Allison Kilkenny

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Allison Kilkenny
Born United States
Occupation Journalist, columnist
Spouse(s) Jamie Kilstein (divorced)

Allison Kilkenny is an American journalist and co-host of the political podcast Citizen Radio. Kilkenny is a social critic and blogger for The Nation. Kilkenny covers "budget wars, activism, uprising, dissent and general rabble-rousing".[1] Kilkenny is best known for her contributions to political and humor websites like the Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, 23/6, the Beast,, the Nation, and[2] Her work has been also featured on W. Kamau Bell's blog.[3] Since 2018, Kilkenny hosts the podcast Light Treason News [4]


Kilkenny grew up in Naperville, Illinois. She attended Illinois State University, graduating in 2005 with a major in English.[5] Kilkenny moved to New York City, where she met her husband Jamie Kilstein at a chain bookstore where the two were employed.[5] She currently resides in Brooklyn.[6] Kilkenny is an outspoken atheist and activist.[7] She is also vegan.[8]

Kilkenny said her political awakening was sparked by reading works by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. "I wanted to run up to total strangers, screaming, 'HOLY SHIT! EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU BELIEVE IS A LIE!'" she said.[9] She also credits Democracy Now's Amy Goodman as an inspiration to more political thought.[9]

Works and career[edit]

Kilkenny has been described as a "fast-rising radio and print reporter-columnist."[10] Her journalist career has come about entirely on the Internet.[8] The Daily Kos called her "among the handful of youngish political journalists to have gained a solid readership by the direct and unorthodox means of the blogosphere."[11] When asked to describe herself by Feministing in a 2008 interview, Kilkenny deemed herself a "political humorist" or, in other words, "a fancy way of saying writer, who makes shitty world news funny.”[12]

Kilkenny has appeared as a guest and as an expert on television shows including Countdown with Keith Olbermann,[13] Melissa Harris-Perry,[14] The Majority Report,[15] WMNF 88.5 FM,[16] Democracy Now,[17][18] Abby Martin [19][20] and other shows to discuss labor issues, LGBT issues, Occupy Wall Street and activism.

An outspoken critic of establishment media, Kilkenny has been quoted as having a pessimistic view of her own chosen profession. "The news exists to turn a profit," she told Barrett Brown for the Daily Kos in 2008.[8]

Kilkenny began her career writing political rants for blogs, but did not start getting paid until her work took more of an investigative turn.[12]

Citizen Radio[edit]

Kilkenny started Citizen Radio in 2008. The podcast grew from a once-weekly program to popular show now released every weekday in 2008.[8] Before that, Kilkenny co-hosted a podcast Drunken Politics, which was associated with Breakthru Radio.[8] Kilkenny says the show's format, which mixes equal parts news stories and dark humor, is partially a coping mechanism. "People cope with difficult news in their own ways, and our way is through humor, namely so our audience doesn’t start offing themselves, one-by-one," she said in an interview with In These Times.[9]

Occupy Wall Street[edit]

Kilkenny was one of a small group of journalists that started reporting on Occupy Wall Street during its first days, filing a report from Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011.[21] In May 2011, months before the Occupy movement began, Kilkenny expressed her admiration for the union protesters who occupied the Wisconsin State Capitol building.[9] "That’s the only type of protest that matters anymore: occupy and refuse to leave. It scares the hell out of the politicians and the media loves the drama, so they’re more likely to cover it," she said.[9] Though her initial coverage described a scene with lukewarm reception, Kilkenny continued to report on the occupation of Zuccotti Park, while chiding larger organizations like The New York Times for "abysmal coverage."[22] In her response, Kilkenny points out glaring omissions from the NYT's first coverage of Occupy, which failed to mention NYPD's documented macing of protestors.[22] "For every batshit-crazy quote Bellafante presents, I can match it with a calm, articulate response from another attendee. I guarantee that," Kilkenny wrote.

Kilkenny estimates she spent "more than a hundred hours wandering through the encampment and interviewing dozens of protesters at great length."[5]

Throughout the fall and winter of 2011, Kilkenny continued to cover developments in the Occupy movement, including actions in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Los Angeles, Boston, and New York City.[23][24][25]

Kilkenny was one of two journalists featured on a panel about the "state of Occupy" in February 2012.[26]

Kilkenny received positive feedback both from mainstream news sources, and from hordes of Twitter followers during the "occupation" for up-to-the-minute news from the park. According to some sources, Kilkenny received hundreds of followers a week throughout the physical occupation of Zuccotti Park.[5] One of her articles from her time covering the movement, "Youth Surviving Subprime" was featured in The Nation's book Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover.[5]


G. Gordon Liddy replied to a tweet by Kilkenny, telling Kilkenny that her writing made him want to vomit.[27] Kilkenny said the tweet was unprovoked and came from out of the blue.[9]

Matthew Vadum, author of Subversion Inc, said Kilkenny and her husband Kilstein misrepresented an opinion piece Vadum wrote for American Thinker, accusing her of a "knee-jerk" reaction.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Kilkenny married comedian and radio host Jamie Kilstein (now divorced) on June 7, 2010. The couple each tattooed a symbol on their left ring fingers. Kilkenny's finger features a monkey, while Kilstein's finger has a penguin.[29] The actual tattooing process was considered the couple's wedding ceremony.[29]

Kilkenny has often said she admires the work of fellow liberal writers Glenn Greenwald, Digby, Matt Taibbi, John Cole, and Atrios.[9]


  1. ^ "Allison Kilkenny". The Nation. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  2. ^ "Allison Kilkenny". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  3. ^ Bell, W. Kamau. "New Citizen Radio: Alan Grayson, Marcy Wheeler, & W. Kamau Bell". Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  4. ^ "Light Treason News". Light Treason News. Retrieved 2018-06-05. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Nugent, Tom. "Underground radio star broadcasts Occupy movement". Stories. Illinois State University. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  6. ^ "Allison Kilkenny". Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  7. ^ "Allison Kilkenny". Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Brown, Barrett. "Investigative journalism declares its independence". Daily Kos. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Macare, Joe. "In Person With...Citizen Radio". Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  10. ^ Tom Nugent (May 1, 2012). "Underground radio star broadcasts Occupy movement". Illinois State University. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  11. ^ "Ten Questions We Ask Everyone: Jamie Kilstein". Ent24. Archived from the original on 2012-12-08. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  12. ^ a b Celina. "Allison Kilkenny: Political Blogger". Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  13. ^ "Allison Kilkenny on the solution to the U.S. Postal Service's financial woes". September 9, 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  14. ^ "Melissa Harris-Perry". Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  15. ^ "4/18 Allison Kilkenny, May 1 Occupy Prepares & Ed Wytkind, Transportation Bill". Majority Report. April 18, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  16. ^ Mary Glenney (November 15, 2012). "Allison Kilkenny talks about "the people's bailout"". Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  17. ^ "Occupy Wall Street Protesters Swarm NYC Financial District to Mark 1st Anniversary of 99% Struggle". September 17, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  18. ^ ""This is Economic Treason": 500,000 March in London Protesting Public Spending Cuts and Corporate Tax Dodgers". March 28, 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Kilkenny, Allison. "#OccupyWallStreet: Searching for Hope in America". The Nation. The Nation. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  22. ^ a b Kilkenny, Allison. "Correcting the Abysmal 'New York Times' Coverage of Occupy Wall Street". The Nation. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  23. ^ Kilkenny, Allison. "Meet Your Police State: Chapel Hill Edition". The Nation. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  24. ^ Kilkenny, Allison. "Occupy Los Angeles Eviction Delayed". The Nation. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  25. ^ Kilkenny, Allison. "Occupy Highlights Authoritarian Behavior by Police". The Nation. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  26. ^ Lehrer, Brian. "The Brian Lehrer Show The State of the Occupation". WNYC. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  27. ^ "Right Network: 'Pro-America, Pro-Business, Pro-Military sensibilities'". True/Slant. April 18, 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  28. ^ Vadum, Matthew. "Matthew Vadum". Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  29. ^ a b "The Monkey & Penguin Wedding Tattoos". Tattoo Snob. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 

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