Ed Driscoll

Novak To Fox

Well, this move certainly makes sense:

Commentator Robert Novak, who hasn’t been seen on CNN since swearing and storming off the set in August, will leave the network after 25 years and join Fox News Channel as a contributor next month.

Novak, 74, said Friday he probably would have left CNN anyway when his contract expired this month even if it hadn’t been for the incident.

The suspension actually served to eliminate a delicate problem for CNN, which had received some criticism for keeping the political columnist on the air with his involvement in the CIA leak case.

A Novak column in July 2003 identified Valerie Plame as a CIA agent eight days after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of manipulating intelligence before the Iraq war. Novak wrote that two administration officials were his sources, but he hasn’t identified them and Plame’s outing sparked a special prosecutor’s investigation.

Novak walked off the set in August during a political debate after James Carville said that he’s “got to show these right-wingers that he’s got a backbone.”

Novak quickly apologized, but CNN never let him back on the air. A CNN correspondent, Ed Henry, said he had been about to ask Novak on the air about the leak investigation, but Novak said that had nothing to do with why he walked off.

“I’m sorry it ended that way but I am confident if it hadn’t happened that I would still be leaving CNN,” he said. The network has been de-emphasizing political content, and canceled the long-running debate show “Crossfire.”

Novak said he was the last on-air personality who had appeared on CNN during its first weekend on the air in 1980 to still be with the network.

The decision to leave was by mutual consent and there were no hard feelings, he said.

“I have no complaints,” he said. “I had a 25-year run with CNN. That’s longer than most marriages, I think.”

It will be interesting to see where and how Fox uses him. Jonah Goldberg wrote at the time of the Carville incident:

Crossfire was cancelled by CNN