Jennifer Rubin (journalist)
|Occupation||Columnist, lawyer, blogger|
|Known for||Columnist and blogger for The Washington Post|
Jennifer Rubin is an American neoconservative columnist and a blogger for the Washington Post. Previously she worked at Commentary Magazine, the Pajamas Media, Human Events, and the Weekly Standard. She also published at Politico, New York Post, New York Daily News, National Review, the Jerusalem Post, and a variety of other media publications.
Rubin was born in the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia, and moved with her family as a child to California in 1968. She attended college and law school at the University of California, Berkeley. Before moving into opinion writing, Rubin was a labor and employment lawyer in Los Angeles, working for Hollywood studios, for 20 years. She now describes herself as a 'recovering lawyer'. Commenting on working with her from 2000-5, Hollywood animator and trade union leader Steve Hulett described her to Media Matters as "always funny, with sharp observations. I never got the impression she was anything but a Democrat...she was mildly critical of some of Kerry’s campaign moves during the ’04 campaign, but she wasn’t in the Bush camp...it’s somewhat startling to me that she is now hard right."
In 2005, she moved to Northern Virginia with her husband and two children. She offered a column to the Weekly Standard about Mitt Romney, and continued doing freelance work for two years before joining Commentary Magazine.
Rubin's move to the Washington Post in November 2010 became a national news story and was discussed by the media on all sides of the political spectrum, ranging from The American Conservative and the Weekly Standard, to Salon Magazine and the Slate magazine. In welcoming remarks, The Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt wrote that "her provocative writing has become 'must read' material for news and policy makers and avid political watchers." Commenting on Rubin's hiring, Columbia Journalism Review writer Ali Gharib said that "the Post seems to have picked someone who, while capable of some political introspection on the right, characterizes opponents by derision; by delegitimizing them rather than engaging them on the substance of their policy preferences."
In 2011, she was included on the list of "50 Most Influential American Jews" by The Forward. Slate blogger David Weigel called Rubin "one of the right’s most prolific online political writers". The Commentary editor John Podhoretz writes that Rubin "labored daily from her home in suburban Virginia [...] never missing a news story, never missing an op-ed column, reading everything and digesting everything and commenting on everything. She is a phenomenon, especially considering that for the first two decades of her working life, she was not a writer or a journalist but a lawyer specializing in labor issues [..]".
In August 2013, former Washington Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton criticized Rubin in an open letter from his new desk at the Washington City Paper, saying that he received more complaint emails about Rubin than any other Post employee. Writing that her columns were "at best...political pornography," he said "Have Fred Hiatt, your editorial page editor—who I like, admire, and respect—fire opinion blogger Jennifer Rubin. Not because she’s conservative, but because she’s just plain bad. She doesn’t travel within a hundred miles of Post standards. She is often wrong, and rarely acknowledges it. She parrots and peddles every silly right-wing theory to come down the pike in transparent attempts to get Web hits. Her analysis of the conservative movement, which is a worthwhile and important beat that the Post should treat more seriously on its national pages, is shallow and predictable."
Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for the Post, responded in a statement to Politico that "I appreciate Patrick's perspective but I think he is quite wrong about Jennifer Rubin. Regular readers of her blog know that she is an indefatigable reporter who is as hard on politicians on the right when she thinks they get things wrong as on the other side. Just to give one example: no one has done a better job chronicling the Republicans' internal debates and anxieties regarding immigration. If you read her rather than the comments about her you can learn a lot."
Political views and commentaries
Rubin has been characterized as neoconservative. She has opposed Barack Obama on multiple occasions, calling him “the most anti-Israel U.S. president (ever)”, and writing that “Obama isn’t moderate, doesn’t like the free market, and isn’t interested in waging a robust war on Islamic fundamentalists.” She also criticized what she characterized as inaction on issues including the Middle East peace process and the Keystone XL pipeline.
In a November 21, 2013, column, Rubin called on the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to end its campaign against same-sex marriage. “Like a candidate losing every primary, you wonder how long the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) can hold on,” Rubin wrote. “What exactly does NOM do as voters in state after state decide to expand marriage to gay couples? There aren't enough states for a constitutional amendment. It's no longer a matter of judicial activism, but a sea change in public opinion that is propelling the legal shift. How many contests does NOM lose before it—or its donors—figures out the argument is not going to carry the day?” Rubin said NOM should "[c]ampaign for marriage, not against gay marriage."
In 2011 Rubin wrote a blog post suggesting that the 2011 Norway attacks were carried out by Islamic jihadists. Columnist James Fallows of The Atlantic criticized the piece as "rushed" and noted the subsequent discovery that the attack was carried out by Anders Behring Breivik, a native Norwegian who was not a Muslim. Another Atlantic columnist, Jeffrey Goldberg, responded that the criticism was unwarranted, noting that other publications such as Wired and even The Atlantic itself had printed similar speculation; Goldberg concluded: "It is not perverse or absurd for normal people to think of al Qaeda when they hear of acts of mass terrorism. It is logical, in fact, to suspect al Qaeda." In a follow-up column, Rubin acknowledged that early suspicions of a jihadist attack had proven to be mistaken.
In November 2011, Rubin retweeted an anti-Palestinian blog post that Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton called "reprehensible." Rubin later told Pexton that she endorsed and shared the views in the post that "expressed an understandable desire for righteous vengeance against the kidnappers and human rights abusers of Gilad Shalit." Pexton said "in agreeing with the sentiment, and in spreading it to her 7,000 Twitter followers who know her as a Washington Post blogger, Rubin did damage to the Post and the credibility that keeps it afloat. Andrew Sullivan wrote that "we have a blogger at the WaPo endorsing throwing Arab prisoners into the sea to meet righteous divine punishment." Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt defended Rubin, saying, "As a general matter I think it isn't wise for me to comment on the work of the ombudsman, who is entitled to his views, and over whom I do not have editorial control. However, I will say this: I think Jennifer is an excellent journalist and a relentless reporter. I think because she has strong views, and because she is as willing to take on her home team, as it were, as the visitors, she comes under more scrutiny than many and is often the target of unjustified criticism. I think she brings enormous value to the Post."
Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic argued that after the 2012 Presidential election, Rubin criticized aspects of the Mitt Romney campaign which she had previously praised, with Friedersdorf insisting that she had acted as "a disingenuous mouthpiece for her favored candidate".
- Ron Kampeas (August 4, 2011), Jennifer Rubin and Shabbat, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
- California, There It Went, Commentary Magazine (October 2010)
- Zaitchik, Alexander. "The Wash. Post's Jennifer Rubin Divide And The Iraq War". Media Matters. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- Jaffe, Harry. Jennifer Rubin Is Whacking the Lefties, Washingtonian (April 2011)
- WaPo Tilts Right, Hires Conservative Blogger, November 24, 2010.
- Conservative Pundit Jennifer Rubin Joins the Mainstream Media, Columbia Journalism Review, December 7, 2010.
- "Forward's 50 Most Influential American Jews". Jewish Virtual Library. November 11, 2011. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- David Weigel, Punditin’ Ain’t Easy, Washington Independent, January 13, 2009.
- John Podhoretz, To Jennifer Rubin, The Fondest of Farewells, Commentary Magazine, November 23, 2010.
- Politico: Ex-Washington Post ombudsman: 'Fire Jennifer Rubin'. August 15, 2013.
- Pexton, Patrick. "Ombo Sauce: Advice for Jeff Bezos From the Post’s Former In-House Critic." The Washington City Paper. Accessed at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2013/08/14/ombo-sauce-advice-for-jeff-bezos-from-the-posts-former-in-house-critic/ on August 15, 2013.
- Washington Post hires conservative blogger, Salon Magazine, November 23, 2010.
- Rubin to WaPo, by David Weigel at the Slate Magazine.
- Jennifer Rubin, Red Lines for Obama?, July 29, 2009.
- Obama absent, Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, July 10, 2014
- Rubin, Jennifer (March 14, 2011). "Right Turn: Palestinians celebrate and then reluctantly denounce Itamar murders". Post Opinions. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- Rubin, Jennifer (April 26, 2011). "Right Turn: Palestinian police murder Jew who ‘sneaks in’ to worship". Post Opinions. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- Rubin, Jennifer (January 11, 2011). "Right Turn: TIME magazine savages Israel -- again". Post Opinions. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- Washington Post: Right turn: Evil in Norway. July 23, 2011.
- Politico: Erickson: Post blogger is 'Likud', not GOP. October 26, 2011.
- Jennifer Rubin (2013-11-21). "The Marriage Mission". Right Turn, The Washington Post.
- The Washington Post Owes the World an Apology for this Item, "The Atlantic", July 23, 2011.
- Jeffrey Goldberg, On Suspecting al Qaeda in the Norway Attacks, "The Atlantic", July 23, 2011.
- Rubin, Jennifer (July 23, 2011). "Right Turn: Evil in Norway.". Post Opinions. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- Post Roast: Jennifer Rubin’s retweet, Patrick Pexton, November 7, 2011
- The WaPo’s Israel Problem, Andrew Sullivan, November 14, 2011
- Hiatt defends Rubin after ombud blast, Dylan Byers, Politico, November 8, 2011
- Friedersdorf, Conor. "The Right's Jennifer Rubin Problem: An Information Disadvantage Case Study". The Atlantic. Retrieved 8 November 2012. "[F]or all the months she was acting as America's most reliable Romney sycophant, she actually thought his campaign was bumbling ... she deliberately misled her readers ... [and] is [now] widely perceived as a disingenuous mouthpiece for her favored candidate."