Robert Novak

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{{#badges:AEX}} Robert D. "Bob" Novak, after 25 years of "serving as a CNN commentator and program host," left the network effective December 31, 2005, and began at Fox News in January 2006. [1][2][3]

Novak is the nationally syndicated columnist who provided "political commentary 'from the right,' on CNN's 'Inside Politics', as he debate[d] James Carville and Paul Begala 'from the left'." [4]

He also "offered incisive analysis for much of CNN's programming," including Crossfire, The Capital Gang, Evans and Novak, The Novak Zone, and Novak, Hunt and Shields. [5]

In July 2007 Novak's memoirs were published: The Prince of Darkness, 50 years reporting in Washington. Publisher: Crown Forum (a division of Random House publishers New York & London).[1]

Novak "on hiatus" (translated he stormed off the set .. then got suspended)

Media Matters for America reported that, on August 4, 2005, Novak "stormed off CNN's set after using vulgar language during a live discussion with CNN contributor James Carville on the Strategy Session segment of the August 4 edition of CNN's Inside Politics.

"While discussing Rep. Katherine Harris's (R-FL) plan to run for a Senate seat against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Novak told Carville, 'Just let me finish what I'm going to say, James, please. I know you hate to hear me.' Carville said to host Ed Henry, describing Novak: 'He's gotta show these right-wingers that he's got backbone, you know. The Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching you. Show 'em you're tough.'

"Novak responded: 'Well, I think that's bullshit, and I hate that.' He then said to Henry, 'Just let it go.' As Henry asked Carville a question, Novak walked off the set.

"After the segment ended, Henry apologized to viewers for Novak's leaving the set 'a little early,' adding: 'I had told him in advance that we were going to ask him about the CIA leak case. He was not here for me to be able to ask him about that. Hopefully, we'll be able to ask him about that in the future.'"

CNN spokeswoman Edie Emery, calling "Novak's behavior 'inexcusable and unacceptable,' told Associated Press Television Writer David Bauder that "'We've asked Mr. Novak to take some time off.'" [6]

In an August 5, 2005, interview with the Associated Press's David Bauder, Novak apologized for swearing on the air, but said that it had nothing to do with the investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame. [7]

External links

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Novak spoke at the 2002 ALEC States and National Policy Summit in Washington, DC on December 14, 2002.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.


Outing Valerie Plame

Robert Novak revealed in his July 14, 2003, column"Mission to Niger" that Valerie Plame was "an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction," that is an undercover CIA operative, thereby destroying her career. Novak refused to reveal who gave him the information, potentially a crime, even though he revealed a source in July 2001:

Three and half-years ago, I reported that a veteran FBI agent resigned and retired after refusing a demand by Attorney General Janet Reno to give the Justice Department the names of top secret sources in China. My primary source was FBI agent Robert Hanssen.
Disclosing confidential sources is unthinkable for a reporter seeking to probe behind the scenes in official Washington, but the circumstances here are obviously extraordinary.[8]

In a July 21, 2003, follow-up to Novak's article, Timothy M. Phelps and Knut Royce wrote in New York Newsday:

"The identity of an undercover CIA officer whose husband started the Iraq uranium intelligence controversy has been publicly revealed by a conservative Washington columnist citing 'two senior administration officials.'"

Phelps and Royce also interviewed Novak about his source(s) and he responded:

"'I didn't dig it out, it was given to me. They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it.'"

Novak's source may not be relevant to the issue of Novak's guilt. If it is a felony to expose an undercover operative, then one could reasonably inquire "Why isn't Novak in jail for this?", since nobody disputes that he surely did so. It's right there in print.

In the first chapter of his memoirs Novak explains the whys and wherefors of this, and reveals his sources.

Novak and Rove, 1992

"Karl Rove was fired from the 1992 re-election campaign of Bush Sr. for allegedly leaking a negative story about Bush loyalist/fundraiser Robert Mosbacher to Novak. Novak's piece described a meeting organized by then-Senator Phil Gramm at which Mosbacher was relieved of his duties as state campaign manager because 'the president's re-election effort in Texas has been a bust.' Rove was fired after Mosbacher fingered him as Novak's source." [9]

Richard A. Clarke

Novak suggested that Richard A. Clarke's disagreement with the Bush administration was racially motivated:

NOVAK: Congressman, do you believe, you're a sophisticated guy, do you believe watching these hearings that Dick Clarke has a problem with this African-American woman Condoleezza Rice?
REP. RAHM EMANUEL (D), ILLINOIS: Say that again?
NOVAK: Do you believe that Dick Clarke has a problem with this African-American woman Condoleezza Rice?
EMANUEL: No, no. Bob, give me a break. No. No.[10]

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth

In August 2004, Novak enthused about the book Unfit for Command by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which was published by Regnery Publishing. Novak touted the book without revealing that his son, Alex Novak, is head of marketing for the publisher, Regnery Publishing. Novak dismissed concern about the failure to disclose the link, telling the New York Times "I don't think it's relevant". [11]

And More Leaks

Richard Perle reportedly used Rowland Evans and Novak to leak classified information in the 1970's – and is now a member of the board of Hollinger International Inc., which owns the Chicago Sun-Times, the home newspaper of Novak's syndicated column.

Dana Milbank reported in the Washington Post that Richard Perle was the chief suspect in another Novak-assisted leak of classified information in December 1975: "Novak, with his late partner Rowland Evans, got the classified leak -- that President Gerald R. Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were ready to make concessions to the Soviet Union to save the SALT II treaty. Donald H. Rumsfeld, then, as now, the secretary of defense, intervened to block Kissinger." Perle at the time was "an influential aide to Sen. Henry Scoop Jackson (D-Wash.) ... The account was described in a 1977 article in The Washington Post, noting Perle's 'special access' to Evans and Novak." [12]

Evans and Novak were "chief recipients" of classifed leaks: "Evans and Novak, the National Journal wrote in 1979, were among the three 'chief recipients' of classified leaks from Perle." The 1977 Post article stated: "Several sources in Congress and the executive branch who regard Perle as an opponent said that he and his allies make masterful use of the Evans and Novak column. One congressional aide who tries to counter Perle's and Jackson's influence on arms issues said the Evans and Novak 'connection' helps Perle create a 'murky, threatening atmosphere' in his dealings with others." [13]

Perle and Kissinger still tied to Novak via Hollinger: Richard Perle – who was suspected of leaking classified information to Novak and Evans in the 1970's -- and Henry Kissinger – whose intentions were leaked about in the 1975 incident -- are both members of the board of Hollinger, which currently owns Novak's "home" newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times. Perle has been on the board since 1994, and Kissinger has been on the board since 1996.


Current Media

Novak has a syndicated newspaper column with Creators Syndicate that goes to 300 newspapers. He has also been an interviewer on NBC's 'Meet the Press.'

Novak created and has served as co-executive producer of CNN's long-running Saturday night panel show 'Capital Gang'. The program aired for the last time on Saturday, July 2, 2005. "Beginning July 9, its spot on CNN's Saturday schedule will be taken by a revised version of the Sunday morning show 'On the Story,' which features women CNN correspondents talking about the news of the week. ... The Post said 'On the Story' will add men to the mix, with Christiane Amanpour joining the lineup to broaden the international scope of its coverage." [14]

CNN's "Crossfire" program upon which Novak has appeared as a guest host, has also been cancelled. "CNN recently said it would replace the weekday political shows 'Inside Politics' and 'Crossfire' with 'The Situation Room,' anchored by Wolf Blitzer." [15][16]

According to the July 17, 2005, print edition of TV Guide (page 16), "Only the Gang's most fervid member, Robert Novak, will stay with the network (as host of the scary-sounding Novak Zone)."


Most commonly referred to as Robert as well as Bob, Novak was born February 26, 1931, in Joliet, Illinois.

According to his biographical note, he first worked as a reporter for the Joliet (Ill.) Herald-News and the Champaign-Urbana (Ill.) Courier, where he worked while attending the University of Illinois (1948-1952). Following service in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he worked for Associated Press until 1958 to join the Wall Street Journal as their D.C. based Senate correspondent and political reporter. In 1961 he became their chief congressional correspondent.

In May 1963 he and the late Rowland Evans colloborated on their first "Inside Report" column. After Evans retired in 1993 Novak has continued to write the column three times a week.

Novak has also co-authored the following books with Evans: Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power, a political biography of President Johnson; Nixon in the White House: The Frustration of Power, a comprehensive study of the first two and one half years of the Nixon administration; and The Reagan Revolution, an analysis of Ronald Reagan's blueprint to transform the U.S. government.

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Amazon page for The Prince of Darkness, Crown Forum, a division of Random House, 2007.



External articles

By Robert Novak