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. independent now

    sorry about his sickness but good ridens.

    August 4, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. biffington, biff

    Personally, I wish him well.

    Politically, he was a blot on journalism who served as an enabler to treason against these United States of America, and is getting off easy.

    August 4, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Upon Further Review

    Sorry to hear it Bob.You may want to check and see if you were slipped something from your so-called friends whom may not want you to ever testify to something in the near future.They may not of really been your friends.

    August 4, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Griff

    That's it Mr Novak. Take a break... There are lot's of young Guy's waiting in the Wings... Winglet??

    August 4, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    novak i'm sorry to hear you have a brain tumor.

    it's too bad you're ending your career on such a low note-your lies and cover-ups wil be what you are remembered for shouldnt have lied about valerie plame and joe wilson....

    August 4, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. "Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it." Obama 95

    Best wishes for your health...

    August 4, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Sebastian

    A mean man for many years ... can't say anything positive ... so I'll leave it at that.

    August 4, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. Paul, Tampa, FL

    Retire now? But there are so many more CIA agents to out.

    August 4, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  9. Barack the Tele-promp-ter Messiah.

    Take care of yourself Mr. Novak.

    August 4, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. Steve

    Not a fan, to put it mildly, but I wish him all the best with his health.

    And those of you who don't? Please try to get out more.

    August 4, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. Cindy

    Best wishes to you for a full recovery, Mr. Novak. While I may have not shared your POV on many things, I wish you no ill will.

    August 4, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. Chris In California

    I am a Democrat, but I have listened to Novak speak and I respect him. My best to him. I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers.

    August 4, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. Butch Dillon

    Novak is boil puss, but I wish him well and hope he recovers.

    August 4, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. Susan

    I am sorry for Mr. Novak and wish him well.

    I will not, however, miss his columns.

    August 4, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. No Longer Amused, Las Vegas

    I have not often agreed with you, but I wish you the best, Mr. Novak.

    August 4, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. The Other Jon

    I'm no fan of Novak, but good luck to his family as they see him through these trying times.

    August 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. Tony Segura

    I was tuning in to see channel 55 for the cage fighters then a commercial began popping up about some Enzide and how we the public can inlarge their penis or vagina. I know of some young girls that were trying to have early sex and wanted to order this product. I see the CNN news all day and it is imbarrasing to see you have also adopted this commercial especially when our grandchildren are visiting . Our church members are getting togeather and cancelling our internet subscription or mabe suggest that you have a special news channel for people that still have some morals

    August 4, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. Roger from CA

    As much as I have disliked and disagreed with the man's work, I want to express my sympathy to Mr. Novak and his family. As someone dealing with an immediate family member fighting a malignant brain tumor, I can fully understand to horror and stress they are going through, and I wish them the very best.

    August 4, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  19. James

    Sad situation but he should still have to answer for his illegal activity.

    August 4, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. MikeH

    Sorry about his brain tumor, it's an awful way to go, but he is a dismal man.

    August 4, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. Mrs Johnson

    Seems as though the good ones are always among the least appreciated.
    Hopefully Mr Knovac will receive the very best of care, and will respond favourably to such.
    He's contributed much, and is certainly among the best.

    August 4, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  22. Chris in VA

    The amount of hate you people are capable of conjuring up is disgusting. I hope nothing like a brain tumor ever happens to you or your loved ones. The man's got a wife and two kids - how do you think they're doing right now? But hey, at least you got your little shots in. I hope it makes you feel good about yourselves. Instead you should be ashamed.

    August 4, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. Peter (CA)

    Would not wish such a condition on anyone.

    Regarding his behavior, he has been a blight on journalism for years. His actions in the Wilson/Plame case should have put him behind bars.

    August 4, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. Matt, PA

    Wow, the ill will on display is pretty disgusting. Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, it's pretty said when partisanship reaches such a point that people lose sympathy for a dying man.

    August 4, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. Blinded bythe light....

    You've been a trooper, Novak...a solid sanity reference point among an all too often giddy liberal crowd. We will miss your involvement, especially at times like these. Best wishes to you and your family in confronting your health issues.

    August 4, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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