Conservative writer Robert Novak has died
after a long battle with brain cancer
. His aggressive reporting and evident sympathies led colleagues to call him "The Prince of Darkness," which Novak took with good humor, using it in the title of his memoirs
. Novak started as a sportswriter but developed a passion for politics and scored big in the 1960s with a syndicated column with Rowland Evans, The Evans-Novak Political Report. He eventually became as big as the news himself; he was embroiled in the Valerie Plame affair
and a familiar face on political talk shows, and famously walked off CNN
over remarks by James Carville. Still stalked by liberals
, he continued to write until his illness prevented him. David Weigel
, regretting the general tendency today toward spin and journalism by press release, says, "At his best, Novak cut through all of that and did real reporting that exposed what powerful people were thinking when the cameras were off."