Bob Novak Retires

Robert Novak, who has been a leading political columnist longer than I’ve been alive, has announced his immediate retirement in the wake of his diagnosis with a brain tumor.

Robert Novak has announced his immediate retirement following the diagnosis of a brain tumor, a prognosis the Sun-Times’ political columnist describes as “dire.”

“The details are being worked out with the doctors this week, but the tentative plan is for radiation and chemotherapy,” Novak said.

The Evans-Novak column was first distributed by Publishers Newspaper Syndicate on May 15, 1963, with the New York Herald-Tribune, the flagship newspaper. When the Herald-Tribune folded in 1966, the Chicago Sun-Times became their home newspaper.

Younger readers will likely know Novak best for his unfortunate role in the Valerie Plame scandal or even his recent hit-and-run accident.  Given the timing of his brain tumor diagnosis days later, I suspect most will forget about the later.  The former may stain him forever, even though his role was tertiary.  It would be too bad.

I first became acquainted with Novak, probably twenty-odd years ago now, through his various appearances as a television talking head, notably on CNN’s Crossfire.  He was, frankly, not very good at it.  He was, however, a legendary political reporter in his print capacity.

Roland Evans, whose name still graced the column until the end, died more than seven years ago.   This day was inevitable, I suppose, given the human condition.  Still, it’s the end of an era.

Via Hotline

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I don’t think I’ll ever forget Novak’s and Jack Germond’s none too friendly exchanges on The McLaughlin Group. Most amusing thing Germond said about Novak: “Proof positive that Ma Barker and J. Edgar Hoover were more than just good friends.”.

  2. lunacy says:

    It was his traffic accident that probably led to the discovery of his brain tumor.

    That’s how it transpired for my sis-in-law. She smacked a tree in the middle of the day for no apparent reason. Scans and questions brought the crashing news of a brain tumor. Had she not had the accident it may have gone unchecked for much longer.

    Thankfully benign.

    I hope all goes as well for Mr. Novak.

  3. Steve Plunk says:

    Novak knew his business and represented a conservative yet pragmatic way of thinking. I actually enjoyed seeing him on TV doing battle.

    I don’t see his involvement in the Plame affair as a negative and certainly not a stain on his career. Didn’t you hear? It was Rove and Cheney. Seriously the Plame affair was a tempest in a teapot. Wilson played the press and the politicians like he knew what he was doing. That attention whore got his moment of fame but it’s soon to be forgotten.

  4. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Steve Plunk really must remember to let the 12 members of Scooter Libby’s jury know that Libby was just committing repeated perjury for no significant reason. I’m sure they’ll be interested to hear it.