry-like twist!
So anyway, yes, Novak had one regret. But it wasn’t that he’d accidentally exposed a CIA operative and everyone she’d ever talked with, met with, stood near, etc. And it wasn’t that it was looking more likely each day that he’d done and gone compromised national security.
No, what he regretted was the imprecise word choice – operative instead of analyst – that left his original column accidentally accurate. Or something like that.
Here it is, in his own words, from the “Meet the Press” transcript:
Russert: Let me turn to The Washington Post. And, well, one last thing before I – do you regret printing her name?
Novak: Oh, being a columnist and reporter for this many years is sort of like never having to say you’re sorry. But I regret one thing: I used the word “operative” foolishly, when I didn’t know she was an operative, I didn’t mean she was an operative. The rest of it I don’t regret. I try to think, if that happened again tomorrow, with not knowing anything, and a senior official had made that point to me, I can’t imagine I wouldn’t print it.”
And that was it. With his latest bit of all-new, yet closely related brainless blabber still echoing (blabber, blabber, blabber) in our ears, with all this awful mess he’d set off for his country, for his president. That was his only regret.
And true to form, as only NBC can do, this whole exchange left me thinking.
And I thought: “That Bob Novak. He is one freaky dude.”