August 4th, 2008
03:01 PM ET
15 years ago

Conservative commentator Novak retires

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Novak published a column revealing Valerie Plame's CIA status."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Conservative columnist and former CNN host Robert Novak announced his immediate retirement Monday to focus on treatment of a malignant brain tumor.

The long-time Chicago Sun-Times commentator told the newspaper that his prognosis is "dire."
"The details are being worked out with the doctors this week, but the tentative plan is for radiation and chemotherapy," he said.

Earlier: Novak diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor

Novak's widely syndicated "Inside Report" began in 1963 at the New York Herald-Tribune. The column was co-written by Novak and long-time collaborator Rowland Evans until Evans' retirement in 1993.

"Inside Report" appeared four times a week in the Herald-Tribune and other publications of the Publishers Newspaper Syndicate for three years until the paper folded and the Sun-Times became its home newspaper.

The two also launched "The Evans-Novak Political Report," a twice-monthly newsletter that Novak continued after Evans' death in 2001.

Novak, 77, was also a regular commentator on CNN for 25 years, beginning when the station launched in 1980. He and Evans hosted "Evans and Novak" (later "Evans, Novak, Hunt and Shields"), and Novak was a regular commentator on several other CNN political offerings, including "The Capital Gang" and "Inside Politics." He hosted CNN's "Crossfire" during much of its 25-year run.

At the time of his retirement, Evans was a Fox News commentator and occasional guest on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Novak was at the center of the scandal over the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson in 2003, ultimately leading to the resignation of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Novak published a column revealing her CIA status days after her husband debunked a key Bush administration justification for the invasion of Iraq.

Intentionally revealing the identity of an undercover CIA agent can be a crime. No one was ever prosecuted for the leak itself - which turned out to have come from former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Libby was convicted of obstructing an investigation into the leak. Novak cooperated with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and was not charged.

Novak hit a pedestrian with his car in Washington on July 23 and was cited for failing to yield right of way. He said he did not see the man crossing the road and continued driving until he was stopped by a cyclist who saw the incident.

The pedestrian was treated for shoulder injuries. Novak's tumor was diagnosed last week at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston after he became ill while on a family trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

After the initial diagnosis, but before a biopsy revealed the tumor was malignant, Novak said he was suspending his "journalistic work for an indefinite but, God willing, not too lengthy period."

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soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Justin in CA

    I wish him well but its nice having one less con out there spreading lies ans pushing fear.

    August 4, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. Franky

    You know, I hate being critical to people that are older, I really do hate it. Why?? Because my parents are that age as well and I was raised to respect my elders.

    Just take care of yourself Rob...

    August 4, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. Paul Sheanus, Alberta Canada

    It's a sad statement on journalism when reporters like Novak spend more time being interviewed and interviewing other reporters than doing any journalism Journalists become the story themselves .

    I never liked this man but I did like Tim Russet....BUT....neither should be news stories themselves . This weekly health update and focus on 'who died in journalism this week' has become a farce.

    August 4, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  4. Sly Domber

    If u have nothing good to say, say nothing at all...i'll keep to my words. Good luck with your illness.

    August 4, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. Keith in CA

    Suspending his "jounalistic work"? Is that what he calls it?

    Edward R. Murrow must be somewhere shaking his head in disgust.

    August 4, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  6. California Gold

    I hope Mr. Novak enjoys his retirement and may the future bring better health.

    August 4, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  7. Larry, MI

    hoping for the best for his health, but professionally he will not be missed.

    August 4, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  8. rachae

    I am glad he is going to sit down somewhere.

    August 4, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. empty vessel, empty words

    When your Liberal lion Ted "the" swimmer" Kennedy goes, I will post negatively just like you cretins here.

    You know nothing about him and you are only sheep reporting what the DailyLoss, NPR and MSDNC tell you to "think".

    The only thing I look forward to more is Obama losing in November (Thank you for not nominating the best Democrat out there, Hillary).

    I can't wait.

    August 4, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Nanc, MN

    Empathy is an American virtue has died an ugly death. Did I like Novack? Absolutely not! Those of you who can't even imagine your entire life being over turned by a devastating illness are people with out a soul. May you never have to face something like this.

    August 4, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Oscar

    well, look at how angry the libs are
    can't say anything nice about the man

    it's a sad state when the media has to admit it's own biases by stating that he is a "conservative" columnist

    since they are so rare in the media....

    August 4, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Willy

    May god treat you well sir.

    August 4, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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