Network of the Living DeadFollowed by:
July 18, 2005
CNN executives announced today that they will not bury the badly decomposed corpse of columnist and on-air personality Robert Novak, despite complaints from producers that the stench of his putrifying flesh is making it difficult to book guests for the network's talk shows.
"We realize some viewers may be unsettled by the sight of a rotting pile of maggot-infested tissue on their living room TV screens," explained CNN/US president Jonathan Klein. "But Novak has a contract, and we feel that as long as we can squeeze a little more free publicity out of his legal and ethical problems, we have no choice but to keep him on the air."
Klein refused to comment on a recent outbreak of typhus at CNN studios in Washington that left five of Novak's makeup artists dead and 23 hospitalized, citing pending litigation. He also declined comment on the alleged involvement of Novak's personal chef in an interstate grave-robbing conspiracy.
"Those charges are under investigation by the police, and it would be inappropriate for me to comment at this time," Klein said. "But I can assure you that anyone convicted of a crime and sentenced to a lengthy term in a federal prison will be fired from this network -- just as soon as the appeals process has been completed."
Industry insiders say that CNN, which badly lags rival Fox News in the ratings wars, is desperately seeking a long-term replacement for Novak, but so far hasn't found a reanimated corpse willing to accept the job.
"Most zombie journalists have higher standards than that," explained one network source, speaking on quadruple super duper secret sauce background. "And the others are either in jail or have already been signed by Fox."
The source, who I am now at liberty to reveal is Wolf Blitzer, disclosed that Fox talk show host Bill O'Reilly rejected a CNN offer after lengthy negotiations. "His Fox contract includes an all-the-production-assistants-you-can-eat clause," Blitzer said. "Klein wanted to top it, but the highest corporate would go was an unlimited supply of dead Iraqis. And O'Reilly said they give him gas."
One industry insider speculated that CNN would use advanced refrigeration technology to try to keep Novak's corpse from completely falling apart while it waits for Larry King to pass over into the undead state. Others disagreed, however.
"They've been waiting a long time for that to happen," one informed source said. "But I think King has already made his own deal with the network down under -- and I don't mean the Australia Broadcasting Corporation."
Death Takes A HolidayPretty strong stuff, but consider what Novak said just last year:
August 05, 2005
Reversing their earlier decision to keep the unburied corpse of Novak on the air, CNN executives have announced that the zombie propagandist's decaying flesh will be "temporarily" entombed in a lead-lined refrigerated crypt at the Hanford Nuclear Energy Reservation in Washington State.
Network executives acted Thursday after Novak's body staggered to its feet in the middle of a joint interview with the mummified remains of James Carville, and vomited a noxious heap of its own decomposed organs directly into the lap of CNN host Ed Henry. The reanimated corpse then lurched off the set, leaving a trail of wriggling maggots and liquified fecal matter behind it.
"It was just the usual stuff," said one CNN producer present in the studio at the time. "Henry's had all his shots, and the steam hoses were ready. But when the suits found out that Novak said 'bullshit' on camera, they totally lost it. The promotional contract specifically required him to call it 'high-grade organic fertilizer from a naturally abundant bovine source.' The ad department was furious."
Other sources, however, said the decision to put Novak on ice was actually made several weeks ago, after several of the living members of his staff were mysteriously stricken by radiation sickness. Technicians reportedly traced the source of the contamination to Novak's lower intestines -- or rather, what's left of them.
"He's been having trouble getting his hands, well, his stubs, on fresh corpses lately," said one CNN insider. "So we've been feeding him some old ones shipped in from the Ukraine. How the heck were we supposed to know they were Chernobyl victims?"
But CNN/US president Jonathan Klein angrily denied that story, saying Novak has had no trouble at all obtaining young, healthy corpses to devour, thanks to his close relationship with the Pentagon and the recent rise in U.S. casualties in Iraq.
"Mr. Novak has been amply nourished by the brave young soldiers who have died defending his freedom -- and ours -- to tell lies to the American people," Klein said. "That was absolutely not a factor in this decision."
The use of a lead-lined sarcophagous, Klein added, was requested by Novak for unspecified "religious reasons."
"Let's just say that Bob has some serious debts to pay in the underworld -- and I don't mean the Mafia," explained one lawyer who's been officially briefed on the case. "Once he's cooped up in that crypt he's going to have a hard time covering the vig. Personally, I don't think even two feet of solid lead is going to stop the devil, but I can't blame Novak for trying. If you know Bob, you know he needs all the protection from the hereafter that he can get."
CNN executives insist the interment of Novak's rotting remains will only be a temporary "working vacation" for the undead pseudo-journalist, who will continue to write his syndicated column and deal with his mounting legal troubles -- despite the subzero temperatures inside his tomb.
Some experts are dubious, however. "If you saw the video from Thursday, you can tell the brain is just about gone," said one experienced pathologist. "I'm fairly sure there was gray matter in that stuff his corpse was puking up. You can see it all over that big book on the table next to Henry. I doubt at this point that Novak could do much more than type out a few random, incoherent letter sequences."
But Novak's editors at the Chicago Sun Times say they hardly expect to see that kind of improvement in the columnist's work, given his condition. "As long as he can still manage to slander and slime one or two innocent people a week, that's good enough for us," said one.
Novak's legal problems, however, may not be so easy solved, sources speculated. "You fucking got that right," said the lawyer who has been briefed. "Satan is the least of his worries now. If Bob thinks Pat Fitzgerald's gonna cut him some slack just because he's finally dead and in his grave, I think he's got a surprise coming."
Q: Let's talk about the Valerie Plame affair, which caused you so much grief. If you had it to do over again, would you reveal who she was?Words fail to express my happiness at receiving the news of Novak's final spark going dark. My only disappointment is that he didn't suffer enough before he finally went out.
A: If you read my book, you find a certain ambivalence there. Journalistically, I thought it was an important story because it explained why the CIA would send Joe Wilson -- a former Clinton White House aide with no track record in intelligence and no experience in Niger -- on a fact-finding mission to Africa. From a personal point of view, I said in the book I probably should have ignored what I'd been told about Mrs. Wilson.
Now I'm much less ambivalent. I'd go full speed ahead because of the hateful and beastly way in which my left-wing critics in the press and Congress tried to make a political affair out of it and tried to ruin me. My response now is this: The hell with you. They didn't ruin me. I have my faith, my family, and a good life. A lot of people love me -- or like me. So they failed. I would do the same thing over again because I don't think I hurt Valerie Plame whatsoever.
Update: on second thought, words don't entirely fail me here. Let me see if I get this right, Bob... if you had it all to do over again, you'd jump with both feet on Valerie Plame's covert identity, destroy her network of agents, generally fuck up for years to come a significant part of U.S. nuclear non-proliferation efforts, particularly with regard to Iran and South Asia, and you would do this with relish and enthusiasm because... some bloggers and reporters [and one comedian who pretends to be a reporter] made fun of you? You thin-skinned ghoul, I'm glad you're done.