Richard Cohen (columnist)
February 6, 1941 |
New York City, New York
|Alma mater||New York University (A.B. 1967) Columbia University (Master of Arts 1968)|
Richard Cohen is an American syndicated columnist for the Washington Post.
Cohen is a graduate of Far Rockaway High School and attended Hunter College, New York University, and Columbia University. Early in his career, he worked for United Press International in New York. He is a four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist in the "Commentary" category.
In a 2003 Washington Post column, Cohen wrote, "The evidence Colin Powell presented to the United Nations — some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail — had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool — or possibly a Frenchman — could conclude otherwise." Cohen also wrote that he believed "the prudent use of violence could be therapeutic" after the events of 9/11. Cohen has since expounded upon his former views of support for the Iraq War, and his later stance against it.
In his July 18, 2006 column he stated: "The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now." For this statement Cohen was criticized in an essay released by the American Jewish Committee entitled 'Progressive' Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism. He clarified his statements in the next week's column, saying, "Readers of my recent column on the Middle East can accuse me of many things, but not a lack of realism. I know Israel's imperfections, but I also exalt and admire its achievements. Lacking religious conviction, I fear for its future and note the ominous spread of European-style anti-Semitism throughout the Muslim world—and its boomerang return to Europe as a mindless form of anti-Zionism. Israel is, as I have often said, unfortunately located, gentrifying a pretty bad neighborhood. But the world is full of dislocated peoples, and we ourselves live in a country where the Indians were pushed out of the way so that—oh, what irony! -- the owners of slaves could spread liberty and democracy from sea to shining sea. As for Europe, who today cries for the Greeks of Anatolia or the Germans of Bohemia?" In the same column, he defended Israel's military campaign in its 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In 2007 he criticized the prosecution of Scooter Libby (in the Plame affair criminal investigation) as politically motivated, saying "This is not an entirely trivial matter since government officials should not lie to grand juries, but neither should they be called to account for practicing the dark art of politics. As with sex or real estate, it is often best to keep the lights off."  Cohen was in turn criticized by Media Matters for America for factual errors in his presentation, including his contentions that Plame had not been a covert agent, and that "outing" Plame "turns out not to be a crime."
Accusations of inappropriate behavior
In 1998, Cohen was involved in a dispute with editorial aide Devon Spurgeon that was ultimately mediated by Washington Post management. Cohen reportedly asked Spurgeon questions about "casual sex", told her to "stand up and turn around", and gave her the "silent treatment" for three weeks. Cohen contended that "it was a personality dispute at an office, but it had nothing to do with sexual harassment as the term applies today." Post management concluded that Spurgeon had been subjected to a "hostile working environment" but not to "sexual harassment" and that Cohen was guilty of "inappropriate behavior."
- A Heartbeat Away: The Investigation and Resignation of Vice President Spiro (1974) ISBN 0-670-36473-8
- Cohen, Richard. "Goodbye, Bernie", The Washington Post, July 1, 2009. Accessed October 8, 2009. "I was in the Class of 1958, two years behind Bernie, but in the same class as his wife, Ruth."
- Cohen, Richard With Eisenhower, art does not imitate his life The Washington Post April 10, 2012. Accessed April 10, 2012.
- Cohen, Richard (February 8, 2006). "Conjecture Embraced As Fact". The Washington Post.
- "washingtonpost.com: A Winning Hand for Powell". The Washington Post.
- "Bush takes heat for WMD jokes". CNN. May 6, 2004.
- I was miserably wrong in my judgment and somewhat emotional. - By Richard Cohen - Slate Magazine
- Cohen, Richard (July 18, 2006). "Hunker Down With History". The Washington Post (Comment).
- Cohen, Richard (July 25, 2006). ". . . No, It's Survival". The Washington Post.
- Cohen, Richard (June 19, 2007). "The Runaway Train That Hit Scooter Libby". The Washington Post.
- "Exonerating Libby of underlying crime, Post's Cohen confused about elements". Media Matters for America. June 21, 2007. Retrieved June 22, 2007.
- New York Observer, Washington Post Scolds Richard Cohen for Crude Talk With Female Aide, May 11, 1998. Retrieved December 13, 2012.