Cokie Roberts

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Cokie Roberts
Cokie Roberts.jpg
Roberts at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2017
Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs

(1943-12-27) December 27, 1943 (age 75)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
ResidenceBethesda, Maryland, U.S.
NationalityUnited States
Alma materWellesley College
OccupationJournalist, author
EmployerNPR, ABC, PBS
Known forJournalist, author, pundit, television
TitleContributing Senior News Analyst
ChildrenRebecca Roberts
Lee Roberts
Parent(s)Hale Boggs
Lindy Boggs
RelativesBarbara Boggs Sigmund (Sister, deceased)
Tommy Boggs (Brother, deceased)
William C. C. Claiborne (ancestor)
DeLesseps Story Morrison (second cousin, once removed)

Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Roberts (née Boggs;[1] born December 27, 1943), best known as Cokie Roberts, is an American journalist and author. She is a reporter on contract to National Public Radio as well as a regular roundtable analyst for the current This Week With George Stephanopoulos. Roberts also works as a commentator for ABC News, serving as an on-air analyst for the network.

Roberts, along with her husband, Steven V. Roberts, writes a weekly column syndicated by United Media in newspapers around the United States. She serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations such as the Kaiser Family Foundation[2] and was appointed by President George W. Bush to his Council on Service and Civic Participation.[3]


Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs was born on December 27, 1943 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She received the sobriquet "Cokie" from her brother Tommy who, as a child, could not pronounce her given name, Corinne.[4]

Cokie Roberts is the third child and youngest daughter of ambassador and long-time Democratic Congresswoman from Louisiana Lindy Boggs and of Hale Boggs, also a Democratic Congressman from Louisiana. He was Majority Leader of the House of Representatives and a member of the Warren Commission. He was lost on a plane which disappeared over Alaska on October 16, 1972.[5] Her late sister, Barbara Boggs Sigmund, was mayor of Princeton, New Jersey and a candidate for U.S. Senate from New Jersey. Her late brother Tommy Boggs was a prominent Washington, D.C. attorney and lobbyist.[6]

Roberts attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart, an all-girls school in New Orleans, before graduating from the Stone Ridge School, an all-girls school outside Washington, D.C. in 1960.[7] She graduated from Wellesley College in 1964, where she received a BA in Political Science.[8]

She has been married to Steven V. Roberts, a professor and fellow journalist, since 1966. They met in the summer of 1962, when she was 18 and he was 19.[9] They currently reside in Bethesda, Maryland. She and her husband have two children and six grandchildren. Their daughter Rebecca Roberts is also a journalist and was one of the hosts of POTUS '08 on XM Radio.


Roberts serves as a senior news analyst and commentator (since 1992) for NPR, where she was the congressional correspondent for more than ten years. She is usually heard on Morning Edition, appearing on Mondays to discuss the week in politics. In addition to her work for NPR, Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News, serving as an on-air analyst for the network. Roberts was the co-anchor of the ABC News' Sunday morning broadcast, This Week with Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts from 1996 to 2002, while serving as the chief congressional analyst for ABC News. She covered politics, Congress and public policy, reporting for World News Tonight and other ABC News broadcasts.

Before joining ABC News in 1988, Roberts was a contributor to PBS in the evening television news program The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Her coverage of the Iran-Contra Affair for that program won her the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting in 1988.[10] From 1981 to 1984, in addition to her work at NPR, she also co-hosted The Lawmakers, a weekly public television program on Congress.

Prior to joining NPR, Roberts was a reporter for CBS News in Athens, Greece.[11] She also produced and hosted a public affairs program on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. Roberts is also a former president of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association.[citation needed]

Awards and honors[edit]

Roberts has won numerous awards, such as the Edward R. Murrow Award,[12] the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for coverage of Congress[13] and a 1991 Emmy Award for her contribution to "Who is Ross Perot?"[14]

In 2000, Roberts won the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.[15]

She and her mother, Lindy Boggs, won the Foremother Award from the National Center for Health Research in 2013. [16]

Personal life[edit]

In 2002, Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was successfully treated.[17]

Criticism of conflicts of interests as journalist[edit]

Some have questioned Roberts' objectivity as a journalist. While working in Guatemala in 1989 helping poor indigenous Guatemalans learn how to read, Sister Dianna Ortiz, a Catholic nun from New Mexico, was abducted, raped and tortured by members of a government-backed death squad, who believed she was a subversive.[18] During a subsequent interview, Roberts contested Ortiz's claim that an American was among her captors. (The United States provided significant military aid to Guatemala at the time.) Roberts implied that Ortiz was lying about the entire episode, despite the fact that Ortiz later won a lawsuit against a Guatemalan general she accused in the case.[19] It was later revealed that Roberts' brother Tom Boggs' law firm Patton Boggs, was paid by the Guatemalan government to promote a more positive image of the regime, which was widely criticized internationally for human rights abuses.[20][21][22] Coupled with her treatment of Ortiz, Roberts's personal connection to a paid lobbyist for the Guatemalan government raised questions about her ability to report on the matter accurately.

The media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting has criticized Roberts for what they describe as favoring corporate interests over those of working people. As an example, FAIR notes that during a 1992 interview with Al Gore, Roberts called for cuts in Medicare and Social Security, but suggested no cuts to the military budget.[23] Similarly, representative Alan Grayson has criticized Roberts' support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which Grayson argues would cost the United States manufacturing jobs and worsen the United States' already large trade deficit, which has grown steadily since the passage of similar trade deals like NAFTA in 1994.[24] Grayson also noted that one of the chief lobbying groups pushing for TPP was Roberts' brother's lobbying firm, Patton Boggs.

Writing in, the media commentator Jack Shafer characterized Roberts' weekly segments for NPR's Morning Edition as "vacuous" and "four minutes of on-air blather" that relied heavily on her use of the word "interesting". Shafer also wrote, "Her segments, though billed as 'analysis' by NPR, do little but speed-graze the headlines and add a few grace notes. If you're vaguely conversant with current events, you're already cruising at Roberts' velocity. Roberts doesn't just voice the conventional wisdom; she is the conventional wisdom."[25]



  1. ^ Roberts, Cokie (1993-03-08). "Private Video". Charlie Rose (video interview). Interviewed by Charlie Rose. PBS. Archived from the original on 2014-07-20. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  2. ^ "Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation – Board of Trustees". Archived from the original on 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
  3. ^ President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. "Meet the Council Members". USA Freedom Corps. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  4. ^ "Cokie Roberts". History, Art & Archives. U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  5. ^ Horowitz, Jason (August 15, 2010). "Alaska plane crash a painful reminder for families of Boggs and Begich". Washington Post.
  6. ^ "Tommy Boggs, influential lobbyist dies; son of Congresswoman Boggs". The New Orleans Advocate. September 15, 2014.
  7. ^ Stone Ridge School. "Alumnae Exellence". Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-04-11. Cokie Boggs Roberts '60
  8. ^ Wellesley College. "Notable Wellesley College Alumnae". Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  9. ^ Roberts, Cokie; Roberts, Steven (2000-02-28). "A conversation with Cokie & Steve Roberts". Charlie Rose (Interview). Interviewed by Charlie Rose. PBS. Archived from the original on 2008-09-07. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  10. ^ Krogh, Peter F. (1995-04-25). "ISD Report" (PDF). Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Georgetown University. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2008-04-11.
  11. ^ Political Commentators in the United States in the 20th Century. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0313295859.
  12. ^ "Recipients of the Edward R. Murrow Award". Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Archived from the original on 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2008-04-11.
  13. ^ "Everett McKinley Dirksen Awards for Distinguished Reporting of Congress". National Press Foundation. Archived from the original on 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2008-04-11.
  14. ^ NPR. "Cokie Roberts, NPR Biography". Retrieved 2008-04-11.
  15. ^ Arizona State University. "Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Larry King Live (May 22, 2004). "Interviews With Cokie Roberts et al" (transcript). Retrieved on March 27, 2009. "No, no. My breast cancer is gone."
  18. ^ Weinraub, Judith. "BACK FROM THE DEAD; Dianna Ortiz was One of the Missing in Guatemala. She has Only Now found Her Voice." The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext): 0. Jul 18 1995. ProQuest. Web. 9 June 2014 .
  19. ^ "U.S. Judge Orders Guatemalan to Pay for Atrocities." Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext): 16. Apr 13 1995. ProQuest. Web. 9 June 2014.
  20. ^ Julie Gozon. "The Torturers' Lobby." Multinational Monitor. April 5, 1993. Accessed June 9, 2014.
  21. ^ Stein, Jeff (22 May 1996). "The Self-Inflicted Wounds Of Colby's CIA". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  22. ^ Sherman, John (2000). Latin America in Crisis. Oxford: Westview Press. p. 111. ISBN 0-8133-3540X.
  23. ^ Martin Lee and Jeff Cohen. "NPR and Cokie Roberts." April 1, 1993. Accessed June 9, 2014.
  24. ^ Alan Grayson."Cokie Roberts Attacks Us: This is How DC Works." Alan Grayson's E-mails. March 29th, 2014. Accessed June 9, 2014.
  25. ^

External sources[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
David Brinkley
This Week co-anchor with Sam Donaldson
December 15, 1996 – September 8, 2002
Succeeded by
George Stephanopoulos